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Rosacea

The chronic skin condition scientifically known as acne rosacea, and at present more correctly called rosacea, affects the skin in the regions of the chin, the nose, the cheeks and the forehead. Rosacea is characterized by the formation of pustules on the face that resemble acne, these are formed when the face becomes flushed slowly turning a red color from the dilating blood capillaries in the face. Fair skinned and middle aged adults are the demographic group that is usually affected by rosacea. There is a genetic basis for the occurrence of rosacea in certain individuals, however; the exact cause of the condition has not been identified. Untreated and severe conditions of rosacea can disfigure the face and has an extremely bad aesthetic implication.

Blemishes resembling acne form around the skin at the center of the face, typically on or in the regions of the skin surrounding the nose, these becomes red and swollen. The nose may become enlarged and there is inflammation in parts of the eye as the condition progresses over time.

Though alcohol is not one of the causes of the condition, the consumption of alcoholic drinks can increase the reddening of the skin already affected by rosacea; the alcohol can aggravate the condition in the affected individual. Though no controlled and closed research has confirmed the suggestion, many individuals have claimed that the consumption of spicy foods and hot drinks by people afflicted with rosacea causes flare-ups in the symptoms of the condition. However, these claims may yet be validated as a small, preliminary report suggests that periods of controlled fasting followed by the consumption of a vegan diet, that includes no animal products, nor dairy products, nor eggs has small and inconsistent effects on the manifestations of the condition in an affected individual.

It is recommended that certain conditions be avoided by a person afflicted with rosacea; these are an overexposure to sunlight, to mental and emotional stress, over exertion and excessive exercise, and extreme in temperatures and weather conditions. Even bathing has been known to cause flare ups in the condition of rosacea.

Supplements and herbs

The treatment of rosacea is usually carried out through the topical use of the cream of azelaic acid, this acid is found naturally as a constituent in whole grains like wheat, rye, and barley, the cream is normally used at 20% strength for all external treatments. Rosacea as well as mild to moderate conditions of acne has been shown to be treatable through the use of this substance during controlled clinical trials. The direction and the supervision of a physician are required in all cases, as the azelaic acid cream is classed as a prescription substance.

Oral supplementation or injections of the B vitamins have also been shown to be effective in dealing with rosacea according to preliminary reports that came out in the 1940s. However, these reports are to be followed with caution as it has actually been shown in a patient that rosacea-like symptoms appeared when the patient took 100 mg of vitamin B6 and 100 mcg of vitamin B12 every day. This surprising effect occurred during a study on a single patient, on the discontinuation of the supplementation with the vitamins, these symptoms subsided and eventually disappeared. Thus as far as the use of the B vitamins during cases of rosacea is concerned, a lot depends on further research in the use of these vitamins as supplements as the potential hazards and more importantly-the benefits are still unidentified.

Other conditions such as the inadequate production of gastric acid have also been reported in certain patients afflicted with rosacea. In such cases, and particularly in people with low gastric acid problems a supplementation of HCL-hydrochloric acid along with B complex vitamins in a preliminary trial, substantially aided in the recovery of the patient and raised the levels of acid in the stomach. Related to this situation is the condition where, people with rosacea have been shown to have a lowered level of pancreatic lipase in a controlled study, in all cases, the situation was improved after some supplementation with pancreatic digestive enzymes; these are however just reports and may have no basis in reality and the real connection between lowered pancreatic lipase levels and rosacea has yet to be verified. The effect of hydrochloric acid and digestive enzymes in controlled trials on the condition is still unknown and must be carried out to see what these induce in the patient. A doctor must always be on hand to supervise the use of hydrochloric acid supplements in patients afflicted by rosacea.

People afflicted with the mild form of rosacea can be treated effectively through the use of a topical preparation of retinaldehyde-which is a form of vitamin A that is usually prescribed by physicians. The use of this retinaldehyde cream 0.05% once a day during six months in a small, preliminary trial carried out on women with rosacea showed some positive results in the condition of the women. During six months of the continuous supplementation, blood vessel abnormalities showed a good response and improved appreciably in approximately half the patients, while the inflammation subsided in many of the patients. These positive effects of the substance still have to be verified through controlled research on patients. A supervising physician must always be present when the retinaldehyde cream is being used for the treatment of rosacea and also because the substance is normally available by prescription only.

All types of skin conditions have been traditionally and historically treated though the use of tonic herbs; examples are herbs such as the burdock. When these herbs are consumed it is believed that they can achieve a cleansing action physiologically within the body of the affected individual. Dosages of the burdock root in tincture form may be 2 to 4 ml of the liquid every day during the treatment regimen or as long as necessary. Burdock can also be taken in the form of dried root preparations that come in a capsule or tablet form and these can be consumed at 1 to 2 grams thrice a day during the duration of the treatment period. The burdock root is also often combined in herbal preparations with other herbs, such as the red clover herb and the yellow dock herb, and cleavers for use during the treatment of rosacea and other skin conditions. No scientific research has as yet been undertaken as to the potential benefits these herbs might have in the treatment of acne rosacea in patients to date.

Vitamin C strengthens the membranes that line the blood vessels and the connective tissue between skin cells. Vitamin C also minimizes the release of histamine, a chemical that widens vessels of the blood in response to an allergic substance. The mineral zinc helps heal the top layer of the skin (epidermis) and regulates blood levels of vitamin A. (Add copper for long-term use.) And the fatty acids in evening primrose oil and flaxseed oil reduce inflammation, control the cell's use of nutrients, and produce hormone like substances called prostaglandins ( which stimulate contraction of blood vessels).

Additional things you may do

When outside, use a sunscreen with an SPF of a minimum 15. After washing, never rub your face dry, gently blot instead. Use greaseless, fragrance-free facial cleansers and makeup.

Usual dosage

  • Vitamin A, 25,000 IU daily for 8 weeks, then 10,000 IU daily. Do not exceed 5,000 IU daily, if you are pregnant or consider pregnancy.
  • Vitamin B12, 1,000 mcg daily in addition to B complex.
  • Vitamin B complex, one pill every morning with meal, (B-50 complex with 400 mcg folic acid; 50 mcg vitamin B12 and biotin; and 50 mg all other B vitamins).
  • Vitamin C, 1,000 mg thrice daily. If diarrhea develops, reduce the dose.
  • Copper / Zinc, 2 mg copper and 30 mg zinc daily.
  • Riboflavin (vitamin B2), 50 mg daily in addition to B complex.
  • Fatty acids, 1,000 mg of oil of evening primrose thrice daily; 14 g (1 tbsp) of flaxseed oil daily. Primrose oil can be substituted with 1,000 mg of borage oil daily.

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