Rosacea is an inflammatory condition that causes the skin on the mouth, cheeks, nose, forehead, and chin to become red, flushed, and irritated. It is most commonly seen in those with fair skin, and can be accompanied by small white pimples, acne, or visible blood vessels. Though not dangerous, it is incredibly frustrating and uncomfortable. Worse, there is no known cure, and many chemical medications designed to manage rosacea can actually leave your skin feeling overly sensitive and irritated.
However, there is good news for those suffering from rosacea: your condition can be managed with a combination of natural treatments.
1. Apple cider vinegar
Though the exact cause of rosacea is still unknown, flare-ups are thought to be related to digestive health. Consequently, it’s smart to keep your gastrointestinal tract maximally healthy.
Apple cider vinegar encourages the presence of healthy bacteria in the gut and minimizes the growth of inflammatory yeast in the stomach and intestines. To use, take 2-3tsp of apple cider vinegar daily, either directly or mixed with water. Be sure to use organic apple cider vinegar to get the best health benefits.
Apple cider vinegar can also be used topically to heal the sensitivity and redness caused by rosacea, though it should always be diluted to keep from irritating the skin further. To use, mix 1-2tsp of apple cider vinegar with 1/4 cup filtered water. Apply this mixture to the skin with a cotton ball after cleansing as normal.
2. Olive leaf extract
Like other inflammatory conditions, rosacea is exacerbated by a weakened immune system. You can give your immune system a boost and minimize the redness and irritation in your skin by taking olive leaf extract.
Olive leaf extract helps to detox your body and strengthen your immune system, allowing it to fight inflammation. Olive leaf extract can be found in most health food stores—start with the lowest amount in order to avoid a detox reaction, and take the extract for no more than four weeks in a row. Because supplements can interact with other medications, be sure to consult your doctor before beginning to take olive leaf extract.
Like apple cider vinegar, probiotics promote digestive health and reduce inflammation in your body. Taking a daily probiotic will reduce both the severity and the frequency of your rosacea, also minimizing acne breakouts.
You can either take probiotic supplements or add fermented foods to your diet, such as yogurt, sauerkraut, and kefir. In order to get the full benefit of a probiotic, look for one that says “live active cultures” on the label and is made by a reputable brand. Be sure to follow the dosing instructions; when in doubt, start with a single probiotic dose every other day to avoid upsetting your digestive system.
4. Green tea
Green tea is naturally anti-inflammatory and incredibly soothing for the skin, helping to repair its protective barrier and prevent environmental damage that can cause or worsen rosacea. You can drink it or use it as a skin treatment.
To use green tea topically, brew a pot as you normally would, using fresh tea leaves rather than a bag. Steep the tea for several minutes to increase its potency, then let it cool to a lukewarm temperature. Strain the leaves out and place it in the refrigerator to cool. You can put the cold green tea into a spray bottle and use it to mist your face throughout the day, or create a cold compress by soaking a washcloth in the chilled tea. Place it directly on your face for 2-3 minutes, and allow the green tea to soak into your skin without wiping it off.
Certain types of food and drink can increase blood flow to your face, causing more redness and triggering rosacea flare-ups. You can reduce the severity of your rosacea by avoiding foods that cause this type of irritation. These include alcohol, spicy food, caffeinated beverages such as coffee or soda, unrefined sugar, and very hot food and drinks. If you have mild rosacea, you may be able to have these occasionally, but if your condition is severe it’s best to cut them out of your diet entirely.
6. Anti-inflammatory supplements
Certain supplements can reduce inflammation in both your digestive tract and your skin when taken regularly. These are an excellent choice for chronic rosacea.
Gamma linolenic acid is a natural compound that improves the health of the skin; it can be found in supplements like evening primrose oil or black currant oil. Herbal supplements such as ginger or turmeric also decrease inflammation throughout your body and improve your digestive health, which will in turn improve your rosacea.
When beginning a supplement regimen, start with the minimum dose recommended, and take it every other day. Be sure to consult your doctor before beginning any new treatments, as some supplements may interact with medications or have unexpected side effects.