Case Study: Helping To Resolve Acne Rosacea
Linda was a lovely 38 year old lady who came to me seeking help for acne rosacea. She had been suffering with this skin condition for the past 7 years and nothing had helped significantly.
Acne rosacea is a type of acne that most commonly affects women in their 30s and 40s. It causes redness and pimples primarily on the cheeks, but can also affect the nose, chin and forehead. There is a strong relationship between acne rosacea and digestive problems, and it shares many features with autoimmune conditions.
Linda worked in sales, and the acne made her feel very self conscious. She spent 40 minutes each morning applying makeup to try and cover the blemishes, but she wanted a better solution. Linda used an antibiotic ointment when the condition got really bad, but she worried about the long term consequences.
I ask all my patients a range of questions, in order to get a better understanding of their overall health. As I suspected, Linda had digestive problems. When she was a teenager she was diagnosed with irritable bowel syndrome. The main symptoms that Linda experienced were abdominal bloating and gas. Her job involves a lot of travel, and she has learned to manage her digestive problems in order to avoid feeling too uncomfortable. The bloating gets worse as the day progresses, so Linda often hardly eats anything at lunch time, or she skips lunch altogether.
According to Linda “feeling hungry is better than looking like I’m 6 months pregnant in the afternoon”. This unfortunately meant that Linda was completely ravenous by the time she got home. She would eat a very large dinner and continue snacking until she went to bed. Consequently she went to bed feeling incredibly uncomfortable in her stomach and her sleep was restless and unrefreshing.
My recommendations for my patient
Linda knew I’d ask her to change her diet and she was ready and willing to do this. She was well and truly fed up with how she was feeling and therefore was highly motivated to change.
- I asked Linda to eliminate grains and dairy products from her diet. This was in order to calm down the bloating and gas. Grains and dairy products can be very difficult to digest and they can inflame the lining of the intestines. The starch and fermentable fiber in grains can feed all the wrong bugs in the bowel, creating a state of dysbiosis (too many harmful microbes and not enough beneficial microbes in the gut).
- I also asked Linda to avoid onions, garlic, broccoli, cauliflower and apples for now. When I questioned her about her diet, she suspected those foods aggravated the abdominal bloating. This is not surprising because these foods are very high in a type of fermentable fiber called FODMAPS. Many people with irritable bowel syndrome have a hard time digesting these foods and may need a temporary break from them.
- I asked Linda to base her meals on protein, vegetables and healthy fats. These types of foods would not encourage abdominal bloating, and it meant Linda could enjoy a healthy lunch at work and not have to go hungry all afternoon. The eating principles are in my syndrome X book. I asked Linda to take a digestive enzymes supplement with each meal to enable her to digest her meals more thoroughly. That would help to alleviate bloating.
- It was important to reduce the inflammation in Linda’s gut because in most cases red and inflamed skin is just a reflection of an inflamed digestive tract. I gave her BactoClear capsules to reduce the levels of harmful bugs in her gut. This would help to reduce bloating and gas. Antibiotics are often prescribed for acne rosacea and they are usually effective. This is because bacterial infections are an aggravating factor in the condition. Unfortunately the side effects of antibiotic use are a weakened immune system and disturbed bowel health. I gave my patient Selenomune capsules to help her immune system to overcome the infection naturally.
- To improve the appearance of her skin quickly, I asked Linda to make her own raw vegetable juices and have one large glass each day. Vegetable juices are rich in vitamins, minerals and antioxidants that help to reduce inflammation, and in that way reduce redness in the skin. I also gave Linda an astaxanthin supplement because the particular carotenoid antioxidants in this supplement help to reduce inflammation in the skin, but also help to protect the skin from UV damage. Although some sun exposure is very healthy and is necessary for vitamin D production, excessive sun exposure can worsen acne rosacea.
I will see Linda in another 4 weeks and look forward to monitoring her progress.
The above statements have not been evaluated by the FDA and are not intended to diagnose, treat or cure any disease.