Exploring rosacea and the root-cause

Exploring rosacea and the root-cause

Just like acne, chronic skin conditions and even the odd breakout have a root cause, so does rosacea, and anyone suffering or struggling with this red hot skin condition needs to look deeper. I always say that if your traditional dermatologist has recommended topical cream, any type of steroid, an oral antibiotic, or really any medication at all for rosacea (or any other skin condition for that matter), you should quit working with them and should look to a practitioner that can look into the root cause alongside them. When you finish this article, it will all make sense - because these recommendations often actually thin your gut lining further, leading to increased levels of damage that will only further provoke your rosacea. Once you understand that everything goes deeper than skin deep, your healing will speed up exponentially as you start to hit the root cause.

Rosacea is associated with redness or acne on the face, and there are four types (subtypes 1, 2, 3, and 4). It’s actually a chronic inflammatory skin condition that is, most of the time, found on the cheeks, chin, nose, and forehead.  

It’s thought that rosacea is multifactorial - driven by both genetics and the environment, but just because something is genetic doesn’t mean that it’s automatically going to play out in the way you think it is. You often can control which genes express themselves through your diet and lifestyle choices but, to do so, you really need to understand the root cause of what you are dealing with.

The initial root causes and drivers of rosacea that are often discussed are the risk factors of UV exposure and alcohol. Still, the root causes of rosacea go deeper to also be driven by:

An inflammatory immune response - individuals that struggle with rosacea, have been shown to have high levels of a peptide, cathelicidin, in the skin on their face. The gut-skin axis is now well understood, and overactive, exaggerated, or exacerbated immune responses can show up as inflammation in the skin, or the face.
Gut dysbiosis - rosacea has been closely connected to the microbiome. It has frequently shown up in study participants where they look at the prevalence of gastrointestinal disorders like Crohn’s, SIBO (small intestinal bacterial overgrowth), IBS, coeliac disease, and more. An imbalanced gut microbiome is likely to lead to follow on health problems, particularly in cases of leaky gut where substances will move out of the digestive tract that should be moving through it to be removed from the body. A crazy study showed that patients with rosacea were 13 x more likely to have SIBO than the control group in the study.
Microbe exposure - building on gut dysbiosis, certain microbes have now been linked to rosacea, particularly Bacillus oleronius, Staphylococcus epidermidis, Helicobacter pylori and Chlamydophila pneumoniae. If you already struggle with stomach or digestive issues, you might already have looked into H Pylori as a possible culprit, and this one is getting a lot of research air time. Something that I think is fascinating is that one study found that when H. pylori was eradicated the signs of rosacea were reduced too. It is hypothesized that inflammation in the gut (often provoked by the overgrowth of microbes that shouldn’t be there) will show up as inflammation on the face and in other areas of the body. In Chinese Medicine, the areas prone to rosacea are also linked to stomach inflammation which takes this hypothesis one step further.
Low stomach acid - now, I personally think this is one of *THE* most overlooked causes of rosacea, and the connection between low stomach acid production and rosacea is huge. Low stomach acid is really common, but so many people think that because they have heartburn or acid reflux, that they have too *much* stomach acid. The truth is that low stomach acid leads to splashing of the acid up the esophagus, which is why so many people get this wrong, Low stomach acid is so so important to manage incoming microbes into the body and to support healthy immune system functioning (so our bodies aren’t overloaded with things that aren’t supposed to be inside of the body), but stomach acid can drop to below necessary levels when you have low zinc levels, are dealing with excessive or ongoing stress, unprocessed chronic emotional trauma and even microbes that we already mentioned like H Pylori. If you’re suffering from rosacea, you have to get your stomach acid under control. It is a foundational piece of healing. Supplement with a natural version of hydrochloric acid or take digestive enzymes while you are healing. However, you shouldn’t use these in the long term as your body will become reliant on them.
Food sensitivities - cinnamaldehyde-containing foods like chocolate, tomatoes, and citrus fruits, as well as histamine-rich foods (like processed foods, processed meats, aged / old cheese & wine) are also thought to provoke a reaction in the body that can drive rosacea. A recent studyconfirmed that there is no one size fits all dietary solution or healing recommendation but that some foods are thought to be protective, including omega-3, which has been shown to be preventative against ocular rosacea.

Getting a handle on the root cause of your rosacea is a really important starting point, and as well as starting to heal your gut, I personally believe that supplementing with Vitamin D and Zinc are really important as there have been a ton of studies connecting high rates of vitamin d deficiency with rosacea, and a lesser number of studies linking low levels of zinc to rosacea too.

Alongside dietary changes, I also think it’s important to use a skincare routine that can help this condition - and this is where Agent Nateur comes in. For rosacea, I always recommend holi (c), our calcium & vitamin c duo, combined with holi (water) - our pearl and rose hyaluronic essence. One of the key benefits of using this thick, luxurious essence is that thanks to the plant extracts, precious minerals, and natural acids, it reduces the appearance of redness, as well as improving the skin’s elasticity, tightening your pores, and gently remove expired cells to reveal a hydrated, dewy glow. This is the perfect anti-inflammatory combo with the Vitamin C in the mix too. 

I also advise using our holi (bright) ‘botox in a jar’ mask. It is loaded with antioxidants, perfect for an intensely moisturizing at-home facial, and is perfect for red, irritated, or less than calm skin. This product has been revolutionary for me and has given me a radiant, luminous, glass-like ageless glow that I always had to rely on retinal for.

holi (mane) is also a really, really important recommendation too. One of our hero products, holi (mane) combines two daily powerhouse superfoods: marine collagen and pearl powder. It is so incredible for healing gut inflammation (because the amino acids glycine, glutamine, and proline in collagen help to heal leaky gut). Now we understand the connection between leaky gut and rosacea; collagen is definitely something you should consider supplementing with. If you’re in LA, make sure you swing by Erewhon to pick up your holi (mane) x erewhon smoothie.

So, understanding the root cause of rosacea is a really, really important place to start. As well as working to heal your gut, remember, you also HAVE to get control of your stomach acid challenges if you want to see any changes in your rosacea - and managing your stress while you are working through the above is also a really important thing to keep in mind.

Alcohol is an absolute no-no if you are going on this journey. There have been numerous studies on how drinking alcohol can increase your risk of rosacea, and a journal from the American Academy of Dermatology actually concluded that “women who drank alcohol had a higher risk of developing rosacea than the women who didn’t drink”. So, if you’re on this journey, you need to cut out the inflammatory alcohol that will be not only driving your rosacea but also driving inflammation in your gut and preventing the healing of your leaky gut. 

Pairing your gut-healing journey with targeted therapies can help too. Laser genesis is the best treatment for rosacea, in my opinion. Lasers stimulate collagen production and new skin growth. They can also help with fine lines and wrinkles, but, most importantly, the lasers work to close the tiny capillaries that cause the redness of rosacea. This therapy can help constrict the blood vessels, so this will help if you are suffering.

Pair this knowledge, dietary changes, and therapies with an upgraded skincare routine. I always recommend my holi (oil)face oil thanks to the beautiful Organic Helichrysum in the formulation that helps to treat rosacea and acne. The Agent Nateur Vitamin C & calcium dry powder duo is also a great formula for helping with rosacea, redness, and inflammation. Mix this with the dreamy holi (water), and you can help to cool and calm red and inflamed skin.

My new product, holi (lift), is launching in December, and I am beyond excited! holi (lift) is a lifting serum that we have been formulating this year with 12 patented actives as well as AHA is also going to be perfect for targeting rosacea and redness (as well as dry, dehydrated skin, and the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles, and sagging skin).

I hope you find this helpful. Also, please let me know if you suffer from rosacea and have anything to add to this. And finally, remember - everything goes deeper than you initially think. 

Love Jena x