Rosacea and essential oils can be, if they are properly applied, excellent allies to help soothe rosacea symptoms.
Since a cure for rosacea has not yet been found, there are several ways to lessen its symptoms. In this post we want to share some inquiries from documented scientific studies on the incidence of some essential oils to reduce the discomfort and symptoms of rosacea.
But, what is Rosacea?
Briefly, rosacea is a chronic topical condition that mainly affects the central part of the face. This can develop in different ways and at any age, although it is more common after 30 years of age.
Rosacea usually begins with symptoms of redness of the cheeks, nose, chin or forehead; which can present outbreaks and remissions. These symptoms may come and go, so they require constant dermatological supervision to lessen its development.
Occasionally, rosacea also happen on the neck, chest, scalp or ears.
Some studies showed that redness tends to become more intense and persistent over time, and visible blood vessels may appear.
When rosacea is severe and not adequately treated, inflammatory bumps, pimples, and lesions as pustules and papules can appear. In extreme cases, particularly in men, the nose can swell from excess tissue, which is a condition called rhinophyma.
On the other hand, in about 50 percent of patients, the eyes are also affected, feel irritated, and appear watery or bloodshot.
Who is most likely to suffer from Rosacea?
Although this condition can affect anyone and all skin types, it is believed that people with fair skin, who tend to flush or blush easily, are more likely to suffer from rosacea.
Despite the diagnosis of developing rosacea mostly affects women, it tends to be more severe in men. There is also evidence that this condition is inheritable, and may be especially prevalent in people of northern or eastern European descent.
What is the cure for Rosacea?
As we mentioned, the cure for rosacea is currently unknown, as well as the cause. However, its signs and symptoms are well known, which helps keep rosacea under control with medical therapy and some lifestyle changes.
It is recommended for those people who suspect that they may suffer from rosacea to see a qualified doctor for proper diagnosis and treatment. In this way, the aggressive and intrusive development of this condition could be reduced.
Why does Rosacea occur?
Excluding well-known neurovascular and immune system factors, it has been concluded that the microscopic mite Demodex folliculorum could be a potential contributor to rosacea.
This mite is a natural host of human skin, however, it has been noted that its presence is more abundant than normal on the facial skin of patients with rosacea.
Additionally, studies showed two genetic variants of the human genome that could be related to rosacea.
Another possible cause, according to recent research, including a multitude of studies supported by the National Rosacea Society (NRS), is that rosacea could be the result of systemic inflammation, since associations have been found between this condition and the increased risk of a growth of potentially acute systemic diseases.
Although the associated causality is not completely clear, they include diseases such as: cardiovascular, gastrointestinal, neurological, autoimmune, and some types of cancer.
What are the signs and symptoms of Rosacea?
Although for each person rosacea may manifest differently, there are signs and symptoms that will help diagnose this condition. This will require at least one diagnostic symptom or two of the major signs of rosacea, according to experts in the field.
There are also several signs and symptoms of a secondary nature, but these are not enough to confirm a diagnosis.
Diagnostic Signs of Rosacea
- Persistent Redness
- Skin Thickening
Major Signs of Rosacea
- Bumps and Pimples (acne-like)
- Visible Blood Vessels
- Irritated, bloodshot, watery eyes
Secondary Signs and Symptoms
- Burning or Stinging
Extra care to reduce Rosacea symptoms
It is important to take some additional lifestyle actions and environmental changes to help ease rosacea symptoms and discomfort. For example, avoiding trigger foods and beverages such as:
- Sour cream
- Cheese (except cottage cheese)
- Soy sauce
- Yeast extract (bread is ok)
- Broad-leaf beans and pods, including lima, navy or pea
- Citrus fruits, including tomatoes, bananas, red plums, raisins or figs
- Spicy and thermally hot foods
- Foods high in histamine
- Alcohol, especially red wine, beer, bourbon, gin, vodka or champagne
- Hot drinks, including hot cider, hot chocolate, coffee or tea
Other factors to consider in order to mitigate the symptoms of rosacea are:
- Saunas and hot baths
- Exposure to simple overheating, excessively warm environments, sun, strong winds, cold and humidity
- Some medicines such as vasodilators and topical steroids.
- Cosmetics and hair sprays with alcohol contain, witch hazel or acetone substances. Also, some synthetic fragrances and some essential oils.
- Chronic cough
- Frequent flushing
- Caffeine withdrawal syndrome
- Anxiety and stress
- Some types of physical exercises
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How can aromatherapy through essential oils help alleviate rosacea symptoms?
Essential oils are a natural holistic alternative to help relieve symptoms of rosacea topically. Also, these can support an emotional level, since, in certain cases, rosacea can also affect the individual’s self-esteem.
Topically, aromatherapy calms and reduces inflammation, irritation, and soothes vasoconstriction of blood vessels to keep rosacea symptoms at bay as much as possible.
On the other hand, it will alleviate anxiety and stress, and help with low self-esteem. Essential oils can be used via inhalation, body massage (avoiding facial area), and cool / warm baths during remission phases.
What essential oils are compatible with sensitive rosacea skin?
Because rosacea is an extremely sensitive skin condition, products for this skin type must be chosen carefully so as not to worsen the symptoms.
For example, it is very important to avoid all skin products containing alcohol, soap (consider using jojoba oil or baby castille soap with jojoba and tamanu added into it), and never exfoliate rosacea skin. In addition, always pay attention to how the skin reacts to different new products such as lotions, makeup, soaps, etc.
When choosing essential oils, double caution will be taken due to their nature. Mainly, consider oils that contain anti-inflammatory, astringent and refreshing properties, avoiding those that can irritate the skin.
Another important factor to consider is the potency of dilution for Rosacea:
- Dilution rates during exacerbation/acute phase: 1% dilution = 6 drops per ounce.
- Daily treatment: 1- 2% dilution = 6-11 drops per ounce.
Anti-inflammatory essential oils to soothe and relieve inflammation:
Astringent essential oils to produce the contraction of skin cells and other body tissue:
Cooling essential oils to reduce heat and soothe from heat:
The anti-inflammatory oils mentioned above would also be helpful as cooling for rosacea, together with Vetiver essential oil.
Other natural alternatives to consider when choosing aromatherapy for Rosacea
Lavender, Rose, Neroli, German chamomile and Geranium hydrosol. Spritzed it on the face as needed and for better results keep it refrigerated.
Carriers for essential oils:
- Vegetable oils to consider: Rosehip seed oil (only at night), Jojoba, Hazelnut, Sea Buckthorn and Calendula oil.
- Aloe vera gel
If adverse reaction occurs, try reducing dilution rate, or avoid the use of essential oils. Instead, apply aloe vera gel, vegetable oils and hydrosols.