You might be wondering why my nickname is Rosygirl. Well, it is quite simple actually.
I have a skin disorder called Rosacea (row-zay-sha), which many people are afflicted with world-wide. It is one of the primary reasons I decided to study nutrition and become a Nutritionist.
In my late twenties, after suffering from acne since the age of 7, my skin finally cleared up (after enduring several rounds of antibiotics and Accutane over the years, which no one knew how toxic was at the time). My face after that always seemed have a nice rosy glow, and everyone, including myself, thought I was just really healthy. All the while, I had digestive issues that seemed to get progressively worse, as was my rosacea.
According to the Canadian Dermatology Association, “Rosacea is a chronic skin condition that affects mainly the face. The first signs of rosacea may be redness or blushing that comes and goes initially. Over time, the redness may become persistent and more visible. The most common sites for symptoms are the cheeks, nose, chin, and forehead. Sometimes, rosacea may involve the eyes as well, and include symptoms such as blood-shot eyes that feel gritty. Over half of rosacea sufferers may experience eye symptoms. Bumps, tiny pus-filled pimples, and enlarged blood vessels can also appear, giving skin a rough, uneven appearance.”
Photos courtesy of the National Rosacea Society
While this may not sound like a big deal, rosacea can severely impact the quality of life for many of its sufferers, and many choose to avoid social situations on a regular basis because of it1, depending upon how severe their case is. You see, there are several different forms of rosacea, and some of them are quite serious. Depression2 and suicidal tendencies3 have been reported by many people with this chronic disease as well.
The CDA goes on to say that “Rosacea symptoms can vary from one person to another, and there is no predicting severity. There is no known cure for rosacea, although it can be managed with appropriate treatment and lifestyle changes.”
The conventional allopathic treatment for rosacea is antibiotics, but that just masks the symptoms and does not solve the problem. One of the biggest challenges with rosacea, is that the cause is still unknown4, but theories suggest that it is hereditary, more common in people of Irish, Scottish, English, or of Eastern or Northern European descent, and it involves the immune system.
Over time, after having taken so many antibiotics for my skin issues, I developed SIBO, and then Leaky Gut. From there, I developed numerous food allergies, which in turn seemed to make the rosacea flairs even worse. I now understand that this was because food allergies cause inflammation in the body, which in turn causes rosacea to flair (see triggers). It is really amazing how one’s gut is truly the source of either health or disease.
Since I have been avoiding the foods I am allergic to, and eating super nutritious foods, my skin has cleared up like I never thought it would; and while it is still not perfect, I feel a renewed sense of confidence and inner peace. I have chosen not to take antibiotics for this condition for at least 7 years now, because of its effect on my gut health, so to have my rosacea go into a remission of sorts is truly a wonderfully freeing and joyous event!
The decision about medication is a personal one and one that may not be right for you, so talk to your doctor, and seek your inner guidance to come to your own conclusions. There are many anti-inflammatory whole foods and natural remedies5 to help those who suffer with rosacea.
If you are suffering with rosacea, know that you are not alone, and that there is help and resources out there to help you on your journey. If you know someone who suffers with severe rosacea, please offer them your loving support and understanding, because it will make all the difference in their day-to-day experience with the disease.
Finally, urge them to see a nutritionist or other qualified health practitioner who can help them with managing their symptoms, and also help to lower overall inflammation levels in their body and support their immune system. There is a strong link between digestive disorders and rosacea6, so suggest that they get tested for SIBO, Leaky Gut and other gut or auto-immune7 issues.
I offer these testing services, and so do many other qualified practitioners. I also offer a customized nutritional plan for specific needs such as rosacea, in order to help individuals take control of this chronic condition, and begin their journey towards wellness. Believe me, their everyday quality of life depends on it.