Is Rosacea acne?

Rosacea, pronounced roz-ay-sha, is a chronic benign inflammatory skin disorder. It usually occurs in middle age or later (30’s – 50’s), occurs in women three times more often than men but is more severe in men, and typically seen on the flushing or blushing part of the face (cheeks, nose, forehead or chin) but can show up on the trunk of the body or the limbs.

Rosacea is characterized by an abnormal redness (erythema) noted over the nose and cheeks and occasionally on the chin, or as stated above over the flushing areas of the face. This redness can be aggravated by blushing causing the small blood vessels in the face to enlarge and become more visible like red lines, these are called telangiectasias. Along with this redness there can be acne form eruptions (red bumps) consisting of papules (red raised round firm eruptions), pustules, and seborrhea (a condition where the sebaceous glands are over producing secretions). Sometimes seen in rosacea and primarily in men, is the enlarging or bulbous nose called rhinophyma. This is where the tissue of the nose has enlarged (hypertrophied). Some famous people with this condition especially the rhinophyma are W. C. Fields and Bill Clinton.

The actual cause of rosacea is unknown. It more commonly occurs in people with fair complexions particularly those of English, Irish and Scottish descent. The following are some commonly listed suspects in rosacea cases: alcoholism, menopausal hot flashes, vasomotor neurosis (easy to flush/blush), seborrheic skin conditions, certain drugs such as steroids, certain infections, B vitamin deficiency, Gastrointestinal disorders, sun damaged skin, and exercise. Heredity has also been seen as a possible component because rosacea is noted among close relatives.

Seborrhea has been noted in most cases and migraine headaches are three times more common in patients with rosacea.

There are two specific infections that have been seen in rosacea. Some cases of a mite called Dermodex folliculum, which is found in the hair follicle, and Helicobacter pylori, which is associated with stomach ulcers, have been reported.

The western medical treatment approach is: Avoid known aggravators such as foods, alcohol, sun and certain drugs that dilate blood vessels including some blood pressure medications and steroids; antibiotic treatment either by mouth and/or topically, these tend to be used long term due to increased risk of recurrent rosacea when they are stopped; and surgery by laser or electro surgery on the blood vessels.

Naturopathicly the primary therapeutic goals are to improve digestion, decrease sebum production, treat B vitamin deficiencies, clear allergies and educate patients on substances that are or can be aggravators.

Several studies in notable medical journals reported that hypochlorhydria has been consistently present in rosacea patients. Hypochlorhydria is reduced hydrochloric acid production, which is the primary digestive enzyme in the stomach. It is effected by psychological factors such as worry, depression, and stress not to mention age and diet. Lipase, an enzyme which breaks down fats, was also found to be deficient. When rosacea patients were supplemented with hydrochloric acid and lipase marked improvement was seen in most cases.

In another connection, hypochlorhydria was found to be present in over 50 percent of patients that had H. pylori infections in their stomachs; in 43 percent of patients with other types of inflammatory diseases and in 35 percent of patients without inflammatory diseases. However, it was noted that in 20 percent of patients where H. pylori was found in tissue samples their blood tests were negative for it.

The B vitamin most commonly cited as a key factor is B2 or riboflavin. When B2 is deficient it was found that the skin mite mentioned earlier was able to more readily infect the skin. B6 (pyridoxine) and B12 (cobalamine) have also been beneficial in the treatment of rosacea.

Here are some ways you can start helping yourself if you have been diagnosed or suspect you have rosacea. Start avoiding coffee and other hot beverages, reduce or avoid alcohol, avoid spicy foods and other foods and drink that you have discovered cause you to flush or blush. Remember flushing (vasomotor neurosis) was listed as a common cause and aggravator of rosacea.

Next eliminate refined and /or concentrated sugars, foods containing trans-fatty acids such as milk, milk products, margarine, shortening and other synthetically hydrogenated vegetable oils, not just your French fries.

Iodine has also been reported to aggravate rosacea. When iodine is ingested in excess it is secreted through the skin’s pores causing irritation and in turn aggravating rosacea. Iodine is very important to the body but can be consumed in excess. Sources of iodine other than supplementation are iodized salt, margarine, egg yolks, seafood, and prepared meats, condiments such as ketchup and mustard, bakery products, and chocolate. Make sure you are working with a knowledgeable health care provider when taking iodine supplementation.

Nutritional supplementation should be recommended and monitored by a knowledgeable health care provider. You could cause an aggravation for instance by taking large doses of a B complex due to the niacin content. Niacin is important but it causes flushing in certain forms. Adding hydrochloric acid and pancreatin/lipase are essential but need to be given at different times during the meal for best effects.

Naturopathic medicine provides herbal treatments for H. pylori that are as effective as antibiotics without the side effects and should be recommended by a knowledgeable provider.

I utilize a treatment method called Nambudripad Allergy Elimination Technique to clear allergies of all kinds without the use of drugs or injections.

In most studies reviewed typical over-the-counter acne treatments did not help rosacea and in some cases aggravated it.

Last but not least, menopausal hot flashes can be effectively controlled by any number of herbal preparations or bio-identical hormone replacement therapy. These are best recommended and monitored by a knowledgeable health care provider.

Rosacea is considered an incurable chronic inflammatory skin condition. It is fairly common with reports of at least 16 million cases in the USA as of 2010 and approximately 45 million worldwide. It can range from mild to severe with many people not even aware they have the condition. Often people just assume they blush easily. Rosacea is treatable.

The original article is at: greatfallstribune.com

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