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Chloe Wilkinson | Naturopath​ | BHSc. NAT

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Treating the gut for rosacea relief

Updated: Mar 22


Rosacea is a common skin condition characterised by red inflamed skin. In part 2 of our rosacea series we will be discussing what role your gut health may be playing in your rosacea and how you can look at treating it internally.


Before we dive in we recommend you jump back to our first article on figuring out if you have rosacea and if so which type you are suffering from.


The rosacea struggle is real. Your skin goes through ups and downs, looking great one day, red and inflamed the next. Dermatologist treatments only offer slight consolation. Natural treatments are long and hard to stick to. But truth be told, you can help your rosacea when you combine therapies and get to the bottom of what is causing it.


Rosacea is a vascular disorder, meaning that blood flow and circulation play a key role. However studies have shown that people suffering from rosacea also have a high incidence in SIBO (Small Intestinal bacterial Overgrowth), Helicobacter pylori infection, coeliac disease, Crohn's disease, hypochlorhydria and gastritis. From a naturopathic perspective we are always drawn to the gut first.


Do you have any of the following symptoms?


Gut Symptoms

  • burping

  • bloating

  • gas

  • cramping abdominal pain

  • altering bowl movements (constipation to diahorrea)

  • bloating from vegetables, fruits and starchy carbohydrates


If you answered yes to any of the above - we need to work on your gut health first.


It is important to understand what your gut root cause is, as treatment will differ for each. Your GP can run a series of test to determine if you have any of the above.


Healing the gut can take time. Here are some general points and things to consider:



Cut out food triggers

Starting with the diet is very important. At a very minimum reducing your intake of gluten based products, cows dairy, processed foods and sugar may give you results. These foods can increase the production of inflammatory cytokines that can affect the integrity of the gut wall. This has further flow on consequences are it reduces the surface area of your mircovili, which line the gut and assist in nutrient absorption.


Try limiting these foods for 1 - 2 months whilst doing the below. You can then begin to slowly reintroduce to see if you have any flare up symptoms. If you are diagnosed with coeliac disease, you will not be able to reintroduce gluten products as they will cause an allergic reaction.



Other common food triggers with rosacea include:

  • fried foods

  • processed meat

  • chillies, hot spicy foods

  • alcohol

  • tomatoes

  • cinnamon


Foods to improve gut health

Our main goals when helping improve our gut health are to bring down inflammation and restore bacterial balance. This can be achieved through your diet.


Anti-inflammatory foods reduce inflammation, which in turn helps balance your immune system. Including a wide variety of foods is key.


Choose from the list below:

  • turmeric

  • berries (raspberries, blueberries, strawberries, blackberries)

  • asparagus

  • green leafy veg

  • Oily fish

  • Nuts (almonds, walnuts, macadamias)

  • Seeds (chia seeds, flaxseeds, hemp seeds)

  • extra virgin olive oil


Balancing your microbiome

The bacteria which lives inside of us is known as commensal. This means we live in harmony, with bacteria helping us to breakdown foods and us helping bacteria to consume and proliferate. However, this balance can sometimes be disrupted when we consume too much of a certain food, leading to an overgrowth of a bacteria. In short, the bacteria in our gut needs us to provide food for it to breakdown in order for it to replicate in a balanced state.


What food do bacteria like?

Prebiotics are foods high in fibre which bacteria ferment in your gut. They are the food for probitoics. By consuming more of these, your healthy bacteria will begin to grow creating a better balance.


Probiotic Foods

  • green leafy vegetables

  • bananas

  • onions, leeks, spring onions

  • asparagus

  • garlic

  • lentils

  • apples

  • whole grains (caution if sensitive or allergic to gluten)



Supplement Zinc

A zinc supplement is almost always warranted with any skin condition. We use zinc in many bodily processes and it is a key player in the integrity and health of our skin. Zinc is also incredibly valuable for the gut, as deficiencies can lead to disrupted gut barrier function and low stomach acid.


Adding in a daily zinc supplement can help restore the lining of your gut.


Zinc deficiency symptoms

  • Loss of taste

  • Loss of smell

  • Loss of appetite

  • Impaired memory/brain fog

  • Low immunity

  • Slow wound healing

  • Diahorrea

  • White spots on nails

  • Depression

Supplementing Zinc Carnitine 40mg a day will help improve your gut lining and have flow on effect for skin integrity and mood.


Caution: zinc must be taken with food. If you take zinc on an empty stomach you may become nauseous.



Here is your checklist


1. Do you suffer from abnormal digestive symptoms such as diahorrea, constipation, bloating, gas and burping?


2. See you GP to rule out SIBO (Small Intestinal bacterial Overgrowth), Helicobacter pylori infection, coeliac disease, Crohn's disease, hypochlorhydria and gastritis.


3. Cut out food triggers. Especially gluten, cows dairy, processed foods and sugar.


4. Restore balance by including pre and probiotics in your daily diet.


5. Take a zinc supplement


Rosacea is a complex condition and can take time to heal. Start with your gut and add in extra therapies where you can. Often best results come when we address both the internal and external.


Sign up to our mailing list here to be the first to receive Part 3 of our Rosacea series 'topical treatments that really work'


About the Author

Chloe is a university trained Naturopath with a passion for cooking real food and not feeling guilty about it! She is also a self confessed skincare junkie and is always trying or researching new and emerging products to recommend to her clients during the healing process. Aside from seeing people in her clinic Chloe is also developing an online skin master class, to help guide people all over the world how to clear up there skin for good! To be the first to know when this course launches, sign up here!





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