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Rosacea Treatment

Are antibiotics the only treatment for Rosacea?

Question

My 59-year-old husband went to see his GP six months ago because he has a red nose with white pus spots. The skin also keeps peeling. His GP diagnosed rosacea and prescribed a cream. This didn't work and the GP said he would have to take antibiotics for the rest of his life to keep it under control. He tried tea-tree oil instead and that worked for a time but the rosacea is now spreading on to his cheeks and he has gone back on the antibiotics. Is there an alternative?

Answer

Rosacea is distinguished by facial redness, which can occur on the nose, cheeks, chin and/or forehead, and may burn or sting. Other symptoms are visible blood vessels, small solid red bumps (papules) and pus-filled pimples (pustules). In about half of rosacea patients, the eyes may be irritated and appear watery or bloodshot. In severe cases - more usually in men than women - the nose may become swollen and small knobbly bumps appear.

In my view, rosacea is caused by the body trying to eliminate toxins, setting up a process that leads to infection and inflammation. There are two types of toxins in the body - water soluble and ht-soluble. Because the skin has a large surface area, it acts as an excretory organ if the kidneys are unable to get rid of toxins, either because the molecules are too large or there's a problem with the filtration system. The skin excretes salts and water-soluble toxins through the sweat glands and fats and ht-soluble toxins through the sebaceous glands located in hair follicles.

The face has a lot of hair follicles, and these are the villains when it comes to rosacea. lf the follicles become infected or inflamed, the result is angry skin. Infection occurs when there is excess production of fatty, nutrient-full toxins and bacteria then cause infection and spots. Inflammation occurs because some toxins act like irritants on the follicles. The skin becomes red with angry bumps, often with small amounts of pus.

One of the main ways to differentiate rosacea from acne is that with acne there are blackheads and whiteheads along with the pustules. Also with rosacea, the whole of the area affected will be bright red. There are numerous blood vessels in the face. The constriction or dilation of these is controlled by the nervous system: you go red with anger, for instance, because the blood vessels dilate, and pale with fear as they constrict.

The control centre is in the hypothalamus at the base of the brain. lf there is an abnormality there, due to poor blood supply or trauma of some sort, the functioning of the nervous system is affected. Then the blood vessels dilate permanently, giving the face a red flush. Rosacea may also be linked to an autoimmune disorder such as lupus. This involves the pituitary gland, which is closely linked to the hypothalamus. In this type of rosacea the skin burns, and sore parches form in a butterfly shape, with red wings on the cheeks either side of the nose.

Rosacea is medically treated with heavy antibiotics over a long period. If it is linked to an autoimmune problem, the treatment is immunosuppressants and steroids. Blood tests can distinguish between the types. Whatever type is involved, however, I believe that patients should come off antibiotics and give nature a chance.

Here are my suggestions:

  • Detoxify the liver by avoiding the following for four months: excess fat, including cheese, butter, fried food, bacon, cream and lard; yeast-containing foods, including bread, blue cheese, mushrooms, vinegar, Marmite, canned soups; alcohol.
  • Generally avoid foods which make the skin sensitive, primarily citrus fruits, pineapple and tomatoes.
  • Take kadu, to help detoxify the body: soak two twigs in a cup of hot water at night, strain and drink the infusion first thing in the morning for two months.
  • Take one capsule of haldi or turmeric , twice daily for three months, to help calm the inflammation.
  • Apply the old-fashioned antibacterial treatment Betadine solution to angry spots with a cotton bud. This may stain the skin, so do it at the weekend for four to six weeks.
  • If there are spots of any kind, scrub the nose and cheeks gently at bedtime with a paste made up of half a teaspoonful of sandalwood oil and a tablespoonful of chickpea powder (available from Indian grocers) mixed with a little warm water. Wash this off with warm water. It will help to cleanse the face and remove any grease. Then apply Dr Ali's Skin Oil on the spots at bedtime. Repeat daily for four weeks.
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