a l l  n a t u r a l  i n f o

Rosacea - A New Way for an Old Problem

 by Sharen Udell

        Greetings Ladies, I’m so excited that Sharon has asked me to write an article about a problem that I’ve been addressing with our customers almost on a daily basis.  I do marketing and PR for Monave Mineral Cosmetics.  I’ve been in the natural beauty industry for 16 years, working with leaders, such as Aveda.  Natural skincare has been a particular passion of mine and I’m always seeking new information for old problems.  Increasingly, I’m seeing both men and women with progressive Rosacea, case in point, Bill Clinton, whose doctor disclosed this fact in the New York Times.  I answer inquiries about how to control this affliction on a daily basis.

     Rosacea (pronounced roh-zay-sha) is a long term skin disorder where the blood vessels become swollen and the areas of the face become inflamed.  This disorder usually appears between the ages of 30 and 60 although younger women have become susceptible.  Women and men can develop Rosacea but more women seem to succumb to this disorder.  Symptoms are varied and include areas of redness on the cheeks, forehead, chin, nose and even eyelids and eyes.  Generally there is the appearance of small blood vessels on the nose and cheeks and in severe cases acne- like pustules.  Rosacea seems to be on the rise lately as some women thinking it’s a complexion problem dismiss it and hope it will go away.  But in reality, it will grow progressively worse.  Acne and Seborrheic Dermatitis are co- occurring skin diseases sometimes giving rise to mis-diagnosis.  If caught early this disorder can be cured but if later, it will become a lifelong problem.

     There have been numerous conjectures on the cause of this disease, none conclusive.  There is research that points to Rosacea resulting from an excessively acidic body and skin.  The ph (potential of hydrogen) scale ranges from 0-14 with 7 being neutral, anything below 7 is considered acidic and a lot of the ‘triggers’ are acidic.  These ‘triggers’ that aggravate the condition: sunlight, spicy foods, physical exercise, hot drinks, stress and alcohol, both ingested and topical.  Medical doctors also think that Rosacea is a hereditary condition.  But hereditary means that it is a genetic condition that is inherited.  If it was an inherited skin disorder, Rosacea would start from a very early age of two weeks or several years after birth.  It is a chronic (long term) disorder that affects the areas where there is a large supply of veins and arteries so there is a large accumulation of acids over the years.  My opinion is that the different toxins that are present in conventional skincare are a primary cause for Rosacea.  Before women leave the house, we put up to six hundred different toxins on our skin.  Some of the sources of these toxins are cleansers, moisturizers, toners, toothpaste, body washes, shampoos, conditioners, laundry detergents, and perfumes.

     There are several ways to ‘control’ this chronic skin condition.  One way is to use only natural skin care.  A type of toxin to avoid are the parabens.  These are used to preserve shelf life of commercial skincare and body care products.  There are three major ones to be aware of: methylparaben, ethylparaben, and propylparaben.  They are known irritants and can cause dryness and dehydration.  Due to the extended shelf life of products containing parabens, the products beneficial ingredients, such as Aloe, or other botanical extracts, no longer offer therapeutic benefits and lose any efficacy.

     Another group of chemicals severely detrimental to the human skin are lauryl/laureth sulfates.  These are sudsing agents and surfactants, both big words that mean... cleansers.  They bond to oil, and were originally designed to clean heavy duty machinery.  When used on our skin, they break down the protective barrier making the skin more alkaline.  The result is dry, irritated skin.  Our skin needs the natural oil mantle on the face.  It is what protects it from bacteria, and seals in moisture.  This in turn prevents premature aging.  These toxins should be completely avoided at all costs by Rosacea sufferers.  I will offer suggestions for alternative cleansing agents later in the article.

     Artificial fragrances are one of the worst culprits for increasing irritation in the skin.  One fragrance can contain up to 300 different chemicals.  Even natural fragrances derived directly from plants can be irritating to sensitive skin.  Look for the word ‘fragrance’ on the skin care products that you purchase.  If you see this word on the label, do not use it on your face, hands, neck or hair.  Remember, what you put in your hair in the shower washes off but may leave a residue as it passes over your face.  If the products are natural, try to avoid multiple combinations of essential oils, since these can have a synergist effect that is not beneficial to this condition.  Some mild essential oils that are beneficial to Rosacea sufferers are: Roman and Blue Chamomile, Helichrysum, Sea Buckthorn Berry and Bergamot.  Herbs like St John’s Wort and Calendula are also excellent additives.  Try to avoid facial care products that use extracts, since these are based in alcohol, which is drying.  Some natural products use the alcohol in extracts to boost their preservative system.

     Now I’d like to recommend some beneficial ingredients to look for in your cleansers and moisturizers.  Look for creamy cleansers, instead of cleansers that lather, or gel-like cleansers.  Clear gels are made from synthetic chemicals, so be reassured that a cloudy consistency in a natural cleanser is probably a positive indication.  Cleansers should contain Chamomile, Aloe Vera and Algae.  These whole, natural ingredients have a ‘cooling’ effect, and I highly recommend them to soothe inflamed skin.  They can also be used as single notes as well, not just embedded in products.

     Toners or fresheners without alcohol are also highly recommended.  Chamomile and Helichrysum hydrosols are great options, as they are very soothing to the skin.  Moisturizers and serums with Jojoba and Aloe bases are excellent for the addition of essential oils and Vitamin E.  Another natural ingredient that is very beneficial for this skin condition is Karite, known as shea butter.  Karite is a nut from West Africa that produces a rich, healing butter that has been used by African women for centuries in beauty rituals and products.  It has been known to combat the dryness from seborrheic dermatitis which occurs in 35% of rosacea patients.  Pure shea butter has a nutty aroma, and a rich, creamy appearance.  It should be a rich cream color, to a deep yellow.  If it is pure white, it is more likely than not to have been extracted with chemicals, instead of manually.  If it is off-white, it has probably been whitened with Fuller’s Earth, a natural mineral that whitens products, or is used to lighten the skin naturally.

     The makeup that you apply to your face is another source of possible irritation.  The best choice for Rosacea sufferers is mineral makeup which doesn’t contain the following ingredients (some supposed mineral makeup does, so read the labels carefully): talc, Bismuth Oxychloride, preservatives, synthetic dyes and fragrance. Talc is a cancer causing ingredient that clogs pores.  Bismuth Oxychloride is a mineral that is a by-product of lead and copper refining.  Its properties are very similar to Arsenic hence the redness and irritation which results after prolonged use.  Synthetic dyes such as FD&C colors and lakes (a solid substance that has been colored with a dye) can also be irritants to the skin.

     The inclusion of titanium dioxide and zinc oxide give excellent sunscreen capabilities and zinc oxide is an anti- inflammatory so it calms the skin down, soothing and camouflaging the flushed areas.  Without the addition of talc, mineral foundation holds in moisture which helps the skin’s dry condition.  We’ve created a line of foundations that is geared specifically for women with Rosacea, this is our concealer foundation, it has a higher zinc content.  For additional questions and help with skin care please contact us at www.monave.com .

     What you eat can cause flare ups of Rosacea.  Alcohol causes blood vessels to dilate making Rosacea more noticeable.  Hot and spicy foods should also be avoided.  Whereas eating dark green vegetables such as broccoli, asparagus and spinach are good choices.  Foods high in Vitamins A and C, beta carotene and bio-flavonoids can improve Rosacea as it strengthens capillaries and boosts the immune system.  Try foods like carrots, tomatoes, squash, and red bell peppers to name a few.  Bragg’s Apple Cider Vinegar is great when taken orally as it can stimulate the release of digestive enzymes and balance the flora in the intestines.  I hope this article has been informative and gives you a starting point to help you control this skin disorder.


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All views expressed in the articles on the "All Natural Info" page are those of the various authors, they are presented here for your enjoyment and enlightenment.  These views do not necessarily represent the views of SharAmbrosia or the "all natural beauty" website. 

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