Options available for treating rosacea

ND. Kali Simmonds comment@theguardian.pe.ca
Published on November 5, 2013

Question: What do you recommend to treat rosacea?

Answer: I recommend trying an elimination diet that excludes gluten, cow dairy and refined sugar for two weeks.

Topically, I have found oil of oregano cream or lotion to be the best but don’t go close to your eyes.

It is also possible that you may have low stomach acid. A betaine HCl test will tell you quickly if your stomach acid is too low. Many people take medication to inhibit the production of stomach acid which can give relief locally, especially if one has a hiatal hernia where the stomach slips up through your diaphragm leaching its contents into your esophagus.

Normal stomach acid pH is 2-3 (1 being the most acidic, 7 is neutral and 14 is the least acidic or most basic) whereas the esophagus is much less acidic at a pH of about 6. So even a stomach that lacks acid can cause GERD or gastroesophageal reflux disease.

Ironically, low stomach acid may be causative in the development of the hernia leading to the reflux then to an acid inhibitor which in that case would be perpetuating the original cause. While you can have relief from making your stomach acid more similar to the pH of your esophagus, it is not meant to be that way and improper pH levels will result in problems in protein digestion and a failure to signal the liver and pancreas to secrete bile and digestive enzymes. As a result, you can gain bloating, gas and abnormal bowel movements.

Question: Every year once it gets cold and for the whole winter I get eczema on my hands and face. Any ideas why I only get this during the cold season?

Answer: There are more things that are educated guesses then absolutes when it comes to understanding why our bodies express as they do.

You take on the role of detective looking for associations.

So, it sounds like you connect to the cold which can be drying and your essential fatty acid requirements can go up as well as water intake as the environment acts as an external stressor.

I would also be considering what else changes, if anything, in your diet, your surroundings, lack of sunlight, more clothing and so on.

Halloween brings mega sugar consumption for many. In many cases one might feel that you just get rid of the Halloween candy and Christmas parties start up with more sugar, even just in the form of alcohol, especially beer and wine.

If it is truly eczema then it is usually has an allergic component and I would link cow dairy as the most common, but any food allergen can potentially cause or contribute to eczema. To help keep inflammatory responses under control the body can use Omega 3, in particular EPA to produce anti-inflammatory prostaglandins to counteract the inflammatory prostaglandins. For this I prefer an omega 3 product with 90-95 per cent omega 3 content and 500mg or more of EPA and GLA 240mg.

Topically, for those who are also, or mostly after a quick fix or cream substitute then cream with curcumin in it is my favourite.

Kali Simmonds, ND is a doctor of naturopathic medicine who practises in Charlottetown. The information provided is not intended to diagnose or substitute the advice of your healthcare professional. Please consult with your healthcare provider before making any changes. She welcomes questions for this column, which is published every second Tuesday in The Guardian. She can be reached by mail at 34 Queen St., Charlottetown, C1A 4A3 or by email at kali@drkalisimmonds.com