Natural Treatments & Supplements for Rosacea

Close-up of a person's cheek with rosacea.

What is Rosacea?

Rosacea is a skin condition characterized by redness and irritation that flares up on the skin, most commonly on the forehead, nose, cheeks, and eye area. Symptoms include sensitive, swollen, dry, rough, or scaly skin, and stinging or burning sensations on the skin. There are four subtypes of rosacea:

  • Subtype one: erythematotelangiectatic rosacea (ETR), characterized by redness and visible blood vessels.
  • Subtype two: papulopustular (or acne) rosacea, characterized by acne-like breakouts.
  • Subtype three: rhinophyma,characterized by thickening of skin on the nose. This is a rarer type and is often accompanied by another subtype of rosacea.
  • Subtype four: ocular rosacea, characterized by symptoms appearing near the eyes. 1 

There are a number of treatment options available for rosacea, including prescription medication. If your symptoms are severe, you should consult with your physician and/or naturopathic doctor (ND) to come up with an individualized treatment plan for you.

There are a number of natural home remedies you can try in conjunction with other rosacea treatments or on their own. Always consult with a naturopathic doctor before trying herbal supplements you have never taken before.

 

Natural Treatments for Rosacea

When trying home remedies, keep in mind that one of the key tenets of naturopathic medicine is to find and treat the cause of symptoms first. If possible, suppressive symptom management should be avoided until the root cause is identified and addressed, since symptom suppression can mask the core reason for the condition.

Avoid Potentially Triggering Foods/Substances

There are certain foods that can trigger rosacea symptoms in some people. Generally, if you are prone to rosacea, it is a good idea to avoid alcohol, spicy foods, and foods that contain cinnamaldehyde (these include cinnamon, tomatoes, citrus fruits, and chocolate). 2 You may also benefit from trying an elimination diet to identify any triggering foods. Smoking tobacco is also known to irritate rosacea.

Disclaimer: always be cautious when following an elimination diet, taking into account your existing diet, symptoms, and various nutrition and lifestyle considerations. Note that individuals with a history of disordered eating should check in with their care team prior to making any changes to their diet.

Change Your Pillowcase Often

Dead skin cells, oils, and dirt on your pillowcase may clog your pores and cause added irritation as you sleep. If you have rosacea, make sure that you swap your pillowcase out with a clean one regularly. It is also a good idea to opt for pillowcases made of natural fibers, such as cotton or silk, for maximum breathability. Additionally, be mindful of the cleaning products you use to do your laundry as this may be another source of irritation. Opt for fragrance and chemical free laundry products.

Protect Your Skin from the Sun

UV rays from the sun can trigger rosacea or make already-existing symptoms worse. To help protect your skin, limit your sun exposure by wearing a wide-brimmed hat, applying sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30, and staying out of direct sunlight when possible. 3 Choose nontoxic, fragrance and chemical free sun products.

Use Coconut Oil

When it comes to your skincare routine, gentle and natural is best if you have rosacea. Coconut oil is a good choice for moisturizer because it is very gentle and has anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties that may help to alleviate skin irritation. 4 5 Choose a natural moisturizer that contains coconut oil, or simply dab a little coconut oil directly onto your skin to moisturize. Note that pure coconut oil will liquify at higher room temperatures, so it is good to be mindful of how and where it is stored.

 

Supplements for Rosacea

Zinc

More research needs to be conducted on zinc’s effect on rosacea, but some initial studies have found that taking zinc supplements may help reduce irritation caused by rosacea. Zinc is known to reduce inflammation and improve immune function, both of which may contribute to a reduction in rosacea symptoms. 6 In one study, participants with rosacea who took zinc sulfate supplements daily saw a noticeable improvement in skin inflammation. 7 

Evening Primrose Oil

Although formal studies have not been done on evening primrose oil’s effect on rosacea, some people find that taking this herbal supplement helps to reduce inflammation and irritation of the skin. Speak to a naturopathic doctor to determine if evening primrose oil is right for you, and what dosage you should begin with.

Gamma-Linolenic Acid

Gamma-linolenic acid is an omega-6 fatty acid that is found in seed oils. Research has found that taking gamma-linolenic acid as a supplement or using a topical cream that contains it may reduce redness and discoloration caused by rosacea. 8 9 

The information presented on this site is intended for educational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.  Always seek the advice of a qualified healthcare provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.

 

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