Rosacea is a skin condition. It’s recognized as reddened skin, usually occurring on your cheeks and nose. Fortunately, there are many ways to treat rosacea naturally. Some of these treatments are readily available and can be applied at home.
Naturopathic remedies, or natural remedies, are popular among those suffering from chronic conditions for the reason that an individual might not want to take medications forever. Home remedies, when taken in moderation and safely, can help as a good adjunct in your rosacea treatment regime especially when there are no active flares! Let’s look through some common rosacea home remedies and evaluate if they can help – or harm.
Essential oils can be a tricky one. Their formulations are often not regulated, and you may not know the exact constituents of the oils if you are buying a mixed formulation.
- The good stuff: Plant oils such as jojoba and grapeseed oils may help to reduce inflammation in the skin. Look out for cold-pressed plant oils, because cold-pressing does not involve heat/chemical treatments, which may alter their natural compositions. Citron essential oils have a suppressive effect on inflammatory processes in rosacea.
- Watch out for: Certain types of oils high in oleic acids such as olive oil can actually cause thinning of the skin layer and more water loss. If you’re looking to use citron essential oils for your skin, always dilute them with other carrier oils instead of using them directly on skin as it can cause huge skin irritation.
Moisturisers help a lot in controlling rosacea. During rosacea flare, patients often experience problems with their skin barrier becoming thinner and more sensitive, and also dryness, burning, and scaliness.
- The good stuff: A good rosacea moisturiser should have a combination of humectants (attract/hold onto water in the skin), occlusives (forms barrier preventing water loss), and lipids (barrier repair). Look out for ingredients like caprylic/capric triglycerides, lanolin, hyaluronic acid, or ceramides.
- Watch out for: Potential irritants in moisturisers which can cause skin sensitivity. You’re looking at ingredients like acids (alpha-hydroxy acids, lactic acid), things which give ‘cooling sensations’ (menthol, camphor), or drying solutions (alcohol, witch hazel).
Did you know the Egyptian queens Nefertiti and Cleopatra used aloe vera as part of their regular beauty regime? There are papyrus writings calling aloe vera the ‘plant of immortality’; Cleopatra rubbed it on her skin daily!
- The good stuff: Both test tube and real life studies showed that aloe vera can inhibit thromboxane (an inhibitor of wound healing), improve wound healing, and reduce inflammation. If there are papules and pustules you’re dealing with, or a painful burning flare, fresh aloe vera might just bring down the pain.
- Watch out for: Aloe vera in a tub. Keep an eye out on the preservatives or other added ingredients (like alcohol) which can also trigger worsening of symptoms. Always perform a patch test first on a small area of skin before slathering your face in it!
Coconut oil is one of few natural substances that contains lauric acid. Almost 50% of medium chain fatty acids in coconut oil are 12-carbon lauric acid components called monolaurins. Monolaurins can prevent bacterial/microbial activity by disintegrating the outer fat membrane of bacteria, including bacterias or funguses which can contribute to acne.
- The good stuff: If you’re suffering from both rosacea and acne vulgaris, coconut oil could actually help prevent growth of bacteria and fungus, reducing active lesions! It also seems like coconut oil on the skin can help protect it from UV radiation, making it a great addition to your sunscreen use.
- Watch out for: Coconut oil is highly comedogenic, which means it can clog pores easily, especially if you have naturally oily skin. If oil glands become clogged, that can then make acne worse since bacteria grows in the clogged pores. Just like aloe vera, a patch test for at least a week on the same spot each night can help identify if coconut oil is suitable for your skin.
Green tea comes from the Camellia sinensis plant, which is high in polyphenols and are great antioxidants – they fight the formation of free radicals (unstable atoms that can damage cells, causing illness and ageing) in your body.
- The good stuff: When green tea extracts were used in skincare, they helped to reduce sebum/oil production. It also reduced facial redness after 6 weeks of use.
- Watch out for: It can be astringent, which can cause stinging of the face and itching.
A two-in-one… Breakfast, AND skincare? Oatmeal has a high concentration of starches and beta-glucans. This may be responsible for its protective and water-holding functions.
- The good stuff: Hydration of the skin is one of the most important factors for maintaining the integrity of the stratum corneum (skin) barrier, which is often affected in rosacea. An oatmeal mask using colloidal oatmeal – oatmeal grinded to fine grain – can help to soothe your skin barrier. (Fun fact: The FDA officially categorised colloidal oatmeal as a skin protectant in 2003!)
- Watch out for: Temporary benefits. Since you won’t be walking around with oatmeal on your face, the benefits you get from an oatmeal mask might not last for long.
Turmeric Is a herbaceous plant of the ginger family. It contains curcumin, a polyphenol just like green tea!
- The good stuff: Turmeric, when consumed, has great anti-inflammatory effects. It’s been shown to help chronic conditions that have inflammation as a main precursor of symptoms, like rosacea. A review noted that topical application showed significant improvements in skin disease – rosacea not included – although more studies are needed.
- Watch out for: Stains. Stains everywhere. If you find yourself dropping a bowl of turmeric on your white clothes or tiles, you’ll be wiping it away for months! It may also need to be combined with piperine to be more easily absorbed by your body.
More than just a pretty flower or a calming tea, chamomile has been used in skincare (popularly in Germany).
- The good stuff: Topical chamomile is comparable with 0.25% hydrocortisone and shows improvement in sodium lauryl sulphate–induced contact dermatitis.
- Watch out for: Contrastingly, reports of contact dermatitis and conjunctivitis following topical application of chamomile products have also been found. Again, a patch test is your friend whenever trying new products!
While there’s no harm in trying out rosacea home remedies safely, we understand that it can be frustrating when something doesn’t work or worse, causes a flare. If you need more prescription-strength rosacea treatment in Singapore, book an appointment with us today.