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Rosacea

Berkeley Parents Network > Reviews > Health & Medical > Rosacea



What has helped you deal with rosacea?

Nov 2005

After several months of thinking I was having ''a bad skin day'', I finally figured out that I have developed rosacea. I've tried reading up on this condition but it seems that all of the websites say the same thing, ''...condition can't be cured, only treated...'', etc. Since my dermatology appointment got postponed a few weeks, I thought I would see if any BPN members have practical advice. I'm not interested in taking antibiotics and don't see myself giving up coffee. I am hoping to get some advice from people who are actually dealing with rosacea, what has been helpful, what can I expect from the dermatologist, etc? And what about insurance-what has been peoples' experiences with how insurance handles this-disease or cosmetic? Red Face


You may not want to give up coffee, but spicy foods and heat in general can really exacerbate Rosacea. I've had it for about 15 years and it can be tricky to manage. Yes, definitely go to the dermatologist; there are topical creams (I use Metrocream, I know there are others) that can keep eruptions down. You should also be extremely careful about what you put on your face: things like moisturizers, makeup, toners, etc. will probably be right out. Soap of any kind -- no way! You can wash your face with very mild soap-free cleansers like Cetaphil (Aveda makes a green gel, forget the name, that I like a lot) or Aqua Glycolic (gives you a little glycolic acid but doesn't seem to make my face redder) but beware of anything that has mineral oil in it, you'd be surprised how many cosmetics do.

I had laser treatments about 6 years ago that were very successful in clearing up the existing broken capillaries and red spots, done in the dermatology dept. at UCSF by Dr. Roy Grekin. LOVED him! I think the technology/lasers have improved since then, but I would def. investigate getting laser treatments from an M.D. rather than an esthetician if you want to go that way. I need a touchup (Rosacea is forever!) but it's nowhere near as bad as it was before the first laser treatment.

Saunas and hot tubs are problems, as is hot water on your face. You want to avoid flushing, so sometimes if I have a glass of wine and feel my face getting warm, I'll put an ice cube in a napkin and rub it on my face! Extreme, but it beats looking like Mrs. Claus with rosy chipmunk cheeks. Good luck! Not a drunk, it's just Rosacea!


I went through one round of antibiotics when my rosacea was diagnosed, that cleared all the pimples (I had a very bad breakout due to hot weather), then I used metronidazole cream exclusively as a moisturizer and treatment, then I weaned myself off of that after a year or so (you're supposed to stay on it or don't use it at all), and now maintain my ruddy but zit-free complexion with oil-free moisturizers containing alpha-lipoic acid, which is supposed to reduce redness. I avoid scubbing or steaming and only use very mild face cleanser, no soap. Ruddy girl
There is no cure for Rosacea, and if you are lucky, you will get red and not get the disfiguring kind (think WC Fields). That seems to be more common in men, but women can get it too.

I do not believe there is anything topical that you can do about it. What worked for me was lasers. It was EXPENSIVE. A few grand, and I am supposed to go back every now and then for a touch up. But I have not felt the need. Leslie


I have had rosacea for probablly 10-15 years. In my experience, insurance companies do not consider this a ''cosmetic'' problem - my insurance coverage over the years has been great, and I have had different carriers. I was on a metrogel cream for years that worked pretty well, then stopped working, and now I'm on a different medication. There are several for the doctor to work with. When the medication works, you would never know I have a problem. When it doesn't, my skin looks terrible. I have not changed diet, exercise or anything else. Good luck! rosacea sufferer
I'm also dealing with a red face and have researched possible ''cures'' over the past few years. One suggestion often found is to adjust your diet. Well, no way was I going to give up my beloved cheese but after having a baby, I needed to adjust my diet while breastfeeding due to the baby's allergy. And so I discoved that the lack of cheese (eggs, soy, corn, sugars, alcohol, caffiene) in my diet was quite detrimental to my wellbeing and had absolutely to effect on my skin color! So I continue to doubt the ''change your diet'' folks who suggest that will cure my redness. My latest attempt will be (just bought today) to use vitamin C topically. You can read some online with a quick search under ''redness and ascorbic acid.'' And like many products, you can pay $70 for the designer brand or $20 at your local drug store. We'll see if it helps! red too.
I have rosacea also and treat it by using pure aloe vera gel on my face at least once a day. I have tried the antibiotics (in a gel form) which work well for bad breakouts, but daily use of aloe seems to keep it under control. I also found that sun exposure helps, even though info recommends otherwise. I love spicy food, sun and don't mind sweating - all the things that are supposed to agitate the condition. However, the only thing I found that really aggravates it, for me, is stress, harsh soap or heavy lotions. Good luck! Jill
I have had bouts with rosacea for at least a decade. When it got bad, I would go to the dermatologist for topical and oral antibiotics--the topical creams only made it worse. I finally discovered a line of products called MD Formulations, specifically their ''Critical Care'' line, and my skin has never been happier. It is not cheap--but it is so much better (and ultimately less expensive) than the medical alternatives. You can find it at Bare Escentuals on 4th St in Berkeley. rosacea no more!
I found out I had rosacea about 10 or 12 years ago. At that time I started wearing a slightly tinted sunscreen lotion on my face and it has made all the difference. I use Iminance by Lancome... I like that the tint evens out the redness, but you could use any sunscreen face lotion that agrees with your skin. Sun exposure seems to have been the biggest trigger for me, because I sure haven't given up hot beverages, spicy foods and everything else that can make me flush!

Another note: another symptom I had as a result of Rosacea was a chyllaseum (sp?) on my eyelid. I had it for almost a year before an Optometrist asked if I had rosacea. He recommended using a 10 to 1 ratio of warm water and baby shampoo to clean off my eyelids every night. To get rid of the existing unsightly chyllaseum, I used hot, wet compresses a few times a day. It took a long time to go away, but now I never have any problem, and don't even use the baby shampoo procedure. I just need to clean my lids if it seems like one might be coming in.

Good luck.... and don't let all of the literature scare you and make you feel hopeless! A former Rosacea sufferer


Everyone seems to have a different opinion about this--- including dermatologists. Here's what has worked for me:

I discovered that I was allergic to aloe vera, which triggered the rosacea. It turns out practically all soaps have aloe in them, so this is one thing to look out for.

I switched (completely) to products made by a German company called Dr. Hauschka. All natural and very soothing (though expensive). You can get them at Whole Foods or Rainbow Grocery in San Francisco. They have a rosacea treatment, which really worked for me. I also use the cleansing cream, the rose day cream, and the toner.

Also, I read somewhere that one theory is that rosasea is a reaction to a staph bacteria that many people have on their hands and body. So as a precaution, I always dry my face with a clean towel, and try to keep my hands away from my face.

I have gone from lots to red splotches to just sort of a red nose (which I cover up with makeup). Good luck!


According to a natural living website and newsletter that I subscribe to, rosacea is caused by eating too many grains especially wheat and too much sugar. I have recently discovered that I also have rosacea. I eat a lot of chocolate and bread! And my diet has been like this for the last year, since I have had the problem. I haven't been to the dermatologist, but I am going to try to cut out sweets. Search on mercola.com for more info. I hope this helps. red in the face too!
Traditional Chinese Medicine for Rosacea Rosacea is hard to live with, and western medicine does nearly nothing for it.

I have had rosacea for three years now, and have been nearly totally healed with chinese medicine treatments which include diet changes, herbs, compresses, and ointment.

The diet is very important, and is in line with what many western doctors recommend: no caffeine, chocolate, alcohol, spicy foods (including garlic and onions), and other foods that cause your capillaries to dilate, which is what triggers outbreaks. I can eat all the rice, bread, etc I want, along with cooling foods like tofu, chicken, pork, fish (but not shellfish) any vegetable, and most fruits with the exception of tropical fruits (papaya, mango, strawberries, pineapple). The herbs also work from the inside out to balance your system. The compresses and ointment work on the skin from the outside in.

I can't recommend this course of treatment enough. I was initially going to a dermatologist who prescribed antibiotic cream, which had no effect. With Chinese medicine, I went from a very bad state to nearly perfect, smooth, non-ruddy skin in less than three months. Initially, there was a major improvement within 3 DAYS.

And now, 9 months later, I've even been able to start drinking a little white wine again with no ill effects, which is very nice.

There's an excellent, nationally known practitioner in SF: Dr. Jialing Yu, 415-337-0308. She's not very warm and fuzzy, but boy does she know her stuff. Best of luck. lauren


Alternative treatments for rosacea?

Sept 2005

I read the website and didn't find exactly what I'm looking for so hopefully this will work: I'm seeking a natural medicine person in the Oakland/Berkeley area. I have rosacea that is getting increasingly worse as I age (I'm 40). I tried the antibiotics and creams for about six months but didn't have any luck. I am also developing more skin issues lately: toe fungus, athlete's foot, eczema, psoriasis, itchiness. I have started some anti-redness supplements and that seems to keep the redness in my face in check.

I've read and heard that all these issues could be related to something called ''leaky gut'' or too much yeast in the body and a strict diet can help or get rid of the problem. However, I'm horrified by the diet because it sounds impossible to stay on and no fun at all (I love to eat, drink, entertain, cook).

I'm looking for someone who will be supportive, give me guidance in making this radical lifestyle change, and, perhaps someone who might be able to take a moderate approach toward addressing this. Affiliation with Alta Bates Medical Group would help financially, but things are bad enough, I need to do something.


I just wrote a response to the person looking for help with stomach problems, so forgive me if I repeat myself. You may do well seeing a naturopathic doctor or another type of practitioner who works a lot with supporting and balancing the digestive system. I have worked with patients who have rosacea and have often seen that the digestive system is indeed the culprit. The candida diet is one appropach (and it IS hard!!!), but there are some supportive therapies that can make that MUCH easier, and there are also tests that can be done to determine if that is indeed what is going on. There are some excellent ND's here in the east bay who I'm sure would be able to help you. Check out www.calnd.org to find a doc near you, or you can e- mail or call my office at 925-602-0582 if you want more info. Good luck to you! Tara Levy, ND
July 2005

I just discovered that I have rosacea and I was wondering if anyone has any advice about more natural treatments for this condition. And has anyone had any experience with treating rosacea homeopathically? Any recommendations for a good homeopath would also be appreciated. I noticed the archives are pretty out of date, in terms of recommendations for homeopaths. Thanks!


My question to you is what is your real goal? Is your goal to do whatever it takes to address this completely? Or is your goal to manage it to be as comfortable as you can be in the moment?

An alternative treatment for rosacea is to begin drinking HOMEMADE kefir daily. It will get worse for a few months while everything is being pulled to the surface, and eventually will go away altogether. The bad news is that it takes quite a long time to fix this. The good news is that it FIXES it, rather than what you can get otherwise, which is to address the symptoms, but not the underlying issue.

The kefir_making group on yahoo is a great place to start, to get information, etc. I have read a few accounts of people doing this with great success. You just must have patience and see it through. If you go this route, you need to start with small amounts so you don't overwhelm your body with the die off. kefir_mama


I have to say that traditional Chinese medicine treatments with a nationally acknowledged doctor have made all the difference to me. I have gone from severe rosacea to smooth, clear skin, all done with herbs, compresses, ointment, and a restricted diet. This diet DOES NOT include any large amounts of dairy like kefir, which Chinese medicine principles say builds heat in the body which exacerbates skin disorders. If you are interested in trying these treatments, you can contact Dr. Jialing Yu at 415-337-0308. People come from all over the country to see her for a variety of skin ailments. Lauren
Oct 2004

I suffered from Acne in my teen years and for past 7 years of Rosacea. I would like to try Homeopathy. Does anybody know anybody in this field. Thank you. Nora


My midwife mentioned that she has had great success with flax seed oil for her rosacea. She drinks it in liquid form daily and has found it very helpful- she mentioned that her rosacea was previously very severe and I barely notice it at all now!

sun screen and daily moisturizer for Rosacea

June 2004

I was recently told I have rosacea. Can anyone recommend a sun screen and daily moisturizer that doesn't make rosacea worse?


I have rosacea too -- oh joy! I have started using the Rodan and Fields Calm regimen, and also got their book ''Unblemished'' with my order which details which sunscreens and moisturizers are helpful, and not aggravating to this condition. I use Eucerin Extra Protective Moisture Lotion for sensitive facial skin -- it has an SPF of 30. It has worked well for me. hope this helps
Two suggestions for you: Either Eucerin 30 or 15 sunblock is good, and available at most drugstores, or you could go with a more upscale product my facial lady suggested that I've been very happy with - Dermalogica sheer moisture spf 15. It's a very light moisturizer that uses zinc oxide as its blocking agent. I've seen a marked improvement in my rosecea since I've been using it. You might also try the Dermalogica anti-bacteria wash. I've had fewer breakouts with that as well. Good luck! red cheeks
I use the RS2 products, specifically made for rosacea and sensitive skin, from the Pevonia Botanica skin care line. I wouldn't normally pay this much for moisturizer and such, but was sold when I went to a spa that uses Pevonia for their facials. For the first time in my life, I walked out without the red blotches I usually have because of my highly sensitive skin. I've tried many products since this condition developed and am most happy with Pevonia, so I've stuck with it. And we're talking over 15 years of living with embarrassing patches and redness! If used properly (our skin doesn't need as much product as we think), the Care Cream (with UV protection) can last for over 6 months. I purchased mine at the spa, but I'm sure you can find the line with a quick Google. Good luck! Happily blotch-free
Cetaphil, definitely! My new dermatologist decided on my first visit that what my previous dermatologist had been treating as adult acne for years was really rosacea. So it's been the end of antibiotics, various drying gels, exfoliant scrubs and alpha- hydroxy products and the start of a soothing regimen of Cetaphil cleanser morning and evening, Cetaphil daily facial moisturizer w/ SPF 15 every morning, applied lavishly and a prescription Sulfacet cream at night which seems to really help the rosacea and acne-like symptoms. Good luck! Clear skin at last
- I've been told that I ''probably'' have rosacea, so this may not be specific enough for you, but I've used Banana Boat ''faces'' for many years, and it's really the only sunscreen that I've trusted not to cause a problem for my sensitive facial skin and still effective at blocking the sun (I first discovered it when doing long backpacking trips at high elevation, so was fighting intense sun and heavy perspiration). I've never tried the fancier things that everybody else mentioned: a dermatologist once recommended a pricey everyday sunscreen/lotion to me, which I tried and found that I ended up with sunburns, so I've stuck with the cheaper things that I've found effective. janet

Had any success dealing with rosacea?

Aug 2003

Has anyone had success at treating rosacea? I've tried the prescription creams and gels. I also do my best to avoid the activities that agravate it- like alcohol, chocolate, and sun exposure. I'm hoping that there is a choice of treatment that is herbal or of natural origin. Thanks.


I too have struggled, or more rightly, given up! I did read a year or so ago, a study suggesting to eat red foods - cranberry, raspberry, blackberry, beets and that many of these red foods have a natural ingredint that can help. I did not put myself on such a diet though. red faced
Sorry this is so long and sounds like a commercial...but hope it will help you.

Regarding rosacea, I've had it since I was at least 18, and (finally!!) found some really useful information in a book by a Dr. Nase (www.drnase.com). I was hesitant to buy the book (about $39?) as I've been disappointed by the ''learn to love your blemishes'' books that either tell you to avoid your triggers and live in a bubble (what a horrible life!) or to give up and hide them with makeup. Why no one seemed to try to help fix the real problem (why your body overreacts to the triggers) I was never sure. Also, I discovered this book on the internet, and I tend to assume most things there are scams, but it was highly recommended by several rosacea support groups (yes, they're out there), so I tried it. I was so pleased with my results that I recommended the book to my mother. The author had a very severe case at a young age (college/med school) and after trying treatments I consider very extreme (antibiotics, steroids) he found some ''gentler'' ones that worked for him. I've never even had a dermatologist who'd had rosacea before, so this was really enlightening.

If you're like me and enjoy scientific data you'll love this (finally understand more of the ''why''), but also has a summary section if you just want the quick & dirty. There's a big section reviewing different cleaning regimens & treatments recommended by different people (think he did a survey), and I found some really useful.

As far as natural (or at least non-extreme) remedies go, I've had wonderful luck with a cleanser, lotion & a supplement recommended in this book. The non-soap, non-drying cleanser is made by Zia (has ''algae'' in the name) - its green. A little pricey, but wonderful stuff - its really helped with my morning symptoms. And, of course, not washing your face with hot water helps too. I've also used Oil of Olay moisturizer with SPF 15 (fragrance free) for years and swear by it - get flushes every time I try something else.

I also took grape seed extract until I found out I was pregnant, and it really seemed to help. I think its an antioxidant, so like Vitamin C can't really hurt unless you get carried away with it. I read up on it elsewhere and found out that its supposed to help make your capillaries stronger, so maybe that's why it worked for me. I had no side effects, just less flushing.

Ironically, being pregnant (which is, after all, natural) seems to have almost totally supressed my symptoms, which makes me wonder how much of mine was due to hormone imbalances or something I've stopped eating/drinking. Also think I was much worse when I worked in a different skyscraper, but that's another topic.

As an aside, and I do hate it when people tell you to just hide your breakouts, I've had wonderful luck with a powder makeup called bare minerals (from bare essentuals). I hate makeup, but its super light and really does hide the discoloration beautifully. Someone gave to me as a gift, and again, its not cheap, but has lasted me for months and is great on the days when I just feel like WC Fields.

Good luck to you - I know its not fun! I recommend the internet support groups if you get really frustrated - lots of nice people eager to talk with you about it. Rebecca


Dealing with rosacea flare-ups

March 2002

I am a nursing mother with rosacea and am curious to know how other people deal with the frequent flare-ups.


While I have not had your experience, I have read about rosacea for some clients. In some cases, low HCl in the stomach may cause rosacea. It's hard to test for low HCl, however. One could try a digestive aid and see if that mitigates the reccurence. Betaine HCl is sold in some supplements. Follow the instructions carefully. Nori Hudson

Solutions for rosacea?

2001

Hello: I have rosacea & have started to research different solutions. Has anyone in this group had experience with laser treatments, photoderm or photofacials? Does anyone have a particular dermatologist to recommend in relation to rosacea (I did look through the archives)? Also, does anyone have any input on Dr. Ernest Bloom? I went to him for a consultation & wanted to get some input. Thanks Rozcro


Before trying anything drastic (including prescription drugs) you should probably know that many rosacea "treatments" are ineffective. I tried two or three rounds of antibiotics, plus various creams and gels, before giving up. I found that simple treatments are the best: start with pure aloe vera gel and see if there is any improvment (give yourself a month). Then try Gold Bond medicated lotion - it's available at any drugstore and has some mysterious ingredient that has worked wonders for me. I'm finally finally free of outbreaks - after two years of frustration with the dermatology establishment! amy
I saw your posting on the UCB Parents Network about rosacea. My daughter has a port wine stain and we've rec'd a number of treatments from two doctors: Dr. Beech-Shay at Kaiser Fremont Dr. Iona Friedan UCSF Medical Center Dr. Friedan is very well known in her field and has extensive experience and research background in laser treatments. My daughter's port wine stain has lightened considerably and we get yearly treatments to keep it from getting darker. I believe rosacea is easier to treat and has a higher success rate. I know less about Dr. Beech-Shay but have used her on several occasions. We have found Kaiser is very friendly to laser treatment for port wine stains, they've covered it completely and without question for several years now. Health Net on the other hand stopped covering the laser costs, claiming it was cosmetic when there are known health-related issues to port wine stains. I hope that helps. Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions. There is a lot of info on the internet as well. Good luck! Naomi
You don't mention whether you are currently taking medication for this. If not, I would recommend seeing a dermatologist as soon as possible and getting started. It can take a couple of months to get an appointment, and months for the medication to start having its effect. I have found the medication to be quite helpful, and can even get rid of it completely in some people.I can recommend both Camilla McCalmont (El Cerrito) and Cornelia Pessoa (south Berkeley). I have no experience with lasers, etc to get rid of the after-effects, however. Janet
I was so glad to see your posting. I just found out I have rosacea and am trying to figure out what will help. FYI, the National Rosacea Society sent me a list of doctors in the area who specialize. In Berkeley/Oakland, one is not taking new patients, one won't take Healthnet/Alta Bates Medical Group but his name is Leslie Hilger 652-8091. The other one is taking appointments in August, Ervin H. Epstein 444-8282. Stefanie
I also just found out that I have a mild case of rosecea. My dermatologist recommended an antibiotic called Metrocreme (it's also available in gel form). Although evidently this doesn't work for everyone, it has worked wonders for me. My flare-ups had been very common on days when I was out in the sun even for a short while (in spite of having applied sunscreen) or in the wind, on my bike, etc. It seemed increasingly difficult to avoid flare-ups (which consisted of my cheeks beginning to tingle first, then really burn as though I'd gotten a sunburn; if the trigger wasn't removed, this flare-up also involved my eyes). About two weeks after beginning the Metrocreme, exactly the opposite is true: now I don't remember the last time that I had a major flare-up, and even minor flare-ups are very infrequent. My dermatologist, by the way, specifically recommended *against* using aloe vera, which he said can irritate the skin for many people.

He also recommended a wonderful, reasonably priced, no-nonsense suncreen/moisturizer from a company called Person & Covey (in Glendale; 800-423-2341). It used to be that I could not use moisturizer with suncreen without flaring up at least a little, particularly with higher SPF numbers. But I am able to use the #15 and #50 by this company (which specializes in products for problem skin) without any negative effects whatsoever. To find this moisturizer, you need to call the company directly. I ordered some over the phone, and it arrived with no problems or complications. Good luck!


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