Tuesday, 16 April 2013

What is Rosacea? The 24/7 Blush.

MooGoo Skin Care
Aww Shucks, now you made me blush. 
Every now and then we receive a call or an email from a customer telling us that MooGoo has helped soothe a skin condition that we hadn't intended it to when we first formulated it. I love hearing these stories because it's unexpected and it's great to know we've managed to help someone without meaning to in the first place. Keratosis Pilaris is one of those rashes that, for some people, can be soothed with our MSM Soothing Cream and Milk Cleansing Bars. We hadn't designed these products for this condition. Another example is the very common Rosacea. 

Rosacea is a non-contagious inflammatory skin condition. It is found on the face and appears as red, flushed skin. It kind of looks like you're blushing... all the time. Many people suffer from Rosacea and the severity of it differs from person to person. Some people may mistake it for Eczema, Acne or a skin allergy. Due to the complexity of this condition, it can be broken down into 4 subtypes  each of which is classified by symptomatic characteristics. 

What type of Rosacea do I have?

Rosacea MooGoo Skin Care

1. Erythematotelangiectatic Rosacea - Persistent redness and swollen blood vessels. 
2. Papulopustular Rosacea - Persistent redness and tiny bumps (similar to acne)
3. Phymatous Rosacea - Thickened skin causing an enlargement of the nose
4. Ocular Rosacea - Eye irritations e.g. dry eye, tearing and burning

What causes Rosacea? The 5 types of Rosacea...

Unfortunately, no set cause for Rosacea has been found. However, many dermatologists and researchers believe there are different triggers that may prompt Rosacea to develop or worsen and that these differ among Rosacea sufferers. The first thing I would recommend to a customer would be to try and identify what's triggering their Rosacea. This will make is easier to figure out how to best treat it. Some sufferers find they need to alter their treatments if their Rosacea worsens or if their symptoms build up a resistance to a particular treatment. It is important to note that what may work for one person, may not work for another. Each type of Rosacea may require a different treatment, so it is important that you try and determine which type you have. According to dermatologists and researchers, the 5 main triggers of Rosacea are:

1. Demodectic Rosacea
2. Blood vessel abnormalities
3. Helicobacter Pylori 
4. Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth
5. Leaky Gut Syndrome 

I will explain each individually below along with the their supposed treatments. 

1. Demodectic Rosacea
Demodex Mites - Not the prettiest
of creatures, hey?

Demodex mites are microscopic creatures that live in the pores of the skin. Yes, this made me cringe too. They are so small you can't see them with the naked eye and they live harmlessly on most people (sometimes they do cause itchy eyebrows though!) You and I probably have some inhabiting our pores. It has been found that Rosacea sufferers have a higher density of these mites on their skin than a person without Rosacea. The Demodex Mite Population in Rosacea published in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology found that, "A significant increase in mites was found in all subgroups of Rosacea". Whilst there is no proof that Demodex mites actually cause Rosacea, some experts do believe higher numbers present in some people may lead to or worsen the condition. According to some, it isn't the actual mites that are the cause, but the bacteria they release when they die. Sorry for the slight yuckiness, but all the more reason to get rid of them, right?! The body's immune system reacts to these bacteria, causing inflammation. Mite-related bacterial antigens stimulate inflammatory cells in Rosacea published in the British Journal of Dermatology found that this bacteria has "the potential to stimulate an inflammatory response in patients with papulopustular rosacea." Another interesting point is Rosacea tends to flare up during heat and humidity, conditions in which these mites thrive. 

MooGoo Skin Care
Tea Tree

To treat Demodectic Rosacea, you must try to manage the Mite population on the skin. There are several ways to go about this:

Tea Tree Oil
Some studies, such as In vitro and in vivo killing of ocular Demodex by tea tree oil, find that tea tree oil is an effective means to kill off Demodex Mites. The problem with Tea Tree Oil though is it's required to be at least 50% concentration. This can be very irritating on the skin and can potentially burn the skin. 

Anti Demodex Medication 
In some cases, medication is prescribed to those who suffer from Demodex Mites which helps stop the mites from spreading and moving around the skin. Invermectin, an anti-parasitic medication, is one example. It is commonly used to treat worms in dogs and other animal parasites. Whilst it is often effective, there are side effects such as possible neurotoxity which damages the nervous tissue. In addition, this medication is not suitable to use during pregnancy, breast feeding or for children under 5 (as advised by your doctor). 
Olive Leaf

Olive Leaf 
This strong remedy supposedly kills off Demodex Mites in the same way that antibiotics do. It is taken in capsule form and, as it is quite strong, doses should not be tampered with. There is a mixture of responses relating to this treatment and not a lot of research into it though. 

Fish Oil and Vitamin E
Due to the anti-inflammatory nature of Omega-3 fatty acids, Fish Oil acts as an effective tool to soothe the symptoms of Demodectic Rosacea as it helps reduce the inflammation and flare ups of the skin. Vitamin E Oil is effective in repairing damaged skin and aids in reducing the persistent redness caused by Rosacea. 
The only problem with these though is they do nothing about the mite populations on the skin which causes the Rosacea in the first place. They just help soothe the symptoms. 

MooGoo Demodex Rosacea Powder 
We at MooGoo have spent a long time trying to formulate something natural that will help treat Demodectic Rosacea. We have developed a special powder and licensed it as a medical device to help treat it. It is a fine mineral powder that is applied topically and comes in 2 versions - a night powder and a day powder (that also offers some coverage). The finely milled minerals and micas help create an environment on the skin that irritates the mites and absorbs excess sebum they need to live and in doing so, killing them off. Our customers who have given this powder a go have found it works really well in clearing their Demodectic Rosacea and it will be available soon! :)

2. Blood Vessel Abnormalities 
Swollen, visible blood vessels

It is believed by some researchers and dermatologists that abnormalities in the blood vessels of the face play a role in the development of Rosacea. This may explain the persistent redness and visible blood vessels. What causes the blood vessels to inflame and swell up is unknown. Couperose is one such condition where the skin become red and inflamed due to small, dilated blood vessels. It is important not too confuse this condition with Rosacea, even though the two are very similar. This condition is really common amongst those whose capillary walls are too thin or have weak elasticity. 

It has been shown in the past that a relationship exists between skin and gut problems. Some researchers have found this to be the case with Rosacea. The following 3 triggers of Rosacea are all related to a gut condition. 

3. Helicobacter Pylori Bacteria 
Artistic impression of Helicobacter Pylori

This common bacterial infection is found in the lining of the stomach. According to the Centre for Digestive Diseases, it affects over 30% of the world's population. This bacterium sits in the cells of the stomach and cause inflammation and other stomach diseases such as ulcers. Helicobacter Pylori (Hp) causes an increase of Nitrous Oxide (NO) in the blood and tissue. This increase of NO as well as the inflammation are believed to cause a range of other conditions, including Rosacea. These bacteria may also stimulate the production of a protein called bradykinin which may in turn trigger the expansion of blood vessels (a common characteristic of Rosacea). Some studies list Rosacea as a symptom of this common infection such as The Link between Helicobacter Pylori Infection and Rosacea published in the Journal of the European Academy of Dermatology and Venereology which found, "Rosacea could be considered as one of the extragastric symptoms of Hp (Helicobacter Pylori) infection".  


In order to treat Rosacea caused by these little bacteria buggers, one must try to eradicate them and soothe the inflammation/damage caused. Some methods of doing so include: 

Oral Antibiotics 
These are generally prescribed to treat Helicobacter Pylori. The problem with antibiotics though is, if taken too much, the bacteria may become resistant to their effects which 
force you to take higher or stronger dosages. 

Natural Supplements 
There are a number of natural supplements which have been found to help kill off Hp bacteria, ultimately soothing Rosacea. These include:

1. Monolaurin
MooGoo Skin Care
Monolaurin is derived from coconut oil
This is derived from coconut oil and, interestingly, is also found in human breast milk. It acts as an anti-inflammatory to help soothe the symptoms of Hp infection and is taken in capsule form. Some studies have found this supplement is effective in killing off Hp bacteria as well including:
Bacterial effects of fatty acids and monoglycerides and 
Minimum Inhibitory concentrations of herbal essential oils and Monolaurin for gram-positive and gram-negative bacteria 

2. Mastic Gum 
This is a resin obtained from the mastic tree and is sometimes referred to as Arabic Gum or Yemen Gum. It is an effective antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and anti-fungal supplement which has been found to kill of Hp bacteria. Some studies that show this include:
The effect of mastic gum on Helicobacter Pylori: A randomized pilot study and 
Bacterial Activity of Pistacia lentiscus Mastic Gum against Helicobacter Pylori

3. L Glutamine 
This is an amino acid which is found in high levels throughout the body and is commonly used as a supplement to increase muscle mass. It is essential for proper function of the immune system and acts as an effective anti-inflammatory. What it does is heal any damage/inflammation caused by Hp bacteria. This article goes into this a bit more detail and the study Why is L-Glutamine metabolism important to cells of the immune system in health, post injury, surgery and infection? looks at the effectiveness of Glutamine in helping soothe inflammation and infections. 

4. Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth 

MooGoo Skin Care
"Small Intestinal what???"
Some researchers have found that certain cases of Rosacea are caused by small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO). As the name implies, SIBO occurs when there is a growth of excess bacteria in the small intestine (in a healthy digestive system, there is only a very small number of bacteria found in the small intestine). A 2008 study conducted at the Department of Internal Medicine of the university of Genoa called Small intestinal bacterial overgrowth in Rosacea: clinical effectiveness of its eradication found that "Rosacea patients have a significantly higher SIBO prevalence than controls."


For this kind of Rosacea, one must first kill off the excess bacteria. This can be achieved using:

Antibiotics are normally prescribed to help treat SIBO. This can be very effective for some people and it is definitely worth talking to your GP about this and there are quite a few internet forums that discuss this treatment such as this one. Keep in mind though the fact that prolonged use of antibiotics can disrupt gut fora, and this is increasingly being linked to other health risks. 

Low Carbohydrate Diet 
This would be perhaps the easiest method of treating SIBO. When you eat carbs, they break down and 'feed' the bacteria. It is recommended that if you have SIBO, try avoiding grains and sticking to veggies, fruit, legumes and protein instead. 

Herbal Remedies 
Rosacea MooGoo Skin Care
Peppermint oil has been found to help eradicate the unwanted bacteria causing SIBO. This is normally taken in a capsule form which opens once it reaches the small intestine and kills off the bacteria within. There are a number of studies that look at the effects of this supplement in treating SIBO:
The treatment of small intestinal bacterial overgrowth with enteric-coated peppermint oil: a case report (Peppermint Oil). 
Peppermint oil (Mintoil) in the treatment of irritable bowel syndrome  a prospective double blind placebo-controlled randomized trial

Other herbal remedies include grapefruit extract, oregano oil capsules, garlic and olive leaf extract however there isn't much research that looks into these. 

Digestive Enzyme Supplements 
Sometimes digestive enzyme supplements are taken to help support the body's digestive enzymes until SIBO is eradicated. They don't directly kill off the unwanted bacteria but rather help the digestive system work properly. 

Probiotics are another popular treatment for SIBO. They are basically live bacteria (that are normally already found in the body). Probiotics may help in reducing the inflammation caused by SIBO, inhibit unwanted bacteria or help the body's digestive functions work more efficiently. 

5. Leaky Gut Syndrome 

Rosacea MooGoo Skin Care
Leaky Guy Syndrome
Leaky Gut Syndrome (LGS) is a very common condition. It occurs when the digestive tract barrier becomes too penetrable thus allowing toxins, allergens and food molecules to pass out of the gut into the rest of the body. When large molecules and toxins leak through, the immune system may identify these as 'invaders' or 'viruses' and respond as it normally would to say the Flu virus. As you can imagine, the leakages occur frequently which may lead to an overactive immune response thus causing inflammation and disease. This prompts other conditions, such as Rosacea, to develop. It is believed by some that LGS is the root cause of Rosacea in some people. 


The best thing to do is treat LGS which in turn reduces the inflammation causing Rosacea. The first thing I would recommend would be to make some nutritional changes and try to identify any possible food allergies. 

Probiotics are commonly used to help repair the intestinal tract and reduce the inflammation caused by LGS. 

Natural Supplements 
There are some supplements that have been found to help treat LGS and reduce the associated inflammation. These include:

1. Glutamine 
This amino acid helps to restore the gut barrier and digestive functions that are impacted by LGS. It also acts as an effective anti-inflammatory. Glutamine: a role in gut protection in critical illness and Leaky Gut Syndromes: Breaking the vicious cycle both look into the effectiveness of Glutamine in treating LGS. 

2. Quercetin 
Rosacea MooGoo Skin Care
Quercetin can be found in fruits and veggies 
Quercetin is a flavonoid derived from fruits, veggies, leaves and grains. It has strong antioxidant qualities which have been found to help soothe the chronic inflammation caused by LGS. It does so by helping improve tissue health of the intestinal wall. By reducing this inflammation  Rosacea and other conditions will be reduced. You can read  up some more on this supplement via: 
GI-Revive, Designs for Health
Leaky Gut Syndromes: Breaking the Vicious Cycle 

If you have made it this far, you would agree with me in saying Rosacea is a very complex topic. There are so many factors that may prompt Rosacea to develop or, in some cases, worsen. My advice to a Rosacea sufferer would be to try and determine what is causing it in the first place. That way you will know how to best treat it. Our MooGoo Demodex Rosacea Powder has so far proven to help those who suffer from Demodectic Rosacea and there are a range of other natural supplement alternatives to help treat the other types of Rosacea if you, like us, prefer to opt for the natural way. 

by Daniella De Azevedo 


  1. I am so happy that you guys have made a product for Rosacea! I can't wait to use it - I've just ordered some from your online store.

    1. Hello Alison, I hope the powder helps soothe your Rosacea! It is currently undergoing a trial in Drummoyne so stay tuned for updates on that. Please let us know how you find it though - we LOVE feedback and would appreciate hearing your thoughts.

    2. Hi Daniella. I've used the rosacea powder a couple of times and the redness and inflamation has dies down so far. So things are looking good! Thanks MooGoo!