A bottle of Selsun Blue dandruff shampoo, under-breast rash with 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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  1. mary
    Reply

    So grateful for al these helps for sure, but when will the root cause be found?
    Does Rosacea fall into the unbelievable epidemic of the increases in auto immune diseases now prevalent? GMOs, toxic substances everywhere?
    If so is gut healing what is necessary?
    I have noticed that ”some” types of probiotics ‘help’ , but not all and not consistently leading me to believe it originates in the gut.
    Has no one discovered the actual reason and how to address the actual root cause?
    Thank you

  2. anettee
    usa
    Reply

    Makes my skin very smooth, and does wonders for my rosacea. I am huge surprised and most likely would order again dermalmd products.

  3. Edna C
    North Carolina
    Reply

    It seems that everything that I used in prescription medications they would burn and sting and also itch and break out more. All of these are expensive $200.00 to $350.00 without insurance. The Dr. finally told me to use Vaseline. I am some better but still working on a cure. I will try selsum blue and milk of magnesia to see what that does. Good luck and I wish I could be more help.

  4. Margaret
    Wisconsin, USA
    Reply

    I have tried many of the “prescriptions” mentioned above with little or negative results. Am now using honey as a face mask in the evening and that is relieving the pimple issue. Honey has anti-bacterial properties as far as I know, and since the pimples tend to hurt, I am happy for the relief. Am hoping that someday there will be a solution to the general redness.

  5. Evelyn
    Noblesville, IN
    Reply

    Metrogel stopped the flushing on my face, but not pimples. Even a gluten free diet didn’t quite clear it up. I finally started using grapeseed oil instead of all lotions. I scrub my face with baking soda and follow up with grapeseed oil. It’s been over a year now with no rosacea!

  6. Bettye
    Houston
    Reply

    Metrogel worked for years. I tried Milk of Magnesia and it seemed to do well. Also, Selsun Blue, but I thought I read that it is high in aluminum, which I try to avoid. Somehow, I seem to be doing well right now with no medication at all. Joy.

  7. Gerry
    Florida
    Reply

    Acne/allergy problems
    I had adult acne for 20 years after moving from So.Florida to Atlanta at age 25 where I suffered hay fever and other allergies; acne to the point of skin erupting constantly, painfully, and very ugly pustules on most of my face.
    At age 40, I met a lady who suggested I see her skin doc in Atlanta, which I did. He put me on Bronson Labs Vitamin A palmitate with instructions to take several pills each day for several weeks, then cut back. I did this and the acne cleared up. It has not been back (age 78 now), but once in a while if I eat too much of acidic foods (citrus, tomatoes) I’ll get a small eruption. Still take one every morning.
    I was diagnosed in year 2000 with angioedema (tongue swelling to a life threatening point), doctor put me on benedryl, zyrtec and zantac, one of each to be taken every night.
    Since then I have no problems but occasionally if I eat processed meats (ham, sausage with citrites) or Chinese food (msg) I have sensation of throat closing; benedryl immediately cracked between teeth to let powder spread over and under tongue takes care of it.
    As a side benefit, I am no longer allergic to my daughter’s cats; I used to have to get up in the middle of the night and leave to return home.
    At one point I found on the New Zealand Public Health site lists of all high salicylate foods, basically an elimination diet as this reader indicates, of a very strict type. This is what I have followed now for 15 years.

  8. Jan Shelden
    Reply

    As I’ve written before, be VERY careful using MetroGel- it has given me life-long cold sores- terrible ones that last 3 weeks. If I miss one day of taking 500 mg. Lysine, a cold sore will start to tingle- I take 2 and it goes away. I have tried MoM on things and it flakes all over so drying it and using a cream makes sense. My dad’s turned into cancer so I’m careful about mine.

  9. Polly Beasley
    Tulsa
    Reply

    My husband had rosasea for years and had been to more than one dermatologist for creams and other treatments. Nothing seemed to help much. Then one day he ran out of his shampoo and started using mine. He has always used a dandruff shampoo. I noticed after a couple of days of him using my shampoo that his cheeks were not their normal bright red. I suggested maybe his rosasea was caused by the dandruff shampoo’s active ingredient. He quit using the dandruff shampoo totally and his rosasea went away. No dermatologist had ever asked about what shampoo he used. I wonder how many rosasea sufferers out there could switch shampoos and be cured! Easy fix!

    • Polly Beasley
      Reply

      Just to clarify, my husband’s dandruff shampoo was the kind with zinc pyrithione. I realize this ingredient helps most people control their dandruff and other issues caused by oily skin but in my husband’s case, it seemed to be what caused his rosasea.

  10. Monica
    Richmond VA
    Reply

    1 T Bragg’s Apple Cider Vinegar twice a day in 4-6 oz of water along with 3 tablets of Hawaiian Spirulina 1x a day cleared up my Rosacea a few months ago. I now drink the vinegar in water 1x a day at night before bed and take the Spirulina daily–no more Rosacea!

  11. Debbie
    Greensboro, NC
    Reply

    My sister and mother both have identified yogurt as a trigger for their rosacea flare-ups.

  12. Larry
    Fletcher, NC
    Reply

    Years ago a dermatologist prescribed minocycline 50 mg twice a day saying that there was no cure for rosacea. I have been using L-lysine 1 tablet twice daily for over two years and have been rosacea free for over one year without using minocycline.

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