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Natural remedies for rosacea 

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Natural remedies for rosacea

I’ve just been diagnosed with rosacea and would prefer to treat it naturally. Are there any effective drug-free remedies? 

R.W., via email

Rosacea is a chronic inflammatory skin condition that affects around 5 to 10 percent of the population.1 Mainly affecting the face, symptoms include redness, especially on the nose and cheeks; spider veins (visible broken blood vessels); dry, rough, itchy skin; raised patches of skin called plaques; and eye problems such as dry, itchy and swollen eyes. 

The usual treatments are prescription creams, such as topical steroids, and oral antibiotics, but these can come with significant side-effects. Steroids, for example, can cause high blood pressure and suppress the immune system, while oral antibiotics can cause diarrhea, yeast infections and bacterial resistance.2

Research into natural alternatives for rosacea is a bit thin on the ground, but there are several natural remedies and holistic options showing a lot of promise for the skin condition.

Find your food triggers

Certain foods and drinks are thought to act as triggers for rosacea flare-ups. In a survey of over 400 patients by the National Rosacea Society, 78 percent
 had changed their diet due to rosacea, and 95 percent of this group reported a subsequent reduction in flares.
3 Common triggers include hot coffee and tea, alcohol, spices, hot sauce, cayenne pepper and cinnamaldehyde-containing foods such as tomatoes, chocolate and citrus.4 Try keeping a food diary to work out if there are any links between certain foods and drinks and your symptoms, and then see if eliminating them helps.

Working with an experienced practitioner to identify any food allergies is also a good idea.

Heal your gut

Rosacea has been associated with a variety of gastrointestinal diseases including inflammatory bowel disease, celiac disease, irritable bowel syndrome, gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), Helicobacter pylori infection and small intestine bacterial overgrowth (SIBO).5 So focusing on healing your gut might have the knock-on effect of healing your skin. In fact, one study found that treatment of SIBO led to remission of rosacea in all 40 cases.6 

One very general way to promote good gut health is to eat a diet rich in prebiotic foods like apples, asparagus, garlic, onions and flaxseed as well as probiotic foods such as yogurt, kefir, miso, kimchi and sauerkraut.

For comprehensive advice on how to fix your gut, sign up for the Get Well Healthy Gut Intensive on April 16-17. For details, visit

Apply kanuka honey

A natural topical treatment made from 90 percent pharmaceutical-grade kanuka honey from New Zealand and
10 percent glycerin significantly improved rosacea after two months compared to a control cream.
7 Sold as Honevo Rosacea, the treatment is a mask you apply to the skin twice a day for 30 to 60 minutes. It’s available via, or if you can get hold of some kanuka honey and glycerin (available online), you could try making your own.

Try niacinamide 

A form of vitamin B3 found in meat, fish and wheat known as nicotinamide or niacinamide is showing promise as a topical treatment for rosacea.2 A niacinamide-containing moisturizer improved the skin barrier and hydration on the face in one study of rosacea patients,8 and another reported improvements with a gel containing a nicotinamide metabolite.9

Try Niacinamide Boost by 100% Pure (, which contains just niacinamide and the natural moisturizer hyaluronic acid.

Opt for omega-3s

If you suffer from dry eyes, a common symptom of rosacea, supplementing with omega-3 fatty acids could help. In one trial, rosacea patients suffering with dry eyes were randomly given either omega-3 supplements or a placebo for six months. Those in the omega-3 group saw a significant improvement in their symptoms, which included blurred vision, eye fatigue and redness.10

Try Wiley’s Finest Peak Omega-3 Liquid (;, which provides over 2,000 mg of EPA and DHA per teaspoon.


Psychological stress is known to play a role in skin conditions including rosacea,11 so stress reduction techniques such as meditation and tai chi might be helpful.

Sort out your skincare

Certain skincare habits have been linked with rosacea, such as using a foaming cleanser, cleansing the skin twice or more a day, wearing makeup more than six times a week, using beauty salon products and using a cleansing tool on the skin more than four times a week.12 

Many cosmetics, especially foaming cleansers, contain harsh ingredients such as sodium lauryl sulfate that can irritate the skin and strip it of moisture,13 so it could be the products themselves rather than the habits that are potentially playing a role in rosacea. That said, it’s probably best to avoid cleansing your skin
too much and using harsh exfoliants or skin cleansing tools like oscillating face brushes. And try to have makeup-free days as often as you can. Wearing sunscreen when you’re outdoors appears to be helpful for rosacea, although, again, watch out for irritating ingredients.

Rosacea-friendly skincare

Avoid products full of irritating synthetic ingredients and try these natural skincare brands instead.


US:; UK:

Pai has a brilliant range of products for rosacea and redness-prone skin, including the Camellia & Rose Gentle Cream Cleanser and the Instant Kalmer Sea Aster & Schisandra Ceramide Serum. There’s also an SPF30 sunscreen suitable for sensitive skin. 


US:; UK:

Customers with rosacea report great results when using the Beauty Balm to cleanse followed by applying the Zinc and Calendula Cream to the affected areas, says Lyonsleaf.


US:; UK:

The whole Balmonds range is suitable for rosacea-prone skin. Try Skin Salvation featuring calming chickweed and chamomile, along with the Intensive Facial Oil, packed with omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids.

Consider zinc

One study found zinc to be effective for rosacea,14 but another found no difference between the group taking zinc and the group taking a placebo.15 Since the treatment appears to be safe (there were no side-effects apart from mild tummy upset in a few patients in the first trial), it’s worth a try to see if it makes a difference to your rosacea—give it at least three months. As the dosage used in the trials was quite high, it’s best to consult with a practitioner to work out the ideal dose for you, and make sure you also take a copper supplement to prevent a deficiency.

Suggested dosage: the successful trial used a dose of 100 mg zinc sulfate three times daily

Try herbs

According to herbalist Meilyr James, owner of the Herbal Clinic in Swansea, Wales (, rosacea can be linked to problems with the nervous system, hormone system, liver or bowels. His treatment involves doing a full individual assessment to try and determine the underlying cause, and addressing that via the right herbs and diet.

But generally, he says encouraging clearance through the bowels is effective as it improves the health of the gut microbiome, an imbalance of which has been associated with rosacea. For slow-moving bowels he recommends the following remedy:

  • Combine equal parts of the tinctures of purging buckthorn (Rhamnus cathartica; 1:3) with fennel (Foeniculum vulgare; 1:3). 
  • Take 20 drops in a little water in the evening for two to three days and then reassess. 
  • There should be a feeling of complete clearance with at least one and up to three bowel movements per day. 
  • The dose can be increased if necessary, taking one or two additional doses throughout the day after meals.




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Cutis, 2006; 77(1 Suppl): 11–6


Rosacea Review, Fall 2005.


Dermatol Pract Concept, 2017; 7: 31–7


Adv Ther, 2021 Jan 28: doi: 10.1007/s12325-021-01624-x


J Am Acad Dermatol, 2016; 75: e113– 5


BMJ Open, 2015; 5: e007651


Cutis, 2005; 76: 135–41


Clin Exp Dermatol, 2005; 30: 632–5


Curr Eye Res, 2016; 41: 1274–1280


Rocz Akad Med Bialymst, 2005; 50 Suppl 1:49–53; Psychol Res Behav Manag, 2010; 3: 51–63


PLoS One, 2020; 15: e0231078; Arch Dermatol Res, 2020 Jun 27, doi: 10.1007/s00403-020-02095-w


J Clin Aesthet Dermatol, 2011; 4: 31–49


Int J Dermatol, 2006; 45: 857–61


Int J Dermatol, 2012; 51: 459–62

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