Could my rosacea be an autoimmune disease?
What is rosacea?
Many of us have seen this red-cheeked, inflammatory skin condition but may not have known it was called rosacea. The skin condition creates chronic redness. It is usually on the facial areas—cheeks, chin, and sometimes other places. It typically affects women and those with fair skin. Women are three times more afflicted with rosacea than men.
Some people have it worse over time due to alcohol drinking and overly sensitive nervous systems—causing the face to become flushed more often, creating the redness from the blood vessels. Rosacea can also be caused by bumps that are tiny and pus-filled over the overactive blood vessel is which causes it to be red.
Is the condition autoimmune?
In recent years, patients online have started to think the skin condition is an autoimmune disease. Clinical information shows that it is clearly linked to those who have certain autoimmune diseases but not necessarily an autoimmune disease.
- While it can affect anyone, usually the person has fair skin and is middle aged
- Affect women more than men
- Can be from hormones
- Can be from alcoholism or food allergies
- High BP can increase chances of developing it
- Can be mild to severe inflammation and caused by bacteria or mites
Main symptoms of rosacea:
- Red cheeks
- Red chin area
- Areas around nose red and inflamed (can look similar to acne sometimes)
- Swollen bumps
- Bumps are usually tiny in blood vessel areas (some kinds of the condition just cause chronic redness due to blood vessels; they are not always are the tiny pus-filled bumps present)
- Larger blood vessels are seen on the face
- Cheek areas affected most
- Face might be hot feeling
- Face could be painful and very irritated
Treatments best for rosacea
If you have a more severe form of the condition it can be treated with different a variety of natural health supplements such as vitamins, minerals, amino acids and herbals. Try natural ways to lower inflammation, health skin, boost immune system and rid of infections and fungus in the body.
- Lavender (Anti-inflammatory and calming for anxiety/nervous system)
- Lemon Balm (Anti-anxiety and antioxidant)
- Green tea (Anti-inflammation and antioxidant)
- Caprylic acid (Anti-fungal)
- Vitamin C (Immune system, high-powered antioxidant skin health)
- Probiotics (Healthy gut flora)
- B complex (Skin improvement and nervous system)
- Magnesium (Improvement of high blood pressure, skin health)
- Golden seal (Herbal antibiotic)
- Echinacea (Herbal antibiotic)
- Walnut hull extract (High powered antibiotic, anti-parasitical, and anti-fungal)
Then, if you need more assistance, you can always try the western medicine way and your dermatologist and prescribe: antibiotics, anti-acne medications, anti-fungal creams or oral medications, blood pressure and anxiety medications also. Anti-acne medications can take several weeks to start helping. Antibiotics can start helping within days but can have lots of side effects. Always be sure to report side effects immediately. Always take probiotics each day a few hours after an antibiotic.
Antibiotics and Anti-acne medications can be prescribed for rosacea:
- Minocycline (Antibiotic)
- Doxycycline (Antibiotic)
- Erythromycin (Antibiotic)
- Clarithromycin (Antibiotic)
- Clindamycin (Antibiotic)
- Azelaic acid (Anti-acne)
- Metronidazole (Anti-acne)
- Ivermectin (Treats parasitical infections in animals; works for a variety of health and skin conditions; used for acne and other conditions; rosacea)
Fungal medications, blood pressure, mental health issues and other issues to address
Fungal medications have sometimes been used to treat severe forms of rosacea. Usually only in topical form however, fluconazole or diflucan (brand name) oral medication can be used for short periods of time. Oral anti-fungals are very harsh medications and wipe out all good and bad flora in the gut.
Blood pressure medications and anxiety medications can also assist with rosacea. Typically, blood pressure medications are only for people with high pulse or high pressure, however, in smaller doses they could help with anxiety issues. Those who suffer from severe anxiety issues could benefit from anxiety medications or supplements to help improve mental health. These can also lower chances of getting flushed when having a fight or flight reaction (panic) or other kinds of anxiety that could cause a rosacea flare.
Remember, there are different kinds of rosacea. Improving mental health and immune system are critical for many people with the condition—especially with an anxiety component causing chronic flushing.
Having optimal immune system is imperative for reducing rosacea symptoms
Your immune system health is important for everything functioning well in the body and for improving your rosacea. If your immune system is weak, you are more susceptible to infections, inflammation, organ problems, skin issues and much more. Taking probiotics to improve gut health is essential. Consuming vitamin C and taking a supplement for ridding over fungal overgrowth like caprylic acid can dramatically help.
Always being on top of your gut health is critical to immune health and wellness. When gut flora (good and bad bacteria in your GI tract) isn’t balanced it can be the cause of:
- Poor skin health
- Mental health issues
- Chronic infections
- Chronic inflammation
- Chronic fungal infections
- Autoimmune diseases
- Digestive ailments
Genes and autoimmune issues can create more susceptibility to rosacea
If you suffer from poor skin health and have been diagnosed with rosacea, you should know that it is a condition brought on by having a variety of issues in the body however, does tend to stem from gut health issues like a variety of skin conditions. It also has been noted, due to clinical trial information, when a person has a copy of the minor allele (T) they tend to have more severe symptoms of rosacea.
Based on studies also, those that have certain autoimmune diseases like (diabetes type 1 and GI health chronic conditions such as celiac) also are more susceptible to having rosacea. The condition hasn’t been directly called an autoimmune disease, though many folks on the internet today claim it is. The immune system of course plays a major role and it is already known that having autoimmune diseases can make you develop the skin condition because immune cells are involved in inflammation response.
One reason people may have started referring to the skin condition as an autoimmune disease is because when inflammation begins it ignites the oil glands in the body
Improving immune health is crucial for skin wellness
Rosacea can be problematic for many people. With most skin conditions gut health is important. Because rosacea is just below the skin surface and involves blood vessels and can be bacterial to some degree (not the alcohol induced kind of rosacea and general flushing issue) – it needs typically a multi-pronged approach. It needs antibiotics, sometimes an anti-fungal, and other items to boost immune system function and address overall skin health and lower inflammation—magnesium, B complex, quercetin, vitamin C and others.
Help calm your rosacea and remember to:
- Increase daily water intake (6-8 glasses a day)
- Sleep no less than 7 hours
- Probiotic daily (At least a 30 billion count capsule; taking more could help skin conditions; talk to an integrative doctor or a gastroenterologist for dosing and brands that are best)
- Use sunscreen when outside a lot (Even on cloudy days you can get burned)
- Reduce or eliminate dairy and too much sugar
- Consume fruits and vegetables (Helps boost immune system and increase vitamin C and B vitamins)
- Consume foods high in quercetin
- Reduce stress
Take a closer look at your health
While the condition is stemming from other issues for most people suffering with rosacea, look more closely at blood work. Always have your doctor check different vitamin and mineral levels, inflammatory issues through the body (C-reactive protein; IgG and other immune markers; genes) and more.
Anything bothering you should be looked at further as these signs and symptoms could be an underlying autoimmune issues causing or contributing to your rosacea.
While you can tackle rosacea with creams and oral prescriptions and supplements, many times the skin condition just like several other skin conditions may greatly improve once the root cause is addressed. Especially if you rosacea symptoms are more severe—something else is contributing to the condition. Understanding your health from all angles is imperative for the diagnosis process.
Health professionals who can address components of rosacea:
- Gastroenterologist / Immunologist
- Integrative or alternative medicine doctor
- Clinical counselor LCPC or a Psychiatrist