30 October 2010

Holistic Treatment of Acne Rosacea

I started to develop acne rosacea very, very early. It usually hits people as they enter their late forties or early fifties. Mine started when I was in my late 20s.

Because it was so early onset, I was misdiagnosed for several years, trying tretinoin ointment and other drugs for adult acne that actually irritated the rosacea. By the time I turned 40, my face looked like a bright red orange peel with bumps, rough skin, and permanent flushing. I don't have any photos of it, for obvious reasons.
the rosacea was almost entirely gone by last summer
Around then, the ads started hitting the magazines for Metrogel, a new treatment for rosacea. I recognized my condition in those pictures immediately. I went and showed the ad to my doctor who agreed to prescribe this new medicine.

Now that I had a name for this irritating skin condition I started researching it. I also saw photos that made me realize that I had inherited it from my grandfather. (The swollen nose and rough skin were a tip off.)

I also learned that "acne rosacea has no known cause" and that there there is a genetic predisposition in that people in familes tend to be susceptible to it or not. "It also has no known cure, though it an be successfully treated with long term use of antibiotics."

Hmmm. I wasn't keen on long term antibiotics, but I kept a tube of gel around to treat really bad outbreaks and just accepted that my skin was never going to be beautiful again. (Ironically, the people most susceptible to this condition tend to have very bright, clear, pale skin in their youth. Yeah. I once had great skin. Oh well.)

A year or so ago, I started seeing Dr Sickels, a holistic physician.

Rosacea was not particularly on my mind since I knew that it was incurable and aside from vanity there are few dire side effects or outcomes, but when he asked whether there was anything else he could help with, I mentioned it offhand
"well, no. Not unless you know a cure for rosacea".
As it happens, he does. Well, not a definite cure, but in many people, rosacea is linked to asymptomatic h-pylori bacterial infection. He tested me and I was riddled with the stuff, so I agreed to give it a try. For what seemed like months but was probably ten days, I took a witches brew of medications called "the ulcer protocol."

Within a few weeks after I finished, my face started to clear up, leaving only broken capillaries to tell the tale. Success! I started treating the broken capillaries with liquid iodine, and they too started to fade!

Over the course of the year, the flushing has started to return. Nothing alarming yet, but worth mentioning since we know where this leads. Dr Sickels has started me on a regimen to re-acidify my stomach so that my body can handle the h-pylori bugs on its own. I am hoping to stop the flushing in its tracks again, and get the worst of the broken blood vessels reduced. My skin will perhaps never be as smooth and clear as it once was, but if I can stop the damage in its tracks and not have the rough red bumps that's good enough for me.

So...if you have rosacea, and you've been told there is no cure, know that your doctor may be mistaken. For some people, getting asymptomatic h-pylori bacterial infection under control may be all the cure you need.

See a holistic physician for help. If he doesn't know what you're talking about, have him call Dr Sickels. (Or if you can, just see Dr Sickels in the first place.)

Edited to add: I have not had 100% success with the betaine treatment, probably because I use it more sporadicly than I should -- and because I get VERY red if I ingest corn products. However I have found a skin treatment of coconut oil with chamomile, Helichrysum, and lavender essential oils added takes the red down ion a day or two. No more antibiotics! :)


  1. Wow. It never ceases to amaze me what topics mainstream medicine won't look at.

  2. Misti -

    thank you SO much for this! :) As you know from our convos, my dad and granddad have/had (as applicable) rosacea and my cheeks flush in the presence of histamines, which is said to be an early indicator.

    Curiously, i was on an acid reducer for several years when we were first married (i've been off of it for 10 years now), which makes me wonder if that acid reduction didn't cause a spike in h pylori in my stomach.

    i really need to find a holistic doctor down here - this is just the kick in the skirt i need to find one. :)

    a million thanks, my friend! :)

  3. Hey, Valerie. I think that rosacea and other orphan diseases will never be looked at by mainstream medicine under our current system. They're not "sexy", in that they don't kill a lot of people, so they're not a PR coup to solve and curing doesn't make the kind of money that treating does, so the ROI for finding "cures" instead of "treatments" just isn't there. There is no one at fault -- it's just the way the system is designed. (It's not a bug, it's a feature!)

    Sue, you're very, very welcome! I hope it works for you to preserve your gorgeous skin! :) If you can't find a holistic physician, you might look into Betaine Hydrochloride(HCL). That's what I am using to re acidify. Be VERY cautious, though. If you have ulcers it would be bad news.


  4. Thanks so much for sharing this info! If you would be so kind as to tell me more details about the IODINE you used for the broken capillaries I would be very grateful!

    Such as, what brand iodine you used and how often do you apply it!? Did you get any side effects? How long did it take for you to see some results and do the broken capillaries come back eventually after you stopped using the iodine? Looking forward to your reply!!! :')

  5. Hi, Anonymous, I use iodine internally now - Idoral 50.

    The liquid I was using on the broken capillaries four years ago was just the OTC kind I picked up at the pharmacy. It did help to fade them, but it never did get rid of them completely.

  6. Dear Misti, thanks for your quick reply! I just learned recently cherry angiomas are also caused by iodine deficiency so it makes sense that broken capillaries are caused by the same!

    Have you tried Pine Tar Soap for your rosacea? I used some soap with pine tar and jewelweed on my face ( it's made for poison ivy actually) but after only one use my redness and eczema patches looked much better! Am recommending pine tar soap but wil be purchasing PACKERS brand as it's stronger than other pine tar soaps. Please let us know if you have tried for your condition. Good luck!

  7. Oh, heavens, I haven't used soap on my skin for decades. It's much too harsh and it looks and feels like I am 15 years older.

    I find that a very gentle scrub with baking soda, a splash with vinegar, and then a col, cold rinse makes mine look much better.


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