Rosacea is a skin condition that affects the center of your face including your cheeks, nose, forehead, and chin. While rosacea is chronic, it tends to be associated with flares and remissions. Rosacea can affect people of all ages, but it tends to develop after about the age of 30.
The symptoms of rosacea generally present as mild flushing, which is limited to the middle of your face. Over time, the symptoms may become worse. The flushing becomes redder and more frequent, and small blood vessels may begin to appear. Without treatment, the inflammatory process may cause pimples, whiteheads, and thickening of the skin. In some patients, rosacea may affect the eyes, causing them to be red, bloodshot, watery, or swollen. In severe cases, rosacea can cause thickening, swelling, and a rough appearance to the skin of the nose, a condition called rhinophyma. While rosacea tends to affect more women than men, the symptoms, including rhinophyma, tend to be more severe for men.
While rosacea is a skin condition, its emotional impact is far-reaching. The National Rosacea Society reported that almost 90 percent of patients with the condition said it has negatively affected their self-confidence and self-esteem. The patients also said that their rosacea caused them to avoid going out in public, about half missed work because of their rosacea, and almost 90 percent of those with severe symptoms said it had negatively affected their professional interactions.
Like many other skin conditions, the cause of rosacea isn’t clear. Scientists have found that flushing and facial redness may be the beginning of an inflammatory process that involves an imbalance between your neurovascular systems (nerve and circulatory) and the immune system. Scientists have also discovered that a tiny mite that normally lives on the skin is found in significantly higher numbers in people with rosacea. Some research is also beginning to link genetic alterations with this condition. In addition, newer studies have uncovered a link between rosacea and a higher risk for other health conditions that suggest it may be linked to systemic inflammation.
Furthermore, while not necessarily the cause of rosacea, patients with this condition report a number of triggers that can cause flare-ups. Some of the most common triggers include exposure to the sun, hot weather, stress, strong wind, intense exercise, alcoholic drinks, highly spiced foods, hot baths, and drinking hot beverages.
Treatment Strategies for Rosacea
At BodaHealth, we offer treatment solutions for patients with rosacea that include acupuncture, traditional Chinese medicine, naturopathic medicine, and dietary therapy. Acupuncture can be an effective treatment for rosacea because it works to reduce inflammation, improve circulation, regulate your immune system, and decrease stress. Recent research suggests that acupuncture may work for rosacea by redistributing the flow of blood in the tiny vessels of the face.
In addition to acupuncture, at BodaHealth you may be prescribed a combination of herbs, called a formula, to treat the underlying cause of your rosacea. While scientists can’t pinpoint the exact cause of this condition, in Chinese medicine, rosacea is associated with heat, as indicated by the redness and inflammation. There is also an element of stagnation, which means that circulation in the area is hampered. Swelling, pimples, and broken blood vessels are indications of a stagnant condition. An herbal formula can be tailored for specific actions, such as clearing heat, reducing inflammation, and promoting better circulation. In addition, herbal medicine works hand-in-hand with acupuncture and helps to sustain the effects of those treatments.
Naturopathic medicine has a great deal to offer patients with rosacea. Our doctors of naturopathy can assess your diet, your digestion and gut health, immune system, and stress levels. They may look for the presence of dietary or environmental toxins, food allergies or intolerances, as well as for sources of inflammation. Naturopathic treatments may involve vitamin, herbal, or nutritional supplementation, as well as dietary guidance and lifestyle changes. Our naturopathic physicians are also able to offer our patients primary health care, which means they are able to order lab tests and prescribe medications when appropriate.
The role of diet is an important element in treating your rosacea. There are a number of categories of foods that can act as triggers, including foods that are spicy, foods that are a hot temperature, alcohol, and foods that contain cinnamon or cinnamon oil, such as baked goods and chewing gum. In addition, diet can be an important tool in managing inflammation. Both the naturopathy physicians and acupuncture practitioners at BodaHealth are trained in dietary therapy. Their goal is to develop a dietary plan based on your specific needs and symptoms. They can help determine not only foods to avoid but also foods to include to maximize your health and control your rosacea symptoms.
At BodaHealth, we understand that treating rosacea isn’t a one size fits all plan. Rosacea develops over time, may have a number of underlying causes, manifests differently for each patient, and tends to have several triggers. Our practitioners are well-trained, experienced, and dedicated to providing the best, personalized natural treatments for your rosacea. If you struggle with this skin condition, give us a call today to find out how to get started.