Rosacea, sometimes called "adult-onset acne", can be both embarassing and, at it's worst, itchy and painful. There are treatments that your dermatologist can perscribe that have varying degrees of effectiveness. If you have gone down that road, you may have come to the same conclusion I did--the treatments don't work and have unpleasant side effects. Perhaps you, like me, are wondering if there are any other options? Well, there are! No one option will solve our problem completely, but several in combination will do surprising things. You might even say, miraculous!

First, let's clarify what rosacea is and what it isn't. You may have gotten the idea that your Northern European genetics is to blame. Or, perhaps, your propensity for blushing. Or, a virus or bacteria (thus the perscription for an antibiotic). Well, guess what? None of the above. The real culprit is an overactive immune system. The redness is an inflammatory response as the immune system attacks a preceived enemy. Thus, following the advice to stay out of extreme heat or cold is useless. Our skin is a reflection of our physical and emotional/spiritual health--a mirror to things much deeper than our skin. The regimen that follows will point toward steps that address both obvious symptoms and those deeper issues. 

Step one, Nutrition. Ugh. No, I'm not going to give you the same litany that the dermatologist probably did about avoiding spicy foods or cold foods or chocolate or...well, you know, you've probably already had that lecture. Well, don't give up your spicy foods, I sure didn't. And, we all know that chocolate is a major food group in and of itself. But, there are nutritional things you can do to improve your skin. Fruits, vegetables and whole grains. These wonder foods are full of vitamins and minerals and antioxidants which are good for your heart, your immune system, and for your skin. One mineral you will definitely find beneficial is zinc. For zinc, look at oysters and...well...actually oysters are about the best food source you can hope for so bon appetit! As for foods that come from boxes, cans, and drive-thru windows? Leave them in the packaging! All those chemicals and perservatives are negatively affecting your skin by encouraging your immune system to go overboard.

Step two, Sea Buckthorn. What is that you ask? It is a plant long known for it's health and healing properties. For skin, it encourages the regeneration of skin cells and reduces the inflammatory response (read: reduces redness). There are facial cleansers and masks which contain this wonderful herbal. My particular favorite brand is Aubrey which you will readily find at your local health food store or online, of course.

Step three, Essential Oils. Lavender and Tea Tree to be exact. I mix these two with Jojoba oil as the carrier oil. To a "squirt" of jojoba oil I add 5 drops of Tea Tree and 10 drops of Lavender oil and apply a small amount to my face after washing. Tea Tree oil is antibacterial and antiviral so if there is contributory, this will deal with it. Tea Tree is also an anti-inflammatory oil. Lavender oil is healing to the skin and very soothing; thus, it will help heal the open/broken skin and reduce the itchiness and discomfort.

Step four, Sauna. Moist, dry, or infrared saunas are good for you! Sweat removes toxins and cleans the skin. Oh, I know, the dermatologist said not to overheat. Since I've been using the sauna at my gym, I've been blackhead and lesion free. Yes, I flush quite red but it calms down and looks better than it has in years.

Step five, Destress. Stress affects our skin just as it affects our overall health. Laugh. Take a walk. Practice Tai-chi or yoga. Learn to spin wool or build models. Meditate (in the sauna or out). Seek emotional and/or spiritual healing. Find something that lowers your blood pressure and relaxes your spirit. You will reap many rewards along the way.

That's it. Five easy steps to beautiful, younger looking skin! Oh, I know, not as easy as taking a tetracycline pill and applying metrogel. But, who ever said beauty was easy? The above regimen will reap many benefits far beyond treating your rosacea. This isn't really surprising because our skin is a mirror to our inner health--spiritual and physical. Healing the deep things will do far more for your well-being (and your skin) than a short course of antibiotics.