Research why people develop acne rosacea. Which herbs can be used to help support this condition and why are they helpful?
What is Acne Rosacea?
Acne Rosacea is a skin condition affecting primarily the face, in the region of the nose, chin, cheeks and forehead. It starts off with redness, small thread veins and pustules develop with inflammation and dryness to the skin. The nose can become enlarged and the eyes can become involved.
Why do people develop acne rosacea?
Acne rosacea is most common in fair, middle-aged females and there is also a genetic base for occurrence in some individuals, but no real cause is known.
A high proportion of sufferers have been found to have inadequate production of gastric acid in the stomach or lowered levels of pancreatic lipase. This would lead to digestive problems, lower absorption of nutrients from food and a possible overgrowth of bacteria which would aggravate the skin. The skin is left to eliminate toxins that an impaired digestive system is not processing.
Food intolerance or food that makes one blush such as spicy food, hot drinks or alcohol can be responsible for flare-ups.
Over exposure to sunlight, mental and emotional stress, over exertion and excessive exercise, extremes in temperature and a skin mite, Demodex folliculorium, are also linked to exacerbation of symptoms.
Doctors can prescribe antibiotics, azelaic acid cream, vitamin A cream, hydrochloric acid supplements and pancreatic digestive enzyme supplements. Sometimes laser surgery is used for thread veins.
B vitamins may help, vitamin C strengthens membranes that line the blood vessels and the connective tissue between skin cells and zinc heals the top layer of the skin, the epidermis, and regulates blood levels of vitamin A.
Fatty acids in evening primrose and flaxseed oils reduce inflammation, control the cell’s use of nutrients and produce prostaglandins which stimulate contraction of blood vessels.
Cider vinegar is recommended by some as it stimulates the digestive system and helps normalise the bacterial balance in the intestines.
Herbs to support Acne Rosacea
Herbs probably will not show results as quickly as prescription medications but can be used to treat the person as a whole, in conjunction with lifestyle changes and continuing after visible symptoms have disappeared. The problem is obviously more than skin deep so herbal support needs to look at a variety of body systems.
· Digestive system
· Nervous system
· Easing symptoms of inflammation, heat and redness
· Support for blood capillaries
HORSE CHESTNUT salve made in one of my January blogs could possibly help with thread veins by toning capillary walls.
PLANTAIN in a poultice of crushed leaves is good for reducing heat and inflammation.
LIQUORICE powder with Aloe Vera gel makes a soothing mask to reduce redness, rinse off after 10 minutes.
OATMEAL used as a face wash relieves itchiness and enhances the skin’s barrier function by way of proteins and polysaccharides binding to the skin, creating a protective barrier. Blend oatmeal with water and gently spread on the skin, leave it to dry for 10-15 minutes and rinse off. Oat meal is anti-inflammatory and a cleanser; it contains saponins that absorb dirt, oil and sebaceous secretions.
ROMAN CHAMOMILE is anti-inflammatory and soothes itching. Steep a handful of flowers in 3 cups of boiling water for 10 minutes, strain and refrigerate. Once cool a cotton cloth can be dipped in and then applies to affected areas.
MILK THISTLE improves liver function and detoxification and promotes optimal skin health. It is a cooling bitter.
GREEN TEA has photo protective properties which may lessen reactivity to ultra-violet light. It reduces disruption of the skin barrier seen in patients with the disease. Green tea also has anti-oxidant properties to fight against free radicals.
OREGANO oil kills bacteria that causes acne and contributes to rosacea and kills skin mites associated with rosacea.
BURDOCK cleanses the blood; it is useful in chronic inflammatory conditions of the skin and can be taken as a tincture of root or seed, 10-20 drops 3 times a day. It will give slow but steady improvement and needs to be taken for several months after symptoms have gone.
GENTIAN root is a bitter which helps overall digestive function enabling nutrients to be absorbed more readily.
NETTLE seed is an adaptogen, helps to cope with stresses and balance the body.
DANDELION root infusion can be taken 3 times a day as a bitter to help digestion and liver function.
YELLOW DOCK is used as a laxative in cases of poor digestion and low stomach acid and also promotes the flow of bile.
RED CLOVER is anti-inflammatory and improves circulation over time. It contains magnesium, niacin, calcium, phosphorus, thiamine, potassium and vitamin C.
ROSE HIPS are anti-inflammatory, stimulate the immune system, have high vitamin C content and help combat exhaustion, stress and nervousness. They act as a skin rehydrator, restore moisture balance, can strengthen broken or damaged capillaries and act like an astringent to help heal and reduce redness.
SKULLCAP relaxes and strengthens the nervous system so helping with psoriasis along with WILD OATS, PASSIONFLOWER, CHAMOMILE and HOPS.