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Rosacea—Overview



A Growing Problem?

Characterized by redness, inflammation and pimple-like bumps on the face, rosacea is frequently mistaken for adult acne. Due to the location and severity of rosacea, sufferers frequently experience intense emotional distress and embarrassment. A recent survey revealed that nearly 70% of those afflicted with rosacea experienced psychological difficulties ranging from decreased self-esteem and depression to social anxiety. If this sounds familiar, you may want to consider the natural and nutritional options available from DermaHarmony to help promote healthier, clearer skin from within.

Some rosacea patients become so embarrassed by their appearance that they miss work or avoid social situations. Symptoms of rosacea can include sunburn-like redness on the facial T-zone, visible blood vessels beneath the surface, raised pimple-like bumps, and dry or tight-feeling skin. Occasionally the eyes may become itchy, watery and red. Rosacea usually appears between the ages of 30 and 50, but can occur at any age. Over time rosacea can lead to visibly enlarged pores, and thickened or swollen skin, especially on and around the nose.

Women often try to hide rosacea with makeup, but unfortunately many products available can actually make the condition worse. Because of its similar appearance to acne, millions of Americans afflicted with rosacea often don't seek help from their physician until the condition becomes severe. For many, even those with health insurance, seeing a dermatologist for a "cosmetic" purpose can be an expensive visit. After repeated failure from over-the-counter treatment options, rosacea sufferers may experience frustration or even despair.

Possible Causes of Rosacea

Rosacea seems to be on the rise, possibly from better identification and diagnosis, and possibly from lifestyle factors such as stress and poor nutrition. The direct cause of rosacea remains a mystery, yet is more likely to strike fair-skinned people and those who blush easily. Often patients report flare-ups after eating certain foods, exposure to extremes in temperature or sunlight, or stressful situations, which may cause flushing of the skin. The National Rosacea Society recommends that people keep a diary in order to look for trends in rosacea outbreaks.

One theory regarding the origin of rosacea includes the notion that some individuals are unusually sensitive to naturally occurring microscopic skin mites. Some holistic practitioners believe rosacea is exacerbated by Candida or an intestinal imbalance which creates an increase in inflammation throughout the body. These practitioners theorize that healing the gut may result in the reduction of rosacea outbreaks.

Conventional Treatments for Extreme Rosacea Flare-Ups

• Prescription drugs for rosacea

Tetracyclines are a common and very effective oral treatment for those afflicted with the pimple-like appearance of rosacea. This prescription antibiotic drug often reduces the swelling and redness quickly. It may be used either intermittently or long-term. Tetracycline is a serious antibiotic—versions of it are used for many other infections, such as Chlamydia and pelvic inflammatory disease!

Use of oral tetracycline may have serious side effects, including liver damage and gastrointestinal health disruption, which can lead to digestive and bowel disorders. (After using tetracycline for more than 12 years, David Addison—the CEO of DermaHarmony—was diagnosed with liver problems. Today, Mr. Addison controls his rosacea with diet, exercise and regular detoxification regimens.) Tetracycline should not be taken by pregnant women due to a high risk of birth defects. People taking tetracycline may also be more susceptible to UV ray damage, sunburn, and perhaps even skin cancer. While taking tetracycline, people are asked to increase their sunblock protection.

Many holistic experts agree that systemic antibiotic treatment should be used only when all other methods fail. Those using tetracycline as a form of treatment should also seek probiotics to offset a possible intestinal flora imbalance caused by the use of antibiotics.

• Topical metronidazole or clindamyacin creams for rosacea

Some individuals find daily use of topical prescription creams such as metronidazole or clindamyacin helpful in relieving rosacea symptoms. Like tetracycline, they are antibiotics, and can be used intermittently or long-term to reduce redness and pimple-like flare-ups. Results may vary and will take time.

Clonidine is also frequently prescribed to some rosacea patients. It lowers blood pressure and can reduce the redness and flushing associated with the disease. Oftentimes, clonidine causes drowsiness, and clonidine is also used to assist insomnia patients. This drug can be habit-forming and needs to be used with caution.

• Laser therapy for rosacea

Intense pulsed light (IPL) and the more intense laser therapy are relatively new methods of treating rosacea. IPL is the milder of the two and is often offered by medical aestheticians or trained nurses. Usually, little to no recovery time is needed after the procedure. The laser, a more aggressive form of treatment, is frequently administered by a medical doctor or nurse practitioner and carries more risk of side effects. Laser treatment recipients also need more time to heal post treatment. The laser and IPL treatments are particularly good at targeting and treating the small red blood vessels visible through the skin of many rosacea patients. IPL and laser treatments are appealing to non-rosacea sufferers as well because they provide refreshed-looking skin with fewer visible wrinkles. It is important to see an experienced professional for this type of treatment, since occasionally light burns or scarring can occur. This treatment also requires UV protection before and after the procedure.

• Avoidance therapy for rosacea

One of the most effective and least risky treatments for rosacea is avoidance therapy. The patient is asked to keep track of flare-ups and to record what they believed triggered them. After a few weeks of keeping close tabs on what seems to affect the disease, they are then asked to simply avoid those situations as best they can. While some things like certain types of food are easy to avoid, others like exposure to sunlight or stress are more difficult. This type of therapy works well with mild cases of rosacea, and although it is not a cure may help reduce the number of incidents an individual experiences.

How can DermaHarmony Help Rosacea?

At DermaHarmony we offer a number of products that may prove useful for those afflicted with rosacea. Our DermaDetox™ package, pharmaceutical-grade Vitamin D-3, and DermaEssentials™ packages (vitamins, minerals, trace elements, omega-3s, probiotics and digestive enzymes) all may prove useful for this condition.

David Addison, the 40-year old CEO of DermaHarmony, has learned to control his rosacea with diet, supplementation and a healthy lifestyle. Giving up ten cups a day of coffee and managing stress were his greatest battles, but he will tell you that making the changes has been well worth it. David was able to get off the toxic tetracycline regimen he used for years after liver function tests started to look bad. You can do the same.

Poor dietary choices, including lack of fresh fruits and vegetables in conjunction with over-consumption of caffeine, alcohol, and highly processed foods, can put a lot of stress on the liver and may contribute to an intestinal condition known as "leaky gut." DermaHarmony offers DermaDetox™, which can help you rid your system of unwanted toxins and begin the internal healing process. Once your intestines begin healing, they are better able to absorb essential vitamins and minerals such as those included in our DermaEssentials™ package. As part of the DermaDetox™ package we include an easy-to-read and follow dietary guide written by Deirdre Earls, MBA, RD, LD, who helped heal her skin condition by changing her diet!

Most of us need extra support to help achieve optimum health. DermaEssentials™, a pharmaceutical-grade supplement package developed especially for those suffering from skin conditions, can help. These high-grade supplements include omega-3 oils, vitamins A and E, as well as many other essential vitamins and minerals. DermaEssentials™ does not contain preservatives, artificial colors or flavors, dairy, soy, wheat gluten, starch, sodium or corn.

Rosacea sufferers are particularly sensitive to sunlight, and often have very limited if any exposure, thereby leaving them prone to deficiency in vitamin D-3. Research indicates that vitamin D-3 may be useful in providing some relief for skin conditions such as psoriasis and possibly rosacea. Vitamin D-3 appears to have anti-inflammatory properties which we think benefit rosacea sufferers. Research also indicates that D-3 has a number of other healing properties, and may even reduce risk of diabetes, hypertension and cancer!

Please visit our library for more information on diet, liver and colon health—and much more! Read on for the answers you seek, then give us a call if you would like additional guidance.


How We Help

At DermaHarmony, our goals are to educate chronic skin care suffers about dermatology, share what contributes to health and wellness, and support our readers in any way we can. We manufacture and sell two soaps in our store that help with a variety of skin conditions. They're worth consideration if you have a condition that can be helped with pyrithione zinc, sulfur, or salicylic acid.


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bookRosacea—a growing problem?—Reference Documents and Further Reading



Principal Author: K. Kastelein, Editor-in-Chief
Date of Publication: 08/25/2006
Updated: 06/07/2011