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Heather Hanks
Written by Heather Hanks

Reviewed by Physician Lim Sock Ling and Dr Andre Budihardjo on December 15, 2022

How To Prevent And Treat Acne Rosacea

Acne rosacea can significantly impact self-confidence—we understand. Here's how to tackle the root causes and effectively diminish symptoms for lasting relief.

How to prevent and treat acne rosacea

Acne rosacea is a common skin condition that causes redness and inflammation on the face. You can also have it on your neck, shoulders, and back.

The condition is usually accompanied by pimples and dry, itchy skin. Therefore, it’s easy to mistake it for eczema or acne vulgaris.

You may notice that the cold winter air worsens your symptoms. Luckily, there are several things you can do to prevent and manage rosacea symptoms.

What Is Acne Rosacea?

Close-up image of a woman's face with acne
Acne rosacea on the face

There are four main types of rosacea. Each condition has different characteristics:

  1. Erythematotelangiectatic Rosacea: This is commonly seen as facial redness and flush.
  2. Ocular Rosacea: Symptoms include burning and itchy eyes. 
  3. Phymatous Rosacea: This is when the skin is thick with large pores.
  4. Rhinophyma: This occurs when the nose is bumpy and blotchy.

Some causes of rosacea include:

  • A family history of acne rosacea 
  • Exposure to hot weather extremes or sun rays 
  • Overconsumption of alcohol 
  • Spicy food 
  • Certain medications that dilate blood vessels, including some blood pressure medications 
  • Cosmetics or skincare products that contain chemicals or irritants

Western Medicine Treatments For Acne Rosacea

A doctor or dermatologist will recommend creams or gels to help reduce your skin’s redness and swelling. Oral medications and antibiotics such as doxycycline are often prescribed in low doses if you have an acne rosacea pustule to reduce swelling. If you are pregnant, your doctor will advise you against taking doxycycline.

A topical drug such as azelaic acid also helps reduce flushing. Additionally, procedures such as intense pulse light therapy and laser therapy can be used to treat the condition.

TCM Treatments For Acne Rosacea

According to Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) Physician Lim Sock Ling, acne rosacea is caused by an Accumulation of Heat or toxins in the Lungs and Stomach, with a combination of Wind-Cold Pathogen. This results in Blood Stasis. 

At onset, TCM’s treatment emphasizes removing Wind and relieving itchiness, while treatment for a chronic condition would involve nourishing the blood and treating dryness. The following are two ways of treating acne rosacea: 

Acupuncture

Physician Lim recommends acupuncture to promote circulation, especially the micro-circulation of blood at the localized area of effect. It also helps clear Heat and prevents redness on the face. 

A study on a patient with rhinophyma who underwent acupuncture treatments saw significant improvements in the patient’s nose region after three sessions within the first week. There was no relapse for six months after.

TCM herbs

Herbs that are commonly prescribed to nourish blood and promote blood circulation are Angelica sinesis (Dang Gui), wolfberries (Gou Qi), fleeceflower root (He Shou Wu), and Chinese foxglove root (Shu Di Huang). These are often prescribed to help rehydrate the skin indirectly. 

  • Huang Lian Jie Du soup is used for a stronger detoxing effect. It comprises herbs such as Scutellaria baicalensis (Huang Qin) and Coptis chinensis (Huang Lian), which have anti-inflammatory and anti-microbial properties.

Physician Lim cautions that those who have Glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase deficiency (G6PD), a genetic disorder that affects red blood cells, should avoid Huang Lian Jie Du. Those who are on blood-thinning medication should avoid herbs that move blood. 

Tips To Help You Prevent Acne Rosacea

A young woman in a robe washing her face with a gentle cleanser in her bathroom
Washing your face with a gentle skincare cleanser can help reduce redness and irritation.

These steps are recommended by Physician Lim to help decrease the chances of trigger acne rosacea:

  • Use sunblock regularly and avoid staying out in the hot sun for hours. 
  • Have a simple yet effective skincare routine to keep your face clean. Choose fragrance-free products. Avoid those that contain skin irritants such as alcohol, camphor, urea, and menthol. Use a gentle face wash and moisturizer with Chinese herbs that heals skin without overdrying or irritating it.
  • Incorporate anti-inflammatory foods in your diet, such as berries, fatty fish, olive oil, broccoli, avocado, and turmeric
  • Stay hydrated to help flush out toxins and keep skin moisturized.  
  • Wear a hat and avoid the midday sun. In cold, windy weather, wear a scarf or ski mask.
  • Treat your skin gently. Don’t rub or touch your face.
  • Avoid fried and spicy foods. 

Worry not if acne rosacea seems to be taking over your social life and getting your self-confidence down. There are natural and clinical solutions to take that will calm and smoothen your skin eventually.

However, if symptoms persist or worsen, do consult your TCM physician or medical practitioner to determine the best treatment for you.

Do you have tips you’d like to share? Let us know how to get clear skin in the comments below.

References

  1. Springer Science and Business Media LLC, Dermatology and Therapy, vol 7, no. S1, 2017. Acne and Rosacea.
  2. F1000 Research Ltd., vol 7, 2018. Recent Advances in Understanding and Managing Rosacea.
  3. American Medical Association (AMA), JAMA, vol 307, no. 21, 2012. Rosacea
  4. British Journal of Hospital Medicine 2021. Rosacea.
  5. National Library of Medicine. 2018. Treatment of Rosacea Using Acupuncture for Improving the Local Skin Microcirculation. 
  6. Journal of Traditional and Complementary Medicine, 2014. Anti-inflammatory and Antimicrobial Effects of Heat-clearing Chinese Herbs: A Current Review.
  7. StatPearls. 2022. Rosacea.

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