The skin is often a good window into what is going on inside. As a Naturopathic Doctor I look at all the potential contributing factors to someone's health concerns; and skin is no different.
The first sign of the skin condition rosacea may be redness or flushing that comes and goes. Over time there is more consistent redness, bumps and pimples and more visible blood vessels.
Rosacea is most often seen in fair-skinned people between the ages of 30 and 50 and typically affects the cheeks, nose, forehead and chin. It is more common in women but more aggressive in men. The cause of rosacea is not yet certain; theories include small intestine bacterial overgrowth (SIBO), an immune reaction to a natural mite (demodex mite) that lives in our skin, unstable vessels, genetics and sun exposure. What we do know is that something irritates the skin, leading to chronic inflammation with intermittent flare-ups. Another theory is that it is an overactive immune response to gradual changes in the body’s vascular system.
If skin is sensitive or damaged, it will not cope with common daily aggressors. Sun, wind and pollution can cause a reaction within the skin. Since the skin is compromised and unable to properly protect itself from this reaction, the body sends blood to the areas as a defense mechanism. Blood brings oxygen by red blood cells and immunity with white blood cells to try and correct the effect of these aggressions. However, it also brings heat, redness and inflammation. If this flushing reaction occurs regularly over time, the blood vessels just under the skin will become dilated and the redness will be more prominent. As a result, the skin will become more vulnerable to daily aggressors and rosacea symptoms will get worse.
Over the years I have definitely seen certain foods/drinks that can aggravate rosacea: alcohol, caffeine, tomatoes, spicy foods. There are also some foods that are inflammatory specifically for an individual. Optimizing digestion, whether it is hydrochloric acid secretion or supporting the microbiome, is also a key in treatment success.
We can target rosacea topically in the following ways:
1. Reinforcing cell protection using a vitamin C serum.
2. Strengthening blood vessel walls.
3. Managing bacteria.
4. Rebuilding the skin barrier with the appropriate skin care products.