“Love the skin you’re in.” Sound advice! We’d all do well to be more comfortable in our own skin. But sometimes that wisdom is oh so hard to follow – especially if you suffer from a skin condition, it can leave you feeling self-conscious.
You’re likely to experience facial redness, acne-like breakouts, and blood vessels that are visible below the surface of the skin. Your skin may feel as though it’s burning and your eyes may even feel irritated.
It’s a good idea to identify what triggers these symptoms.
Some of the most common triggers are:
- Sun exposure
- Spicy food. 1
But if you can’t resist a beach day or a glass of wine with dinner, here are some natural remedies that can help soothe skin redness and other rosacea-like symptoms:
1. Green Tea
Green tea is something of a wonder drink. Regular consumption has shown it to be effective in helping to prevent or treat a wide variety of serious illnesses, heart health issues, and other concerns.2 And here you thought green tea was just a comforting beverage to drink when you have a sore throat!
It turns out that green tea is chock full of plant compounds known as “polyphenols”. Polyphenols are rich in antioxidants. Antioxidants are great because they activate an anti-inflammatory response.3This response reduces redness and helps sensitive skin heal.
And while there’s nothing more cozy than sipping from a mug of hot green tea, the best way to reap its skin benefits is by applying it directly to your skin. Brew the green tea and put it in the refrigerator until it’s well-chilled. Then soak a cloth in the green tea and apply it as a compress for 15 to 20 minutes.
2. Tea Tree Oil
The Aboriginal people of Australia have been using tea tree oil to treat wounds for centuries, and now the rest of us are finally catching on to its benefits. Tea tree oil — also known as melaleuca oil — comes from the leaves of Australian tea trees and is rich in antiviral and antimicrobial properties.4
Tea tree oil is also effective at getting rid of demodex. What’s demodex? They’re tiny microbes that live on the face. Weird, right? Well, they’re supposed to be there. But sometimes there are too many of them. And sometimes people have an unusual immune system reaction to them. In those cases, demodex could be the root cause of their rosacea 5 – or at the very least – demodex could be triggering rosacea.6
When shopping for tea tree oil, it’s best to get 100% pure essential oil, so you’re not dealing with any pesky chemicals or solvents that may make your rosacea worse.
For an at-home tea tree oil treatment, get a roller bottle so you can combine ingredients. Start with one tablespoon of a “carrier” oil – a neutral oil like grapeseed, coconut, or olive oil – then add two drops of tea tree oil and shake. (Make sure to do a test spot on the inside of your wrist before apply to your face.)
You can also replace one of the two drops of tea tree oil with one drop of lavender oil. Lavender oil calms the complexion and reduces feelings of stress – a major trigger of rosacea. Apply before bedtime and wake up with peaceful skin!
3. Aloe Vera
If you’ve ever had a sunburn – and I bet you have – there’s a good chance you’ve rubbed aloe vera gel on your skin to ease the sting. Well, aloe vera can have the same soothing effect on sensitive skin from rosacea.
The hydrating gel – found in the stalks of aloe vera plants – can moisturize dry skin while also acting as an anti-inflammatory to minimize redness and irritation.7
Not only that – aloe vera can help the skin detoxify and circulate blood – this may help speed wound healing from any rosacea-related breakouts.8
Again, shop for pure aloe vera gel, so as to avoid unnecessary chemicals that might make your rosacea worse.
Apply the gel to the affected areas. At first, you may experience symptoms such as redness and tight-feeling skin. These symptoms will subside. Let the aloe vera dry and rinse off gently. With continued daily use, you may find a significant reduction in breakouts and redness.
Not only does oatmeal make for a healthy breakfast, it also makes for a healthy face mask! Oatmeal cleanses, moisturizes, and protects sensitive skin, alleviating symptoms like redness.9
Oats contain compounds that are ideal for cleansing irritated skin because they work to absorb dirt on the skin’s surface. This way, dirt can be washed away without deep scrubbing that may disrupt the skin barrier function.
Hot tip: if you have rosacea, there’s a good chance you have a compromised skin barrier function. The skin barrier function is what protects the inside of our body from potentially harmful outside forces.
But gentle cleansing is not the only way oats help keep our skin barrier function working well. Oats contain something called polysaccharides. When combined with liquid, polysaccharides form a gel that can act as a protective second skin for your actual skin. So oats give us an extra layer of protection!
To top it all off, oatmeal is an excellent humectant. The starches absorb water and bind it to the skin, helping skin maintain its natural moisture.
In order to make an oatmeal mask, grind rolled oats in a blender or food processor. Mix with water to create a paste that you can apply to the skin and let rest for 20 minutes. Then rinse!
5. Apple Cider Vinegar
Raw, organic apple cider vinegar (ACV) is naturally acidic. And guess what? Our skin is naturally acidic too. This acidity is what protects our skin from external irritants like pollution and free radicals.
But even gentle cleansing can reduce the acidity in our skin. Well, it just so happens that the pH found in ACV is similar to the pH found in our skin. So a topical application of ACV can help restore our skin’s natural pH and protect it from factors that might make rosacea worse.
To apply ACV to the skin, dilute it with water and first do a patch test on your wrist. Then, swab onto the face. After ten minutes, rinse. You can build up to leaving the solution on overnight. Note that there’s a small chance that rosacea symptoms may become worse for a short time before improving.
6. Kanuka Honey
A cousin of Manuka honey, Kanuka honey is making its own name as an effective fix for skin conditions like rosacea.10 Kanuka honey kills unneeded micro-organisms that live on the skin and fights inflammation that causes redness. The honey is also moisturizing and seals the skin as it it’s healing from any wounds caused by rosacea breakouts.
To reduce redness and moisturize the skin, massage a bit of the honey on to the affected parts of your face. Let sit for twenty minutes, then rinse with warm water.
So don’t kick yourself for enjoying that beach day. Just remember there’s a whole host of natural ways to ease your skin’s redness and irritation. All it takes is a quick trip to the natural foods store (or even your own pantry!) to start loving the skin you’re in.