October 5th, 2023 • By: Dr. Pratima Raichur
Rosacea is often seen as an extreme sensitivity of the skin on the face with an excessively flushed appearance and redness and irritation that can flare up when triggered. A natural, Ayurvedic rosacea treatment ritual helps pacify and calm the skin, offering a clear path to a soothed, healthy complexion.
What is Rosacea?
Also known as rakasa in Ayurveda, Rosacea is a condition characterized by abnormally red skin tissue, primarily on the cheeks, neck, and chest, due to external and internal irritation factors and the dilation of capillaries. Allopathic medicine calls it inflammation, but why does inflammation occur in the first place?
According to Ayurveda, inflammation occurs due to excess heat or fire in the body. This tendency is more common for people who are primarily Pitta Dosha. There are three Ayurvedic doshas, Vata, Pitta, and Kapha, which are mind-body types that account for the traits in our individual physiology, digestion, body structure, learning style, and even personality. Learn more about your dosha by taking an online quiz.
Common Types of Rosacea
Erythematotelangiectatic Rosacea: Characterized by persistent redness on the face and small blood vessels beneath the skin surface. Symptoms can flare up and dissipate.
Papulopustular Rosacea: Associated with pus-filled pustules, swollen red bumps, and facial flushing. Affected areas are typically the cheeks, chin, and forehead and can be mistaken for acne. Facial blemishes may require extended time to heal.
Phymatous Rosacea: A rare, but treatable type most often affecting the skin on the nose, causing skin to thicken, scar, and become bumpy and swollen. Appears more frequently in males than females.
Ocular Rosacea: Symptoms affect the eyes, causing a feeling of burning, irritation, dryness, and sensitivity, and a watery or bloodshot appearance. Cysts may form on the eyelids.
What are Common Causes of Rosacea?
Ayurveda describes the skin as a "cream" on top of the seven tissues in the body: plasma, blood, muscle, fat, bone, bone marrow, and reproductive fluid. The skin is the outer essence of all these tissues. Any imbalance that might occur within any one of these seven tissues will show up on the skin.
Rosacea occurs in those who are predominantly Pitta, since this dosha is governed by the element of fire. There is a baseline tendency towards inflammation that can be triggered by the season, stressful time periods, or even certain skincare products, but underlying sensitivity is always present. That being said, when a Pitta-predominant person is healthy, the skin can be rosy in a healthy and glowing way.
Internal Causes of Rosacea
- Excess Pitta dosha (fire + water energies)
- Heating foods: hot spices, pungent tastes, acidic foods, fermented foods, alcohol, red meat, and stimulants.
- A weakened immune system
- An overburdened liver
- Hormonal imbalances
- Circulation issues
- Stress and chronic patterns of anger, frustration, jealousy, or being easily irritated
- Genetic predisposition
External Causes of Rosacea
- Allergies to seasonal pollen, food, drugs and medications, nickel or metals in water
- Fragrances, colors, dyes, and other chemicals in cosmetics and skincare products
- Exposure to hot weather
- Exposure to hot water
- Extra sensitivity to harsh soaps, scrubs, and chemicals in home-cleaning products and clothing
Additional Factors That Can Aggravate Existing Rosacea
- Exposure to excessive sun, saunas, tanning beds, steam rooms, heated yoga
- Skin peels, acid peels, or excessive retinol use
- Overworked lifestyle
Doshas and Rosacea
Each individual has a unique combination of all three doshas, often governed by one (mono-dosha) or two (dual-dosha). While rosacea is primarily associated with a Pitta imbalance, it can also be associated with Vata and Kapha doshas.
Dosha Forms of Rosacea
Pitta Rosacea: Typically appears as red patches on the cheeks with broken capillaries. A sensation of burning on the skin can occur, as well as small, dry, itchy pimples or bumps.
Pitta- Vata Rosacea: Skin patches will be dry, flaky, dehydrated, red, and irritated with broken capillaries.
Pitta-Kapha Rosacea: Skin patches will be more oily, with fluid-filled pimples or bumps that are whitish in appearance, in addition to the red, irritated complexion with broken capillaries.
Rosacea Treatment: The Natural Ayurvedic Method
When rosacea occurs, the system is inflamed and produces excess acidity. Through the science of Ayurveda, treatment takes a holistic approach with both internal and external remedies to address physical, mental, and emotional balance.
There are some common inflammatory foods to avoid that will help reduce acidity in the body and quell inflammatory responses in the system. Eat an all-organic, alkaline diet and avoid Pitta-aggravating foods.
Foods to Avoid:
- Seafood and salt-water fish
- Red meat
- Citrus fruits
- Hard cheese and store-bought yogurt (freshly made is fine)
- Eggs and cow's milk (raw, unhomogenized and freshly boiled is fine)
- Hot spices
- Deep fried foods
- Fermented and pickled foods
- Vinegar and soy sauce
- Processed foods
- Roasted Nuts
- Artificial sweeteners
- Corn syrup
- Gluten (if intolerant)
- Drink 7-8 glasses of water daily
- Drink a half cup of aloe juice twice daily
- Drink coconut water, especially during the summer or in hot climates
Digestion and Elimination:
- Incorporate more fiber into the diet
- Sip cumin, coriander, and fennel tea before or between meals
- Use a natural acidity reducer, blood purifier, and digestive aid, like Pitta Detox
Skin Supplements and Vitamins
Enhance good nutrition choices with the following:
- Evening Primrose Oil
- Omega 3
- Black Currant Seed Oil
- GLA (gamma linoleic acid)
- Vitamin D3
- NAT (Neem Amla Turmeric), a skin healing and anti-inflammatory blood purifier, or Neem Amla Capsules
- Sanziwa to reduce acid, rosacea, and inflammation in the skin
- Tulsi, nettle, chamomile, coriander, and rose tea all offer anti-inflammatory and blood-purification benefits
PRATIMA Skincare for Treating Rosacea
- Cleanse with Very Sensitive Herbal Cleanser or Kumari Liquid Cleanser
- After cleansing, massage 3-5 drops of Rosacea Face Essential Oil twice daily into the entire face and neck
- Apply Rosacea Therapy Lotion at night into all affected areas after using Rosacea Face Essential Oil
- Protect the skin year-round with Neem Rose Sunscreen SPF 30
- For areas of acne-rosacea or irritated bumps and blemishes, apply Sandalwood Soothing Lotion
NEW from PRATIMA Skincare: Sensitivity + Redness Soothing Set
Our Sensitivity + Redness Soothing Set is a daily face care ritual for irritation-prone skin that soothes, reduces redness, and pacifies irritations, providing daily treatment and care with anti-inflammatory botanicals.
Promote a stress-reducing and anti-inflammatory lifestyle:
- Avoid harsh skin products, detergents, and cleaning products. Reduce harmful chemicals in the home.
- Protect your skin and body from direct and prolonged sun exposure or heated environments
- Use organic, natural fabric for clothing, sheets, and towels
- Perform daily exercises that are gentle and not too rigorous, like walking, swimming, and yoga
- Avoid running, competitive sports, and exercises that produce excess heat
- Develop techniques to manage stress levels. Include daily meditation and breathing exercises, or pranayama, that help regulate mental activity and promote inner resources of energy and focus. Alternate nostril breathing helps neutralize the hemispheric dominance within brain activity, resulting in a quieter state of mind beneficial for nighttime rest and relaxation. Shitali breathing is ideal at any peak moment of stress, helping to release excess heat, create an intentional pause, and recalibrate the nervous system in stressful moments. Avoid forceful breathing techniques, like kapalbhati.
Connecting with Total Health
The skin is a manifestation of what occurs internally every second of our lives. Skin problems are the language of the body telling us what is stuck, trapped, or imbalanced. When heat accumulates in one place, it becomes trapped and will try to escape. This heat can go in different directions, which is why Allopathy might not see a relationship between ulcers, for example, and rosacea, but Ayurveda does. For effective rosacea treatment, the underlying cause of excess fire must be addressed. External heat, the seasons, the food we eat, the natural aging process, our levels of stress or emotional patterns are all a dance of energies. When we breathe freely, we feel good, and when we hold our breath, we suffocate. The same happens with our emotions; when we hold them in, we suffocate.
Swastiya is the word Ayurveda uses as the definition of health, translating to "the one who is the realized self." It is knowing that I am not the body, I am not the mind. I am the soul. To understand the characteristics of the soul, you can picture a silent passenger inside of you that is unaffected by any storm or stressor. The soul state is a totally blissful one. If you truly understand that you are the soul - as more true than anything else before you - you will align yourself with a frequency of total health.
Dr. Pratima Raichur is an Ayurvedic Physician and Doctor of Naturopathy with over 50 years of experience. She also holds degrees in chemistry and botany as well as certifications in aesthetics and acupuncture. Known as the pioneer of Ayurvedic dermatology, Dr. Raichur is an international lecturer and author of the best selling book, Absolute Beauty, hailed as the ultimate natural beauty bible by top editors and influencers.Along with her eponymous skincare line, Dr. Raichur's current practice includes personalized Ayurvedic Consultations that address holistic health and beauty, including skincare, chronic skin conditions, nutrition, hormonal balance, weight management, mental wellbeing and more. Read more or book an appointment with Dr. Raichur.