Wrestling with Rosacea

It’s not easy to maintain a rosy outlook when you’re coping with rosacea. Some excess redness may not seem like a big deal, but - as anyone with this chronic skin disease knows, and that’s many people - there’s a big difference between a healthy flush and a flare-up.

Rosacea is characterized by stubborn red rashes across the forehead, cheeks, nose and chin, sometimes accompanied by a burning sensation and acne. The outbreaks - especially when extreme - can mar one’s appearance and make confronting the world with confidence seem like an intimidating proposition. That’s a feeling to which many of us can relate.

Of course, sufferers are anxious for solutions. Triggers for outbreaks differ case-by-case, but can range from extreme hot or cold temperatures to stress or sleep deprivation. Whatever incites the rashes, people tend to find their own Band-Aid solutions and muddle through as best as they can. Still - for everyone who struggles with this problem - one truth remains constant: Certain topical creams and light therapies can help temporarily, but symptoms persist unless the underlying issue is addressed.

So, what causes rosacea?

For starters, doctors believe there is an inexorable link in the body between inflammation and pH balance. Far from being just a deodorant commercial catchphrase, the term refers to an essential acid/base (or alkaline) ratio. This is important because when the pH is out of whack -meaning, generally, it is too acidic - basic mechanisms like detoxification, elimination and repair don’t function as they should. This creates blockages and inflammation.

The ideal pH for one’s interior and exterior are not the same: The skin should rest between 4 and 5.5, while the body operates best between 7.35 and 7.45. But the inner and outer elements are deeply connected. Multiple studies have shown that the functions of the gut, in particular, can have an enormous impact on the skin’s look and feel. A flare-up on the face can be a reflection of internal inflammation and poor digestion, for example.

With that in mind, one effective antidote for rosacea is a vegetarian alkaline diet - which has been shown to reduce symptoms in only two months - consisting of fruits and vegetables above all else (especially leafy greens like spinach and kale, and low-sugar fruits like apples and bananas). Copious water and essential nutrients are also elements.

The basic notion is that the ideal diet should be 80% alkaline and 20% acidic. That means mostly sticking to vitamin- and mineral-rich produce, sprouts, nuts, grains like quinoa and amaranth and seeds from chia to flax - foods heavy in vitamins A, C and E, omega-3 fatty acids and zinc. On the flip-side are ingredients and even entire dietary categories like dairy, meat, alcohol, caffeine, sugar, vinegar, pasta, eggs, even tofu (!) and processed foods that should be kept to a minimum.

But there are even more ways to attack rosacea. Another helpful tool, for instance, can be the right probiotic. Recently, dermatologists have found that “good bacteria” can help fight or deter outbreaks. According to Whitney P. Bowe, MD, FAAD of the American Academy of Dermatology, topical probiotics can trigger an immune response in the skin that battles inflammation. And, oral probiotics - containing Lactobacilli or Bifidobacterium - can positively impact the skin by lining and sealing the stomach, battling against a domino effect from leaky gut.

Lastly, people who struggle with rosacea must be vigilant about choosing the right topical products, so as not to exacerbate the problem. A study in the Journal of Clinical and Aesthetic Dermatology and on the National Institute of Health (NIH) website found that mild over-the-counter cleansers and moisturizers can be beneficial for rosacea patients, if they include acidic-neutral pH.

Of course, Phace Bioactive is all about pH balance, so we offer rosacea-friendly products like the Soothing Day Cream + Primer SPF 46, which has 5% micronized Niacinamide and 2% n-Acetyl Glucosamine to calm redness, even skin tone and enhance brightness. Also, a cleanser without harsh ingredients like sulfates or soap is essential for maintaining the acid mantle, so our Detoxifying Gel Cleanser is a perfect, safe bet.

Ultimately, treating the root of the problem offers hope for controlling it. Now, maybe rosacea sufferers can stop seeing red and start feeling better.


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