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Andrea H.

The Bad Kind of Red – Rosacea and How to Prevent An Outbreak

By Guest Writer: Andrea H.

Rosacea (roh-ZAY-sha) is a common yet poorly understood dermatological disorder of the face, neck, chest and back which causes unflattering and unwelcome redness of the skin, visible blood vessels, and in extreme cases, pimple-like bumps, and redness of the eye’s sclera.

It is a condition that most commonly affects redheads; this is because of the fair and sensitive nature of our skin which leaves us prone to inflammation and unwelcome reactions brought on by “triggers”. Although the true cause of rosacea is yet to be discovered, numerous scientific papers have been published and a way to prevent it, taken from a holistic approach, has been uncovered and proven to work.

Step one: Avoid Triggers

What’s a trigger? A trigger is anything that causes you to blush, remain blushed for an extended period of time, leaves you sensitive to blushing, or assists in maintaining visible redness. composed a list of popular triggers, and to no surprise, sun exposure and hot weather are at the top. Following close behind; hot baths and beverages, spices and spicy foods. This is an easy fix; Reduce your bath water or shower water temperature; Ask for your lattes “child’s temp” or over ice; Cook with less spicy flavors or order the not-so-spicy option.

What’s genuinely surprising is that the consumption of dairy is on that list and is linked to encouraging the visible presence of rosacea. This is because of an inflammatory enzyme that occurs naturally in all dairy products (especially the higher fat content ones) which is absorbed in your intestines and carries through your bloodstream, affecting all of your capillaries and blood vessels causing them to become and remain dilated (enter rosacea). This leaves you extra sensitive and more prone to blushing, and over time you will begin to remain blushed due to the increased sensitivity. While it does sound strange, there is actually a very close relationship between the health of your digestive tract and the health of your skin. Like most skin disorders, if left untreated, rosacea will only become worse.

“In surveys by the National Rosacea Society, more than 76 percent of rosacea patients said their condition had lowered their self-confidence and self-esteem, and 41 percent reported that it had caused them to avoid public contact or cancel social engagements. Among Rosacea patients with severe symptoms, 88 percent said the disorder had adversely affected their professional interactions, and 51 percent said they had even missed work because of their condition.” ( 

Step Two: Good Skin Care

Although it may be tempting to try radical treatments to obliterate the issue, the gentle products are the best products. Canadian brand B Kamins has a line for rosacea which is formulated to be extra soothing to reduce the proneness for blushing. I’ve used their Rosacea line and have fallen in love. Clinique also has an anti-redness line, and although I cannot contribute a personal testament, I always hear people raving about how it works wonders. Murad also has a Redness Solutions line which has received mixed reviews based on its smell and seems to be a “love it or hate it” kind of thing.

In addition to using the right daily routine, it’s also extremely important to find a good sunscreen with a minimum SPF of 45 and to wear your sunscreen whenever the sun is out or the UV index is high. At the top of my list of fantastic sunscreens would have to be Neutrogena Sheer Touch, SPF 60. I like it because it works well under my makeup and leaves me feeling moisturized, but not greasy. Next, and close second to Neutrogena, is L’Oreal Paris Ombrelle Face Sunscreen, SPF 60Both of these sunscreens can be found in virtually any drugstore.

Also, it’s best that you not visit tanning beds or try to achieve a tan outside. Most redheads can’t tan anyways so, either take pride in being a porcelain doll or switch to a self-tanner like Clinique’s Self Sun Tinted Body Lotion.

Step Three: Eat Right

Your skin is the largest organ of your body, and just like you would take vitamins or change your diet for other organs in your body like your heart or liver, your skin needs this attention too. Firstly, buy a multi-vitamin. A good multi-vitamin acts like a safety net and should be thought of as such. The best multi-vitamin you’ll find is Nature’s Sunshine Super Vitamins and Minerals. It can be ordered online and found in some, but not all, health stores.

Secondly, adjust your diet. Depending on what your diet looks like now, this is an easy feat. Dr. Scott Olson who is a naturopathic doctor, well acquainted with Rosacea and the holistic approach to treatment, asserts that an alkaline diet is best for reducing the visible redness of Rosacea, reduces the chance and sensitivity to a “flare-up”, and could put it into a state of dormancy and remission.  Alkaline foods assist with the cleansing and regeneration process of the body and are essential for maintaining healthy functioning. An alkaline diet is a different way of looking at food and has its own style for preparing and cooking meals. The easiest way to learn is to pick up a good cookbook like Sally Erie’s Staying Alive, which not only teaches you recipes but how to create your own recipes. The Acid Alkaline Balance Diet by Felicia Kliment and The Ph Miracle by Robert O. Young and Shelley Redford Young are two other sought after cookbooks for an alkaline diet.

An alkaline diet doesn’t just assist with treating and preventing Rosacea, it also means that you will have more energy to tackle daily stress and be less prone to other illnesses. On an alkaline diet, you will find that some of the afflictions you have, minor or major, disappear or reduce drastically in a week’s time. Symptoms like acid reflux, indigestion, IBS, allergies, hay fever, gout, arthritis, athlete’s foot and constipation can disappear literally overnight. In addition to this, you will most likely lose weight. This is because you are taking a holistic approach to treating an ailment, and, because everything is connected, it’s bound to have a domino effect for the rest of your body.

The 7 basic tips to follow an alkaline diet*:

1. Eat more fruits and vegetables. They should outnumber and outweigh all the other food groups that you eat. Fresh or frozen fruits and vegetables should make up at least 60% of what you buy at the grocery store.

2. Avoid Acid-forming foods like most grains, sugars(refined ones especially) and many meats. Of the three (grains, sugar and meat), meat is the most allowable because it can be easily balanced out by a large number of vegetables or fruit.

3. Drink plenty of water. This will help you flush out toxins in addition to keeping you properly hydrated.

4. Make sure you are getting enough of the essential nutrients your body needs. Supplements are great assists, and your body may need additional nutrients.

5. Avoid cooked fats, trans fats, and fried foods.

6. Avoid all dairy products except the occasional serving of yogurt to maintain healthy digestive bacteria.

7. Avoid acid-forming foods: alcohol, bread, cake, coffee, cereals, crackers, most grains, processed vinegar, eggs, hydrogenated oils, fried foods, meat, seafood and fish, some seeds, pasta, refined sugars.

8. Seek out alkaline-forming foods: fruits, berries, vegetables, salad greens, sprouts, raw cider vinegar, beans, coconut oil, potatoes, citrus fruits, millet, quinoa, buckwheat, fermented tofu and tempeh, stevia, almonds, brazil nuts, sea salt, mineral water.

With all of this being said, there are some ground rules you need to remember:

1. Don’t go overboard with your Alkaline diet. Why? The only good reason is that if you ever decided to say, have a big piece of birthday cake or a Big Mac with fries, your body would not be the least bit thankful and symptoms would include; nausea, drowsiness, stomach and intestinal cramps, gas, and difficulty getting “back on track”.

2. Don’t yo-yo diet. It’s hard on your body and as you read above, you’ll regret it.

3. Give yourself time to adjust and make your change into this diet gradual and steady.

Although it’s not necessary to change your diet to assist in preventing and treating your Rosacea, coming at an issue from every angle is the best way and perhaps the redhead way.

Strong-willed, are we not?

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*Consult your physician before beginning any diet, nutrition, or wellness plan.