Is it just a rash? Is it really acne at my age? No dear, that general "reddening" of your skin is something called Rosacea, and it unfortunately affects 1 out of every 20 Americans! The telltale symptoms of this inflammatory skin condition include:
-Blushing or flushing of the skin that occurs towards the center of the cheeks and nose.
- "Spider veins", which are broken blood vessels, become more visible. In some people, these blood vessels are very sensitive and and even the slightest factor can make them swell or dilate. As more blood flows through them more often, they become more visible, making them stretch out and become permanently enlarged.
-Very sensitive to things such as sun, skincare, or heat.
-Large pores with bumpy texture.
-If allowed to progress, the inflammation and irritation can trigger skin cells to grow out of control and the nose can actually become "bulbous" and deformed.
So, the frustrating part is, what causes it? It comes and goes and many people can't quite pinpoint the "trigger", as it can be different for everyone. A visit to the dermatologist will only leave you fists full of samples and creams to try to see if it can bring down the inflammation, and while this may work for a while, it will rear its flushed head again soon.
As a holistic nutritionist, when I speak to people on skin issues, I always first and foremost ask about their eating habits. Troublesome skin problems such as acne, psoriasis, eczema, and rosacea are always linked to something more going on internally. Food allergies are a big thing today because of our depleted systems and our food quality, and anytime you consume an allergen, inflammation occurs. So what are some of the biggest "triggers" for rosacea?
- Spicy Foods are by far the #1 food related trigger. Less common include black pepper and paprika.
- MSG, a food additive (also a neurotoxin), is put in food to give a deeper flavor and also gives food that "addictive" quality. (Can't have just one chip!) Watch out for this one, because even if the label says "no MSG added", it will be lumped into "natural flavorings" on the ingredient list.
- Sugar-loaded diet as this causes more inflammation.
-Histamine producing foods- Histamine is a substance your body produces to an allergen or irritation. Histamine causes swelling and increased blood flow so it can aggravate the inflammation associated with rosacea. Some foods that can trigger histamine reaction are some fermented foods, vinegar and soy sauce. Even think vinegar flavored potato chips!
-Alcohol, especially beer and red wine. If you choose wine, look for a sulfite-free variety.
Others things to watch out for:
- Increased Stress.
- Sun Exposure or heat (even hot steam in a shower). Even having a hot soup or coffee can aggravate it.
- Harsh skincare products. Some chemicals that can aggravate rosacea are "fragrance", "alcohol", "sufates", "salicylic acid", and even over exfoliation can increase redness. Also, be very cautious with cortisone creams which are sometimes recommended for the redness. They can actually make the condition worse. Continual long-term use can actually lead to cortisone "addiction" where the skin gets so used to using it that if you stop, the skin can rebound and get worse. It also breaks down collagen and elastic which can lead to thinning of the skin overtime. In extreme cases, it can cause stretch marks.
Some natural solutions to help eliminate and lessen the redness of rosacea are:
-Eating an anti-inflammatory diet which would include more salmon, nuts, dark leafy greens and foods high in antioxidants. For people with skin issues, I always recommend getting a food allergy test done. I have had clients do this test with great results and its very reasonably priced. https://allergytest.co/
-Choose pure skincare with no harsh detergents or chemicals. Switch to basic plant oils such as jojoba, rose, or argan to help cleanse and nourish your skin. Do a product detox!
-Protect your skin with a sunscreen daily.
-Avoid as much as you can the things listed above.
Remember, your skin reacts to what you eat and what you apply to it. Make sure you give it the BEST!