Natural Remedies for Rosacea

1. Try natural anti-inflammatories.Many plants can help tame rosacea flushing. “Several herbal ingredients found in a variety of beauty products can reduce inflammation and soothe the skin,” says Joel Schlessinger, M.D., a dermatologist in Omaha, Neb.

Here are six herbal plants that top dermatologists recommend: Lavender: This Mediterranean planthas been used for centuries to treat a host of skin maladies, including rashes, blemishes and rosacea. Applied topically, lavender eases inflammation and shrinks facial blood vessels.Oil extracted from lavender leaves is sold as a therapeutic-grade (purest and safest form) essential oil, which can be applied directly to skin. “If you only had one naturally soothing ingredient in your cleansing and beauty products, lavender is the best bet,” says Carl Thornfeldt, M.D., a board-certified clinical dermatologist in Fruitland, Idaho.Licorice: Licorice extract is a potent anti-inflammatory for skin cells, according to 2008 study at the University of Science and Technology in China. That’s because liquorice root (aka sweet root and glycyrrhiza glabra) has coumarins, flavonoids, plant sterols and glycyrrhizin, which all reduce rosacea’s redness.Licorice extract products helped improve results in patients already using prescription rosacea creams, according to a 2006 study presented to the American Academy of Dermatology.Feverfew: When applied topically, this plantprevents blood from pooling in facial capillaries, according to a 2010 University of Louisville study. That means fewer tiny red lines during a rosacea flare-up.Green tea: This tea is believed to fight cancer and heart disease. Now researchers are adding rosacea to its health benefits when used topically. It’s an anti-inflammatory and antioxidant, reducing the skin’s reaction to ultraviolet light, thus helping to tame sun-triggered flare-ups.

2. Read skin-care product labels carefully.There’s a big difference between what cosmetic manufacturers’ promise and what’s actually in the jar.“There are no [government] guidelines for how much of a natural remedy must be in a cleanser or cream,” Schlessinger says. A product's purity and "natural" ingredients may be questionable too. How do you know if you’re getting the most effective concentration?“Look for products made with organic versions of these ingredients to ensure you’re using the highest quality and reducing the chance that anything artificial might trigger a flare,” says Cecilia Wong, an esthetician and owner of Soie Aroma Spa in Manhattan.No matter which ingredients you choose, it takes up to three weeks for natural remedies to noticeably reduce redness and other symptoms, Thornfeldt says.3. Rule out food allergies.Your rich holiday diet of pies, deviled eggs and cakes could trigger a flare-up. During an allergic reaction to food, blood vessels dilate, or open widely, sending a tidal wave of blood flow to the skin, causing redness.“Corn, egg and wheat allergies are common in people with rosacea,” says Kimberly Wilson, N.M.D., naturopathic doctor and founder of the Innovations Wellness Center in Plano, Texas.“The easiest way to tell if the flushing symptoms might be caused by dietary allergies is to eliminate these foods for 2-3 weeks and then gradually add them back one at a time, to test for a possible reaction.”

4. Swap your pillowcase. Skin oils, along with dirt and dead skin cells, can accumulate on pillowcases and clog pores while you sleep. “That often results in the bumps and pimples of rosacea, similar to those seen in acne,” Wilson says.Changing your pillowcase every other day minimizes dirt and oil. When you slip on a clean case, sleep on side "A" the first night. When you wake up, flip the pillow over to side "B" so it’s ready for the next night. Wash pillowcases (and sheets) using hypoallergenic laundry soap with no added colors or fragrances. Also, trade synthetic pillowcases for white cotton ones. Synthetic fabrics and dyes can irritate and trigger inflammation. 5. De-stress.“Stress can exacerbate rosacea, so it’s important to learn to cope with stress constructively to minimize symptoms,” Thornfeldt says. “Often, the stress of feeling self-conscious about your rosacea symptoms will exacerbate them, causing a rosacea flare.”Meditation, yoga, or even a few deep breaths can alleviate this tension and help you cope.When you feel stressed, the National Rosacea Society suggests you take a deep breath to the count of 10, then breathe out slowly, also counting to 10. Repeat until you feel calmer.

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