The One Thing I Wish I Was Told About Treating Rosacea

Written by on November 22, 2010 in research, Rosacea Fact Sheets with 274 Comments

Do you have something that you just wish you were told when you were first diagnosed with rosacea? What little pearl of wisdom would have made the biggest difference to know straight up?

Often when someone is diagnosed with rosacea, their first trip to the internet is a scary one. Those pictures of the worst cases of severe rosacea are enough to depress anyone.

So what do you wish that you were told when you were first diagnosed?

What one thing has made the most difference to you that might help someone else?

My 2 Cents Worth

I took a long time to get on a treatment path that saw me getting consistently better.

I wish I was told about the importance of a physical sunscreen and of a gentle cleanser and moisturizer.

My skin was so inflamed and so un-cared-for that the regular rosacea treatments like antibiotics and Metrogel struggled to make a decent impression on my symptoms.

Only when my skin was able to recover and heal and be supported by a gentle skincare regime was it able to say goodbye to rosacea.

For me being a bloke I would probably never have thought of this as being important. I took a long time to believe it for myself. I could have saved so much time and grief if I had known this one tip.

Please Jump In

OK, even if you have never posted a comment on the Rosacea News Blog before, please help out everyone who has just been diagnosed with rosacea.

Leave a comment below and tell us the one thing that you think was the best bit of advice that you have gotten since you started in your quest to beat rosacea.

Thanks on behalf of everyone who comes to this page looking for good advice!

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Read more about: research, Rosacea Fact Sheets

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About the Author: David Pascoe started the Rosacea Support Group in October 1998. .

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274 Reader Comments

  1. Carolyn says:

    According to my book, oats (as a facial scrub) witch hazel , and cucumber juice are either anti -inflamatory, soothing or astringent..

    Tried iodine, but it was hard to remove afterwards…my husband put prescription cream on his eczema, so hard to know which one helped more.

    Will try tea tree soap, or oil (amazing things being said about helping the body rid the fungus on the skin) as an alternative to selsun blue (which really works but is quite drying) Will also try 1:1 hydrogen peroxide and baking soda paste as a cleanser.

    Oddly enough, after a day of no coffee or tea I had no “extra heat” flare up on my cheeks. To answer the original question about what I wish I had been told…I wish I had been told there are various things which help – drug store, AND home remedy – not just various things that irritate…

  2. JJ says:

    Coffee and regular tea are very acidic to the body, even too much herbal tea can be. I’m glad you found relief from cutting them out!

    There are great home remedies, but if you have a bacterial or mite infection, they are not enough, but can be soothing from overdrying of medicated washes.

    I think TTO washes and creams are the best. I think another problem is that it takes more than 5 mins to kills the bugs or inflammation, so washing isn’t enough, it’s what’s left on the skin afterwards too.

    Honey is antibacterial so there are many benefits for that. Aloe is very healing, that would still be #1 on my list, including to drink a teaspoon a day in a glass of water.

    Mashing an avocado is very good for a facial, but it might have too many oils. The oatmeal is good & especially cucumbers.

    Witch Hazel is excellent but I would not use it for your face, it would dry you out more and is never sold without extra alcohol in it.

    I’m sorry to hear you didn’t have good luck with the iodine.

    Baking soda and hydrogen P. is way too drying and irritating. But I have had excellent results with taking a bath with 1 cup of HP in the water. It also oxygenates your whole body, which is very healing. For the face, I would use one capful in a glass of water, then apply with a cotton ball to kill bacteria, bugs, etc, but it still won’t be moisturizing.

    Some people have had good luck with apple cidar vinegar diluted and applied with a cotton ball to the face. It also has antibacterial properties, but can sting.

    Rosacea is more than one problem; it’s skin sensitivity, ph imbalance in body and on face, mites, bacterial and fungul infections and inflammation, and can’t be solved with just one solution.

  3. JJ says:

    I looked thru my notes and here’s some more ideas that might help, I hope you find them helpful:

    Banana mask – anti-aging, and one of the most nourishing and alkaline fruits.

    Aloe – most hydrating for face; anti-viral, anti-bact., anti-inflammatory

    Yogurt mask – softening, hydrating, has enzymes.

    Cucumber – same ph as skin; very softening

    Neem powder helps acne

    Apple C. Vinegar – antiseptic

    Calendula – highly emollient, antibactrial, antiviral, anti-inflammatory

    Iodine – valuable bacterialcidal, fungicidal, virucidal

    Zinc – helps heal skin.

    Sea Salt – anti-viral bath

  4. carolyn says:

    JJ thanks for the info, sounds like you’ve been through a lot and have learned a lot on this unpleasant journey …bought some tea tree oil soap (the oil was sold out where I went) which seems good, and bought non-coffee (chicory, barley, beet root) and another day of no extremes in temperature….this is quite a learning experience…

  5. JJ says:

    You’re welcome Carolyn! I’ve always been sensitive, so I have done a lot of research on my own and my holistic dr was a really big help.

    I hope the TTO soap works for you. What brand you are using can be important, the more organic, the better. Organic isn’t always more expensive and then you aren’t putting pesticides and chemicals on your face, which will always aggravate sensitive skin.

    The straight TTO is very concentrated, but I have found it useful to lather up my soap and add a drop to it to make it more effective. I would also put a few drops in your shampoo for your hair, the mites are there too.

    Wheat and grains cause a lot of allergy problems; I would stay away from the barley for now, even though I love home-made barley soup!

    I wish both you and your husband success with your skin problems; the older we get, it doesn’t seem to get easier either.

    Some health nuts say “if you can’t eat it, don’t put it on your face or skin.” There’s some truth to that!

  6. Carolyn says:

    Apart from avoiding triggers like high-sugar foods, and carbs (like donuts! etc.) just wanted to share that I have found it really helpful to reduce hot drinks like coffee and tea and have found that after dealing with the mites each morning with tea tree oil soap (from “soap works”-all veg. oil soaps) using rose water (100% distilled used for cooking usually) is great. It is anti-septic, anti-inflammatory, soothing and even has vitamin k in it for the broken capillaries) It really feels cool on the face, rather like witch hazel, only better….

  7. g g says:

    Thanks Carolyn

    The Rosewater sounds great! Where can you buy it?

  8. carolyn says:

    Hi gg, well not sure where you live, but here in Ontario (Canada) I found it at Loblaws in the water/pop section, and it’s in any middle eastern-type store. It’s in a small clear glass bottle, and it is also clear. I hope it works for you – I find it really cools the skin down. But the most progress I’ve made has come from the cleansing with anti-fungal things like tea tree soap or occasionally with selsun blue shampoo. Good luck!

  9. g g says:

    Hey Carolyn

    Thanks for the reply. I am in Victoria – Australia, but I will look out for some ethnic stores! Cheers!

  10. carolyn says:

    gg, you’re very welcome!

  11. Maggie says:

    I see the CeraVe is advertised on this site. The ingredients on the bottle list hyalauronic acid. My dermatologist has advised me to steer clear of any cosmetics that contain any kind of acid. Will this product make my rosacea worse? Thank you.

  12. Hi Maggie,

    Hyaluronic acid is not an acid as you might think. Whilst it still might be something that you might react to, just seeing acid in a name doesn’t automatically mean it is by-definition more irritating. Ingredients called acid might just be because of the structure of the chemical. Skin products are often balanced to match the pH of skin, meaning that there is likely no acidic or alkali effect seen.

    Unfortunately no-one could say for sure whether CeraVe will cause a problem for a particular person. The nature of rosacea is that there is still plenty of trial and error required.

    all the best,
    dp.

  13. Den says:

    Up to about 10 years ago I used to get dandruff in several places on my scalp particularly on the hairline to the back of my neck. I found Nizoral anti-dandruff shampoo very effective – it sorted the problem long term and I now only need to use the shampoo about twice a year. It was also very effective at dealing with redness and itching on the skin near the sites. The active ingredient is ketoconazole.

    I probably also had rosecea without realising it.

    Since then I have developed rosecea to my nose, forehead and cheeks. I was prescribed the usual Rozex which worked well for perhaps two months but is now ineffective. I remembered other posts discussing the possible causes of the condion such as fungals, yeasts, infections ect. Some of this seemed pretty close to what causes dandfuff so I bought some Nizoral and tried it on my face. I used it neat on a wet face and left it on for five minutes before rinsing and patting dry and moisturising with Simple Kind To Skin hydrating moisturizer. After a mild burning sensation and an initial increase in redness by the next day all my symptoms had dimished. I then did this twice a week and found it very effective at controlling the redness, itching, scaling, scabs and white pustules. Now I leave it until the itching and burning sets in again before using the Nizoral and leaving it on for 3 minutes.

    It is now 6 months since I began this and it still seems to be working.

  14. carolyn says:

    That’s great – sounds like you have luck with these experiements. I found that selsun blue 1% also works on the skin (it’s the sulfer). What I mostly use now though, it tea tree oil soap in the morning for the mites, yeast etc.( whatever it is that also causes dandruff) and rose water (100% in middle east section mostly used for dessert making) several times a day. There is a bit of redness from the cottonball wiping, but is very refreshing, anti-inflammatory, calming to the skin, which of course results in less redness. I never had a problem with the rosacea – type acne, and still have rosy cheeks to some extent (I’m afraid my Irish-English heritage has decided that one), but MUCH less due to keeping the face clean of the fungal aspect. Any improvement is good right?

  15. Den says:

    Thank you for your comments Carolyn. I am very keen to find non pharma/chemical solutions. I have tried tea tree oil with little success but I was working long shifts in front of a cathode ray type computer monitor at the time. It fried my face turning it a burning red. That is when I saw a doctor and got the Rozex which did work for a while.
    Cold dry air has the same effect on me as does any sun which reminds me of my little girlfriend at junior school. She was Irish with blue eyes, sooty dark eyelashes and bright ginger hair with freckles. Pure Central Casting. Her skin was white like vellum and she had your rosy cheeks. She was not allowed out to play if it was sunny without a large straw hat and gloves. I hope your skin is not as sensitive as hers but I can imagine what you have to cope with.

  16. Den says:

    Also I like the idea of rose water. Do you think it would work as well if we stuffed ourselves with Turkish Delight?

  17. Carolyn says:

    Hi Den,
    no problem – I agree that the milder the better. I have mostly dry skin, so thought I could get away with mostly just rinsing and avoiding any and all soaps…well after reading posts here about the mites we all have in our pillow cases and beds, I realised that my cheeks were so very read when I woke up because I hadn’t cleaned well enough and the mites in the bed like that!! having them live on your skin and consume the oils causes redness (yes – yuck!)… so I went from only rinsing to putting selsun blue on my face! instant results…then I tried pure tea-tree oil which burned. Then I found tea tree oil soap, which dries a bit, but works. I know my genetic make up will never release me from rosy cheeks (at least I’m not ultra sensitive to the sun), but it is a lot better. There is also an acid/alkaline component that increases our yeasty make-up (ie. too much carbs, not enough fruit and veggies) .I have never heard of Rosex ( maybe we don’t have it in Canada). I find that one of the worst triggers for me is going from a cold windy setting to inside where the heat is turned up high. Anyway good luck with your searches.

  18. Carolyn says:

    Good idea – I wouldn’t mind trying! :]

  19. Den says:

    Thank you for your suggestions Carolyn. Rozex is I believe called Metrogel in the US and Canada. The active ingredient is metronidazole. Getting away from chemicals I started to think about my favourite proper herbalist, Baldwins in South London. It used to be the most wonderful original Victorian shop (founded 1844) with high wooden counters and shelves crammed with glass jars full of every herb imaginable. The only place in London where you could still find gaslight and fog. The smell from generations of herbal nostrums exuding from the woodwork would cure most things as soon as you stepped through the door.

    Sadly the old shop is no more but Baldwins is still there and has a very interesting website http://www.baldwins.co.uk. They are good and helpful people. I talked to them about what they would recommend to try for the condition and Tom Phillips (tom@baldwins.co.uk) their marketing manager suggested rosehip oil.

    That makes sense given your use of rose water. I imagine rosehip oil will be more concentrated and the oil component will make it more soothing.

    I shall try both

  20. terry says:

    It’s now 4 months since my diagnosis, which I discussed here. I have to say that my skin looks better than it has in years. Like David, it has been all about finding the regimen that works for me. And it’s now down to a gentle cleanser, metronidazole gel, and MOISTURIZER! That was really key to keeping everything under control. I use Eurcerin “calming lotion”, which has made all the difference. (I had to give up on the oral doxycycline because of GI distress.)

    Remember: moisturize!

  21. carolyn says:

    Hi Den -no problem! I think you must love “Victorian Pharmacy”; fascinating series. I read that the metronidazole is anti-fungal, and yes rose-hip oil is supposed to be ideal, according to my ” home remedies” book…. :]

  22. andy says:

    Hi, I just read terry’s post and agree whole heartedly, it’s similar to my original post last year.
    I use Rozex metro (cream) having had problems with the gel and my condition is in great form at the moment touch wood. I’d give it a 1 -2 on a ten point scale of severity 0 being normal and cured. I have reduced my dose and use it sparingly now.

    I use E45 cream as a base layer, I know some posters dislike it but I’ve used it for years and hae never had any reaction from it even when at my worst, no other cream for me provides the same level of moisturisation without the tight feeling of dry skin, I have tried everything and this works as a foundation layer so to speak. I have found that eucerins anti redness day fluid with spf is good for me. I apply this after the E45 to calm my skin.

    However I recently came back from a month holiday to malaysia, and I forgot my eucerin cream. I decided to buy Dermalogica’s redness relief spf20. I now use this to cover redness, a little goes along way and you have to be carefull to rub it in to avoid that hulk look.

    I seem to respond well to anything with licorice extract, zinc and oat which the two anti redness creams have. This links well with other posters and studies on here. So if I was looking for a business I would create a soothing cream with colloidal oat, zinc and licorice.

  23. andy says:

    P.s to other posters and David Pascoe…I’ve been reading up about prostaglandins or (PG)D2 and the role they play in inflammation. I Understand drugs are coming to the forefront of research in terms of anti flushing andanti inflamatories in asthma.

    Prostaglandins have come into the news again because they may be a large contributing factor in male pattern baldness.

    Niacin is good for cholesterol but promotes facial flushing an effect caused by the release of a fat, this is called prostaglandin and is the primary cause of facial flushing. Apparently It’s formed by an enzyme called COX-2 and is released by immune and skin cells, this acts on a muscle cell-surface receptor called DP1 to cause the flushing. Asprin counter acts the dialation and drugs that have a heart and cholesterol effect without the flushing are being developed.
    I hear colloidal oatmeal is a good suppressor of prostaglandins and many good fats are anti prostaglandin…just a thought

  24. carolyn says:

    Thanks Andy, this is very interesting….there must be a lot of connections not yet confirmed…

  25. JJ says:

    I agree with C, great post Andy – the inflammation definitely needs to be cured one way or another.

    I bet some of our processed foods with added nutrients can have “niacin” in them, something else to consider and stay away from.

    I might have to look harder for a good c-oatmeal soap – I don’t like Aveeno’s, it’s not oil free and makes me break out.

    Maybe this is also why the Omega’s are anti-inflammatory and good for the skin. I wish somebody wld take it every day and let us know if it helps the redness.

  26. Christina says:

    I’m so glad I’ve come across this site just to day. I feel so ill-informed by my doctor but am afraid to delve to much into the internet world as it usually leaves me depressed and basically freaked out.
    I have been dealing with problem skin, face only, for about 10years. I am not fair skinned I would say I am sallow and tan easily, my problem has never been connected with flushing. At 15 my doctor advised me I had acne and I was given a topical gel. This really did nothing for me (as I infact had acne rosacea) and it was only when a few years later, I, by chance, happened to be taking a medication steroid for something unrelated and suddenly the shape of my nose began to change. My whole family noticed it. I revisited my doctor who sent me to a specialist and I was finally diagnosed with Rosacea. Being so young, I think it is really only now, at 25 that I have started to care for my skin.
    Over the years I have had a terrible diet, I don’t drink that often but when I do it’s binge drinking on a night out, I wear a lot of make up which I guess is as a result of years of the condition. My specialist started me on tetracycline and after that minocycline,
    I wish I gave natural treatments a chance first but I was 21 and very self conscious so it seemed like the best option. The minocycline did change my skin for the better as in the sore painful spots all along the sides of my nose disappeared and the redness reduced (although still very red, always…).
    I just gave myself a 6month break from all medication and everything was fine for about 4 months, then I randomly decided to apply a LUSH face mask and BAM- one blemish appeared, then 3, and now I have a full flair up of painful spots that get flakey yet are oily.

    I returned to the specialist yesterday and he has advised that minocyline has a max timeframe to be on of 5yrs and has now prescribed Doxycycline.

    Reading all your posts has made me come face to face with the fact that I need to make some life changes and not just pop pills and give out that my skin is so bad. I love hot showers and baths so I will try to reduce the temperature greatly. I am also going to have a good look at my diet and make some big changes.

    I see a lot of posts refer to benefits of Dairy free diets. Does anybody know the main harms that dairy causes? I may try to eliminate this also.

  27. comment via email from Liza

    “Hello,

    Dairy free diet is definitely the thing. I haven’t had any cow milk for two years now and my rosacea only just occasionnally flaires up one day or two before my periods, the rest of the time I am happy with my skin. Sheep products are ok but I have some every other day and only at lunch.

    Good luck,

    Liza”

  28. Carolyn says:

    I am no expert, but the dry-yet flaky skin does sound like sebbacious dermatitis, which has been mentionned here a few times…I did know I had it, as it is quite mild, but to avoid increasing redness I had stopped scrubbing or cleansing well for quite a long time…well this let the fungal component (living in our pillows, beds etc.) pretty much live on my face! they consume oils and cause more redness. Using Selsun blue, once for 3-4 minutes reduced redness and now I use it only occasionally and clean my face better morning and night. It is the sulfur inthe selsun blue. I find that also using rose water on cotton balls really soothing, cleansing, and softening on my face. DIet apparently plays a large role also the the fungal element in our bodies (from the inside). Good luck and think about trying a quick wash-leave on- rinse with 1% selsun blue :]

  29. Pat says:

    Does anyone know how long you can take doxycycline?

  30. Kitty says:

    Six years ago my husband and I left the tropical December heat of North Queensland, to go to the northern hemisphere winter to live and work in the UK. We returned to Australia ten months later, both suffering from rosacea. Since then, we have seen numerous doctors, gone down the rozex and doxycycline path, consulted naturopaths and modified our diets etc, all with varied results. Suffice to say, we still wake every day with the redness and spots, and for me, depending on the point in my cycle, it can be a good day or not. Hopefully some of these suggestions here will provide a solution. Thanks:-)

  31. Terry says:

    Pat, I was told that it’s possible, after you control the immediate inflammation, to later switch to a much lower dose of doxy (which has a different drug name), and that can be taken permanently. But personally, I hated the idea of always having an antibiotic on board, and when I couldn’t tolerate doxy because of stomach distress, I discontinued it. I found I did fine on just the metronidazole gel and moisturizers.

  32. Dianne says:

    I was diagnosed with occular rosacea several years ago, but also have minor symptoms associated with facial redness and flushing. The main thing I learned over the years is to recognize your triggers and then stay away from them if at all possible! I also started using Restasis about 8 months ago and this has made a huge positive difference with my occular disease. My Opthamolgist attempted to get me to use Restasis years ago, but I resisted. Wish I had listened earlier….really has changed my life for the better!

  33. Lea says:

    If you have rosacea, you may have intestinal yeast buildup & need to immediately get on a good probiotic. Eating yogurt is helpful, but alone, may not be enough. It takes some time (varies per individual), but it clears up without needing anything else. While you are waiting to be healed, use colloidal oatmeal treatments. I hope you all will do research on this common disorder & get on the road to recovery!

  34. K.M. says:

    Long before I was diagnosed with rosacea, but when I had started noticing my face was red, my husband told me to stop scrubbing my face. He was so right! Rgat was 30 years ago and I have cleansed gently ever since.

  35. liza says:

    Hello,

    Since I have been cleaning my face with cetaphil (just a tiny drop) and pure spring water, my face is so much better; it isn’t even red anymore. I never use tap water anymore. I also use, as a moisturizer toleriane 0 (la roche posay) and use very, very little foundation (just on my occasionnal redness and p&ps). Less is more, believe me…

    Regards

    Liza (from France)

  36. Megumi says:

    LEA.. Thankyou for that advice.

  37. Sue says:

    I have had rosacea for about thirty years. In the beginning the only thing the doctors gave me was Metrogel. It did nothing. I suffered for many years. Finally I found a great dermotologist. I used Finacea and took Oracea for a year. It really helped alot. Then I got occular rosacea. I used the tea tree oil and OcuSoft lid scrub from the pharmacy. I was following an intense routine for about a month. Now my lids are good; I do a maintenance treatment about once a month. I still get little raised “bumps” on the edges. I very carefully press them with a qtip to release the “mites”. I have to be very careful in the sun. Even walking from the car to the house I can get too much sun. Then I break out on my nose. Now I have a vitamin D deficiency but that is another conversation.

    Thank you for this site and all the people who contribute. Sometimes I spend hours and hours reading and researching all this information. It is invaluable!

  38. Gemma says:

    I have just changed my birth control method and my rosacea went away completely! I had been using finacea and Oracea plus probiotics, fish oil – anything! I had mirena IUD for five years, removed (symptoms improved) and began taking Diane-35 OCP. I literally have no rosacea right now, after 1 month (knock on wood). I hope this might help others out there. It’s such a miserable thing to live with.

  39. carolyn says:

    Sue,
    it’s great to find solutions; there seems to be so many different possibilities for different people… and why not take vit E? it is widely recommended; I’ve been taking it 4-5 times a week for a year or so, as I really avoid the sun….

  40. Caffreys7 says:

    Gemma, I think there might be something to what you said about the Mirena IUD. My rosacea appeared during my second pregnancy. After the pregnancy I also had the Mirena IUD and the rosacea continued (I was very slow to get it diagnosed). I finally got it diagnosed and started treatment with metrogel and oral antibiotics but I also had the IUD removed. I do not remember the timing of these two events (which was first?), but my rosacea is much much better now. I noticed that it gets worse “at that time of the month” so hormones seem to be a trigger for me.

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