Just when you thought all that yucky teenage stuff was behind you forever, you get up one morning, look in the mirror and there you are: your nose and face are red, you have unsightly bumps and you wonder what’s going on.
No, you’re not reverting to your teenage years but you are experiencing that age-old teenage curse of acne – but a different kind of acne – Acne Rosacea, an adult form that affects about 10 to 20 percent of the population.
Acne Rosacea causes the capillaries near the surface of the skin to become dilated and you’ll notice bumps and red blotchy areas. In some cases the skin thickens.
This is definitely not an attractive condition so it is not surprising that people want quick relief. Acne Rosacea affects women aged 30 to 50 three times more often than men; but when it does affect men, it’s usually more severe.
We’re not sure what causes this condition but some of the suspected factors are menopausal flushes, local infections, B vitamin deficiencies, alcoholism and gastro-intestinal disorders.
Many Acne Rosacea patients have low stomach gastric acids and if that is the cause, it can be treated quickly and effectively with digestive enzymes.
Large doses of B vitamins with an emphasis on riboflavin (B2) can help. Avoiding extremes of temperature can also help – especially heat. Baths and showers should be warm and not hot. Avoid saunas and hot tubs.
Watch your diet. Avoid coffee, alcohol, hot beverages and hot, spicy foods that may dilate the blood vessels. And as with all kinds of acne, reduce sugar and fats, especially saturated fats.
Then there is a skin mite called demodex folliclorum that has been considered a factor in Acne Rosacea. It lives on our skin quite harmlessly, but with people who have Acne Rosacea, it has been found at a higher concentration.
Conventional treatment consists of low doses of the antibiotic tetracycline for as long as three years. It decreases the inflammation of the skin but it does have side effects. For one thing, it can lead to an overgrowth of yeast in the body and of course the body becomes used to antibiotics in the system and may become resistant to them.
I believe the best treatment for Acne Rosacea consists of diet, B vitamins and digestive enzymes. Then wait for it to clear up – just like you did when you were a teen.
Dr. Paulette Roscoe is a naturopathic physician who practices in Nanaimo. She welcomes your calls at 754-1733.