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Elimination Diet and Home Remedies for Rosacea

Eliminating trigger foods can help relieve the redness of rosacea for some. Others benefit from inexpensive home remedies that are surprisingly simple.
Elimination Diet and Home Remedies for Rosacea
A bottle of Selsun Blue dandruff shampoo

Dietary Changes Made a Difference

Q. I was diagnosed with menopause-onset rosacea. For more than a year, the area around my nose, mouth and chin looked like I had been in a fire. It was raw and inflamed, with welts, peeling and crusting.

Nothing seemed to help. Finally I tried an elimination diet and discovered that canola oil and, oddly enough, Greek yogurt were the culprits.

I avoid these items now, and for the most part the rosacea is under control. Please suggest your readers try an elimination diet, starting with overly processed oils.

A. Thanks for the suggestion. We have heard from others that diet can sometimes make a difference. One reader reported:

“I suffered from rosacea for five years. The Metrogel I used didn’t do much.

“In 2007 I was diagnosed with celiac disease and switched to a gluten-free diet. My rosacea cleared up within six months and stayed away. I haven’t needed the Metrogel since. Not everyone with rosacea will benefit from a gluten-free diet, but it is worth mentioning, as gluten causes an inflammatory response in susceptible individuals.”

We also heard from a holistic physician who cited decades-old studies showing that many rosacea patients have inadequate stomach acid. He has had success advising patients to take pepsin and betaine hydrochloride with meals.

Home Remedies for Rosacea

We have been collecting home remedies for rosacea for years. Since doctors are not completely sure what causes this red and inflamed skin condition, it seems worth trying some inexpensive approaches before bringing out pricey prescription medications that have a disappointingly modest report card.

Dandruff Shampoo

A surprising number of people tell us that the original formula Selsun Blue dandruff shampoo is quite effective. The active ingredient, selenium sulfide, has anti-fungal activity and may also eradicate tiny mites that live on the skin that can trigger inflammation. People apply the suds to their face during a shower and then rinse.

Clare:

“I started using Selsun Blue over one year ago, and I have had no flare ups.”

KVS:

“I have also been using the dandruff shampoo for my rosacea. It does work great and costs pennies! Prescription drugs from a dermatologists did nothing. I stopped using them and one day put a little dandruff shampoo on my face when I was washing my hair – what a nice surprise and so easy!”

Listerine

SEM:

“Listerine (or similar generic) also works on rosacea after the rosacea is brought under control with metronidazole. Just wash the face lightly with the Listerine and let it dry. Then metronidazole is only needed occasionally when flare-ups occur. The Listerine is an antimicrobial.

“Listerine will dry the face, so occasionally a light coating of lotion or cream is needed. I have been doing this for about a year and normally it’s hard to tell I even have rosacea.”

Milk of Magnesia

MP:

“I have also found dandruff shampoo to be helpful. Another thing I have had success with is Original Phillip’s Milk Of Magnesia. I dab it on at night. It really keeps the redness down even better than prescription.”

KPW:

“Milk of Magnesia is FANTASTIC for rosacea, and it does a pretty good job on eczema. I use a cotton pad and dab it on affected areas morning and night. Let it dry, then apply whatever lotion or moisturizer you normally use. The moisturizer/lotion will make the white residue from the MoM disappear.”

One mother shared that milk of magnesia (MoM) also works for “regular” acne as well as acne rosacea.

“My daughter’s skin cleared up after she started using milk of magnesia topically, and I was convinced that it worked when her only occasional breakouts were all along the edges of where she applied it – her hairline and around her lips. She ran out of MoM while I was out of town and now we have proof – her forehead completely broke out before we got to the store for more!

“Her skin with MoM is so smooth that her friends ask her what she uses. They have all tried expensive treatments like Proactive without the results she gets from MoM.”

Tea Tree Oil (TTO) plus Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO)

Anna:

“I have or had the worst Rosacea. I had lots of sores and redness. I didn’t even want to go outside.

“I started a routine of washing my face with a Tea Tree Oil face soap then I followed up with my own mix of TTO in extra virgin olive oil. It took about a week and my skin is very clear.

“During this time I started drinking a good B Complex drink and I think that helped also.

“When I make my own TTO+EVOO mix I just take a small bottle with a lid. I put about 10 drops of TTO to about 1/4 cup EVOO. Shake each time before use. Apply lightly to your face after you washed with the TTO facial soap. Pat off any excess oil on the face.

“Do this twice a day.”

One word of caution. Some people are highly sensitive to tea tree oil and break out in a rash or develop an allergic skin reaction. Before trying this approach test a tiny spot on your forearm for a few days to see if you react badly to this approach.

Calendula Cream

Mary:

“I tried Calendula cream based on the comment of one of your readers. It really did help to reduce the redness and it was easy to apply makeup over it.”

The person Mary is referring to reported that a cream containing an herbal blend with mostly calendula helped her rosacea: “In two weeks the rosacea had gotten much better and I can honestly say that it has cured the long-term problem.”

More Diet Suggestions:

Miranda:

“I have had rosacea for seven years. I first identified my food related triggers. I used a diary for that.

“Then I started taking supplements: 100mg lysine, 100 mg vitamin C, plus zinc, and omega 3 fish oil. This has worked miracles for me! My rosacea is gone for 95% now!

“I recommend anyone to start by identifying the food related triggers. It will help you clear your skin!”

No one approach works for everyone. Home remedies for rosacea are not the answer for all. Some people really do benefit from prescription medications.

Share your own rosacea story below and please vote on this article at the top of the page.

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About the Author
Joe Graedon is a pharmacologist who has dedicated his career to making drug information understandable to consumers. His best-selling book, The People’s Pharmacy, was published in 1976 and led to a syndicated newspaper column, syndicated public radio show and web site. In 2006, Long Island University awarded him an honorary doctorate as “one of the country's leading drug experts for the consumer.” .
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