Rosacea. Causes, triggers and treatment

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Rosacea skin condition

I have personally battled rosacea for many years. First symptoms started in my early 20s. My esthetician back in Lithuania used to carefully select skin care products and treatments to help my overly sensitive skin and not to aggravate it even more. This approach worked to control the appearance of my skin, which of course was helpful for my public image. I was a business owner and healthy look was important. 

After I moved to United States, estheticians had the same diagnoses for me: I will only be able to use calming, cooling skin care products and receive soothing facials for the rest of my life. Honestly, that was not good enough for me anymore. I was determined to find a solution that worked for me.

What is rosacea? Rosacea is a condition, in which skin experiences frequent flushing, redness, red bumps, and dilated blood vessels around the nose and cheeks. Over 16 million Americans are being effected by this skin condition. In the later stages, Rosacea may also result in a red, bulbous nose or a burning or gritty sensation in the eyes, extend into eyelids, forehead, chest, and scalp.

There are four stages of rosacea:

Stage 1: Vascular Rosacea

This is the first stage, sometimes called pre-rosacea.  Appears as redness and flushing on the cheeks, nose, chin and forehead. During this stage, the skin might feel uncomfortably tight.

Stage 2: Inflammatory Rosacea

At this stage, skin develops bumps, pimples,  and enlarged capilaries. Skin irritation can also spread to the scalp, ears, neck and/or chest.

Stage 3: Phymatous  Rosacea

Third stage is more serious. Skin on the nose becomes bulbous, develops large pustules and severe redness all over the face. The eyes can become dry or irritated, and excessive tearing or burning may occur. Eyelids may become swollen as well.

Stage 4. Ocular Rosacea

Ocular rosacea can cause red, itchy eyes and swollen eyelids.Your eyes also might look bloodshot and burn or sting. You might feel like you have a bit of sand in them all the time. A blast of cold air can make them water. And you might see little pimples in the rim of your eye or eyelid called styes. Ocular rosacea can make you easily bothered by light or make your vision blurry.(

Millions of people in United States and all over the world are affected by rosacea. Are you wondering why there is currently no cure for it? The only suggestion given by doctors are oral and topical medication, and possibly some lifestyle changes. Well, there are two problems with concurring rosacea: 

1. Doctors are looking in the wrong place. It is not just a topical, isolated issue to treat. It has a direct connection with digestion system;

2. People are not ready to make long lasting lifestyle/dietary changes.

Causes and triggers of rosacea

As I don't believe that rosacea is an isolated conditition, it would probably be more accurate to say, that rosacea is a side effect of gastrointestinal disorders. 99% of the time my clients with rosacea list number of digestion system issues. Everything in our bodies is connected. We have great number of reflex points on the face, scalp, ears...those who experienced acupuncture treatment know, that's where all the needles are placed. Chinese medicine has a map of the body reflex/acupuncture points. Face can be great map to detect which internal organ is not functioning properly. Excess acid in the stomach, toxins and number digestion system disorders could show up on the facial skin as acne, redness, bumps or rosacea. 

Gastrointestinal Disorders

Rosacea is linked to certain digestive disorders. January of 2017, British Journal of Dermatology published a study: "Rosacea and gastrointestinal disorders." The conclusion of the study said:"Nationwide study found that the prevalence of celiac disease, Crohn's disease, ulcerative colitis, H. pylori infection, small intestinal bacterial overgrowth, and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) was higher among people with rosacea compared to the general population. Rosacea is associated with certain gastrointestinal diseases, but the possible pathogenic link is unknown." I believe this is a great beginning into understanding rosacea. Even though the study did not correlate digestion disorders to the cause of rosacea, at least we have scientific evidence now that digestive system triggers this mysterious skin disorder.

That leads us to:

Diet and Nutrition

Rosacea is inflammation of the skin tissue. Now would be a great time to talk about inflammatory foods. All dairy products, gluten, processed sugar, red meat, sugary beverages, alcohol, and coffee are highly inflammatory for most people. In addition to these food categories, I should also mention food allergies, sensitivities and food intolerance. When food in the body is causing inflammation, it does make sense that the skin will get inflamed too. It is part of the body. 

I am not suggesting to be too strict with your diet and eliminate everything at once. First, try to balance and limit inflammatory foods to very minimum consumption. After few months you might find yourself not being drawn to these foods at all. Healthier options can be found to replace everything. Lets explore inflammatory food categories:

Dairy: Dairy does not have any benefits for human health, it only causes inflammation, irritation and intolerance. It is another species baby growth food full of naturally occurring and added hormones, sugar and fat. Not to mention millions of cells of pus in each ounce. Nut milks/beverages, creamers and cheeses are truly amazing! It is so easy to make it at home, that even my 11 and 14 year old boys can make it... Read more about dairy here... 

Gluten: I found that wheat in Europe irritates gut less than the ones processed here in United States. However, there are many gluten free options available now. I personally prefer gluten free flour when I make baked goodies at home.

Sugar: If you have a sweet tooth like me, you will need sweeteners in your life! I use dates, raw honey and sometimes agave. Here is another article about damaging affects of sugar for the skin. By the way, raw honey contains digestive enzymes, probiotics, minerals, amino acids, antioxidants, antimicrobial/antiseptic properties, helps to relief allergies and aids in healing wounds topically. I buy honey at my local farmers market. Honey is a concentration of local blossoming environment. You don't want to over-consume imported honey, that might spike some allergies instead of helping to relieve it. 

Sugar and corn syrup: Many serious diseases have been linked to the overconsumption of corn syrup and sugar. It have been shown to drive inflammation, which is associated with many health issues like diabetes, heart disease and cancer, and of course skin inflammation.

Instead of loaded with sugar soda or iced tea, make yourself lemonade. It only takes water, honey (or another sweetener) and lemons or strawberries. I use the leftover lemonade to make Popsicles, kids love it. If you’re craving something sparkly, add mineral water.

Red meat: The rise in inflammation after a meal of meat starts within just an hour of ingestion. In medical research investigators discovered that after a meal of animal products one’s bloodstream becomes soiled with bacterial toxins known as endotoxins. Those toxins cause inflammation.

Food for thought, it's not the meat taste that people crave. Meat DOES NOT have a taste, it's the spices. You can use same marinates, sauces and spices to add to your vegetables, mushrooms, baked potatoes, jack-fruit to have the same satisfying taste. There are also great meat alternatives. My favorite is "Beyond Meat" in a shape of burger patty and sausage, and select restaurants have the “Imposible Burger” which even the hard core carnivores have said they can’t tell the difference.

Alcohol: alcohol consumption may increase inflammation and lead to a "leaky gut" that drives inflammation throughout your body. There are no healthy substitutions. Highly recommend eliminating it 100% or have it on a very special rare occasion or even better, have Kombucha!

Besides the food, there are other big triggers for rosacea. stress, especially the long term, and toxins.

Stress is a huge factor when we talk about inflammation. Stress is considered a common trigger for rosacea flare-ups. Stress is the number one enemy against health. Strong stressful emotion starts 1,400 chemical emotions in the body. Long term stress weakens immune system. Body becomes more susceptible to any virus, bacteria overgrowth and inflammation. It might even trigger allergic reactions to certain foods. And of course interferes with healthy digestion.

Meditation for stress relief

There are many different ways to meditate. Choose the method and length of the meditation that works for you. Even a nice relaxing walk in the nature can be a good start.

I started with 10-15 minute guided meditation a day. Now I spent 30 minutes to an hour. The most fasinating thing for me was, that spending time in the meditation did not shorten my day, it actually gave me more time. I was not wasting time in frustration anymore.

Meditation can be enhanced by adding music, light, nature sounds, crystal or Tibetan bowl sounds, and brainwave technology. For example, meditation with  Alpha brainwaves will enhance healing, help to feel grounded, relaxed, improve sleep, and promote creativity. You will feel more patient and all together deeper in love with your life.

What are brainwaves? Human brain consists of billions of neurons that use electricity as a way to communicate with one another. At the root of all our thoughts, emotions and behaviors is the communication between neurons. Brain waves are produced by synchronized electrical pulses from masses of neurons communicating with each other. The combination of synchronized electrical activity in the brain is called a "brain wave" because of its cyclic and "wave-like" in nature. Brain waves can be detected using medical equipment, such as electroencephalogram (EEG).

The ultimate benefit of meditation is liberation of the mind from attachment to things it cannot control, such as external circumstances or strong internal emotions.

Energy Healing Reiki

Word reiki translated into english language means Life Force Energy. Anyone that is alive has reiki running through them. Animals and plants are alive thanks to reiki too. Reiki has nothing to do with any religion. It is a life supply on earth and beyond. I have been practicing reiki for almost 27 years. Have seen miraculous healing in people, my pets, other animals and plant revival. Energy flows through us just like blood flows through us. If we see a problem in our blood flow, we understand that there is an issue and we pursue to get better. We should not neglect our energy flow for the same reasons. Everything is energy and everything is vibrating at certain frequencies. Our words, emotions and thoughts are energy too. Positive emotions like love, joy or gratitude vibrate at a very high vibration and keep us happy and healthy. Feelings of sadness, grief or anger are vibrating at lower frequency and also are getting stuck in our body causing stiffness, illness, stress or physical pain. Reiki helps to relieve these blocks, so the energy can flow freely again. Reiki energy causes an expansion in the chakras, energy field and aura. All that said, yes, everyone benefits and needs Reiki to maintain healthy body. Benefits include:

• Deeply relaxes the body and mind

• Alleviate stress, anxiety and depression

• Relieve physical and emotional pain

• Aid Insomnia and increase positive sleep habits

• Promote natural self-healing

• Treat symptoms of injury and illness

• Clear toxins

• Strengthen the immune system

• Enhance personal awareness

• Release blocked and suppressed feelings

• Balance energy within the body

• Raises your Energetic vibration

P. S. I will be teaching a certification class: Reiki-the most profound energy healing.

Gut health is critical to overall health. Toxins in the intestines and unhealthy gut contributes to a wide range of diseases: diabetes, obesity, cancer, rheumatoid arthritis, autism spectrum disorder, depression, chronic fatigue syndrome, and mood swings. It also have tremendous impact on rosacea. Also has a huge impact on skin disorders, like acne, rosacea, dull skin, uneven skin tone, inflammation and dermatitis on the scalp or anywhere on the body.

The difference in my skin’s inflammation was unmistakable after each time I did a detox. Choose from vegetable juice, to infrared sauna, to supplements to coffee enemas. Or preferably combine all of it. You may find my detox diary in Cheers to Health book where I share my day to day plan, recipes, what to expect during cleanse and how to ease detox symptoms. Those who detox know what I am talking about. It is not peachy and nice when these toxins leave your body...You find yourself freezing cold in a warm environment, mood swings, possible headaches, but the reward at the end makes it all worth it. 

Infrared Sauna for stress relief and detox

Infrared vs traditional: Typical heat saunas heat the atmosphere temperature to high temperatures and your body reacts to this heat and starts sweating to cool down. Infrared technology heats your body’s internal core temperature, allowing your body to sweat and detox from the inside out. The next level of infrared saunas are full spectrum, which means that they utilize near, mid and far rays. Having those extra wavelengths allow for the different functions and have specialized results/benefits. You not only sweat in these saunas, depending on the session chosen, infrared wave algoritms will help you to reach wanted benefits. Sessions range from anti-aging, relaxation, body detox, weight loss, to cardio health.

Topical treatments for Rosacea

Skin Care: Skin care product ingredients to help rosacea are the ones that hydrate, moisturize, sooth, alkaline and oxygenate the skin:

Aloe Vera juice and Aloe Vera gel. Due to the small size molecules, it is able to penetrate much deeper than water or any other liquids. Hydration helps to reduce the frequency and appearance of acne. It also helps to reduce skin conditions like psoriasis and dermatitis. Aloe vera is a rich source of antioxidants and vitamins that will help to protect your skin.

Oxygen Plasma is a complex carbon molecule that “mimics” the blood's ability to carry oxygen and active substances into the cells. Oxygen Plasma is a completely natural and organic substance developed during the 1980s for military purposes by some of the most brilliant scientists in the world. The research has been declassified and this substance is now being used in beauty and medical applications. Oxygen Plasma is chemically inactive and therefore it cannot cause any irritation. Oxygen Plasma is essential for all skin types and conditions. It kills bacteria causing Acne and Acne Rosacea, triggers formation of Collagen and Elastin, allows much better product penetration and increases their effectiveness

Algae extracts and powders. Algae is rich in vitamins and minerals and protect the skin from antioxidant stress. Improves circulation, provides healing properties for skin problems such as dermatitis, acne, eczema, dry skin, oily skin, and skin toning. 

Hyaluronic Acid. Although it is named an acid, it does not act like an acid. Hyaluronic Acid is a lubricant for our tissues and body. Hyaluronic Acid can hold 500-1,000 times its own weight in water keeping our skin hydrated. 

Argan oil. Strengthens the cell membrane and helps in repairing cells and tissues damage. Rich in antioxidants that help in fighting the effects of free radicals. Acts as a moisturizer and provides soft, supple skin that glows with health. This blend is anti-inflammatory, acne reductive, and moisture retentive properties when applied topically on the skin. Decreases wrinkles depth. 

Prickly Pear Oil. Prickly Pear Oil-Prickly Pear cactus is known as the miracle plant for its ability to survive during long droughts and still produce healthy fruits. The Prickly Pear fruit contains numerous small black seeds from which the precious Prickly Pear Seed Oil is extracted. Each seed contains only 5% of oil, so the production of 1-liter prickly pear seed oil takes about one ton (1,000 kg) of fruits to extract 25 kg of seeds (1 million prickly pear seeds). Prickly Pear Seed Oil has a high concentration of Tocopherol (Vitamin E) and essential fatty acids (Linoleic Acid or Omega 6). This oil contains more tocopherol than any other oil available in the beauty care market (almost 150% more tocopherol than Argan oil). Tocopherols have strong antioxidant and free radical scavenging properties. 

Marula Oil. Has a high content of linoleic acid that is an omega-6 essential fatty acid as well as omega oleic acid. It is not only highly effective in treating dry skin, but also works wonders in preventing and healing a variety of skin disorders, including psoriasis, rosacea, eczema, acne and decreasing skin inflammation.

Passion fruit oil contains vitamins A and C, essential fatty acids, copper, magnesium, phosphorus, calcium, and carotenoids. These components provide: protection against environmental stress, reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. Passion fruit oil is also a great source of vitamin A in the form of carotenoids, which helps brighten skin discoloration. Linoleic and oleic acids keep your skin smooth and plump looking while helping reduce the appearance of fine lines. This oil is light and non-greasy, and the skin drinks it up quick. It’s the perfect moisturizer for all skin types, and works well for oily skin as well because of its non-clogging moisturizing action. 

Baobab Oil. It is rich in omega 3 6 and 9 fatty acids which are know to enable healthy tissue regeneration. It also includes vitamins A, D, E & K. Baobab tree is known as the "Tree of Life" in Africa. This oil has many healing and therapeutic properties: moisturizes the skin, promotes skin cell rejuvenation, promotes wound healing. Also known as a powerful antioxidant and because of anti-inflammatory properties, soothes the skin. 

Chia Seed Oil is the richest source of omega-3 fatty acids found in nature, even more than fish oil. These fatty acids moisturize, reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, and encourage a more plump look of the skin. Chia seed oil is a great source of vitamin B3 and zinc, which helps with oily skin and clogged pores. It contains high concentration of antioxidants, including chlorogenic acid and caffeic acid, as well as myricetin, quercetin, and kaempferol flavonoids, excellent protection from environmental stress. Antioxidants in chia seed oil are even stronger than vitamin C and vitamin E. 

Goji berry,  known as a powerful longevity plant, and has been used for over 2,000 years in a variety of traditional Chinese medicines. In addition to providing a generous boost to the immune system, goji berries  are a great source of vitamin C and vitamin E, and antioxidants. The berries are non-irritating and hydrating the skin. Firming and tightening the skin, also helps to protect the skin from environmental irritants. Another key benefit, of Goji Berry oil is its ability to reduce the appearance of age spots on the skin. Goji berry is packed with minerals, including 11 of the key 22 essential dietary trace minerals, which include calcium, potassium, zinc, iron and selenium. While each mineral performs its own actions, together they all help to firm, tighten up, and plump the skin’s appearance. From a tactile point of view, they even help to make skin feel softer to the touch. Polysaccharides in goji berries can significantly boost white cell function, helping the body build immunity to degenerative conditions. The berry gives the skin a healthy glow through an abundance of naturally occurring carotenoids, which are flavonoids including beta carotene, lutein, lycopene and others. These are all act within the body as antioxidants, protecting cells from free radicals that help destroy cellular membranes and DNA within the cell. Carotenoids are particularly beneficial to the body in its fight against cancer. 

Chlorella. Raw Cracked-Cell Chlorella Powder is packed with phytonutrients to assist in normal cell growth and repair. 

SpirulinaSpirulina possesses remarkable nutritional value that results in incredible health benefits, and is loaded with proteins, vitamins, minerals, fatty and amino acids which benefit skin. It decreases inflammation, destroys bacteria and viruses makes skin look toned, youthful and vital.

Rhasoul clay. It is rich in magnesium, silica, potassium, and calcium, which all help to nourish your skin. Found in the ancient lake beds of Morocco’s Atlas Mountains, Rhassoul clay is naturally-occurring. The clay deposits lay dormant for millions of years. The molecular structure of Rhassoul clay gives it a unique ability to absorb excess dirt and dirty sebum, as well as extract impurities from the skin. Rhassoul clay has even been shown to improve dry skin by regulating your skin's natural oil balance.


While the skin is still inflammed with rosacea, products and treatments should be chosen appropriately. The best soothing and healing rosacea skin facials are Oxygen Infusion and facials with calming oxygenating products.

I found that LED and Infrared are helpful too, as they help decrease inflammation. However, we need to start with positioning the light farther away in the beginning stages of the treatments for extremely inflamed skin condition. Facial massage should be very delicate. We do want to massage rejuvenating oil into the skin, at the same time we don't want to cause too much stimulation. The best face massage techniques for rosacea affected skin are acupressure and lymphatic drainage. 


I read in a book once: "…even if only one person achieved it, the possibility is available for everyone". I healed my rosacea and that means everyone can too. In the beginning of this article I shared with you that skin therapists prognosis for me was, that I will have to use very simple soothing skin care products and receive only calming facials for the rest of my life. Well, I am happy to report, this is no longer true for me. I am able to treat my skin with enzymes, fruit acids, Apple AHAs, Glycolic and Lactic Acids (of course I only use derivatives from natural sources, not chemical laboratory produced) and other strong treatment products. Also regularly receive Microdermabration, HydroRenewal facial treatments without irritating my skin.

As I shared in this article, lifestyle changes will need to be made. It is up to you if you would like to "patch up" the visual effects of rosacea with topical prescription product, or you will be dedicated to treat the cause of it. Remember, the skin is the mirror of internal health. Acne, rosacea, eczema or psoriasis show up topically because of the internal health issues as a warning sign. I am sharing my own battle, experience, research and success here. What worked for me, can work for you. Give it a try: 

  • Avoid triggers that worsen rosacea (see above);

  • clean up your diet from inflammatory foods;

  • Protect face from winter weather with a scarf or ski mask;

  • Use only cleansers, moisturizers, cosmetics, and other products that are clean and non irritating;

  • Manage stress by meditating regularly, avoid overindulging into watching/listening/reading news;

  • Detox regularly.

    Cheers to health!


Diana Ralys, LE, COE, HC
Skin Expert
Board Certified Holistic Drugless Practitioner
Reiki Master

Owner and Founder Radiance Wellness Spa
Diana Ralys Skin Health Product formulator
#1 Best Selling Author
Educator and Event Speaker