Functional Medicine for Rosacea

Causes, Symptoms, & Effective Treatment Options


Rosacea is a chronic inflammatory skin condition characterized by facial redness, flushing, visible blood vessels, and acne-like bumps.

Let’s dive into the causes, symptoms, home remedies, treatment options, and our functional medicine approach to managing rosacea effectively and safely.

What is Rosacea?

Rosacea is a common skin disorder that primarily affects the face, particularly the central areas such as the cheeks, nose, chin, and forehead. It typically begins after the age of 30 and tends to worsen over time if left untreated.

Rosacea is characterized by persistent redness, visible blood vessels (telangiectasia), papules, and pustules. It can also lead to eye problems such as dryness, irritation, and inflammation (ocular rosacea).

Because of its many symptoms and its worsening properties, functional medicine for rosacea is ideal since it uncovers and treats the root cause of this condition.

A woman using functional medicine for rosacea for her facial redness.

Causes of Rosacea:

The exact cause of rosacea is not fully understood, but it is believed to involve a combination of genetic, environmental, and vascular factors.

Common triggers for rosacea flare-ups may include:


  • Abnormalities in the immune system: Dysregulation of the immune system may contribute to inflammation and vascular changes in the skin associated with rosacea.
  • Demodex mites: These microscopic mites that live on the skin may play a role in the development of rosacea, particularly in individuals with an overgrowth of mites.
  • Abnormalities in blood vessels: Vasodilation (widening of blood vessels) and vascular hyperreactivity may contribute to facial flushing and redness in individuals with rosacea.
  • Environmental factors: Exposure to sunlight, extreme temperatures, wind, humidity, and certain skincare products or cosmetics can trigger or exacerbate rosacea symptoms.
  • Genetic predisposition: Family history and genetic factors may increase the risk of developing rosacea.

Symptoms of Rosacea:

Rosacea can manifest in various symptoms, which may vary in severity among affected individuals.

Common symptoms of rosacea may include:


  • Facial redness: Persistent redness or flushing, particularly in the central areas of the face.
  • Visible blood vessels: Small, red blood vessels (telangiectasia) that are visible on the surface of the skin.
  • Acne-like bumps: Papules (small red bumps) and pustules (pus-filled bumps) resembling acne lesions.
  • Thickened skin: In some cases, rosacea can lead to thickened, bumpy skin, particularly on the nose (rhinophyma).
  • Eye problems: Ocular rosacea may cause dryness, irritation, redness, and inflammation of the eyes and eyelids (blepharitis).

What should I try at home before seeing a provider for Rosacea?

Before seeking medical advice for rosacea, individuals can try several home remedies and lifestyle modifications to help manage symptoms and minimize flare-ups.

These may include:


  • Gentle skincare routine: Using mild, non-abrasive skincare products and avoiding harsh cleansers, exfoliants, and toners can help reduce irritation and inflammation in individuals with rosacea.
  • Sun protection: Applying broad-spectrum sunscreen with a high SPF daily and wearing protective clothing, hats, and sunglasses can help protect the skin from sun exposure, a common trigger for rosacea flare-ups.
  • Avoiding triggers: Identifying and avoiding triggers such as spicy foods, hot beverages, alcohol, caffeine, extreme temperatures, and stressful situations can help minimize rosacea symptoms.
  • Cooling treatments: Applying cool compresses or using cooling skincare products can help soothe facial redness and inflammation associated with rosacea flare-ups.
  • Stress management: Practicing stress-reducing techniques such as mindfulness meditation, deep breathing exercises, yoga, or tai chi can help lower stress levels and reduce the risk of rosacea flare-ups.

Best Treatment Options for Rosacea:

Treatment for rosacea aims to reduce inflammation, control symptoms, and prevent flare-ups.

Treatment options may include:


  • Topical medications: Topical treatments such as metronidazole, azelaic acid, ivermectin, or brimonidine gel can help reduce redness, inflammation, and acne-like lesions associated with rosacea.
  • Oral medications: Oral antibiotics such as doxycycline, minocycline, or isotretinoin may be prescribed for moderate to severe rosacea that does not respond to topical treatments.
  • Laser therapy: Laser treatments such as intense pulsed light (IPL) therapy or vascular laser therapy can help reduce facial redness, visible blood vessels, and acne-like lesions associated with rosacea.
  • Ocular treatments: Eye drops or ointments may be prescribed to manage ocular rosacea symptoms such as dryness, irritation, and inflammation of the eyes and eyelids.
  • Lifestyle modifications: Adopting healthy lifestyle habits such as sun protection, avoiding triggers, gentle skincare, stress management, and avoiding smoking can help minimize rosacea symptoms and prevent flare-ups.

Our Process for Treating Rosacea: Functional Medicine for Rosacea

We specialize in the comprehensive evaluation and management of rosacea to help individuals achieve clear, healthy skin. Our approach involves a thorough assessment, including a physical examination, medical history, evaluation of rosacea severity and subtype, and assessment of triggers and lifestyle factors.

Based on the results, we develop personalized treatment plans tailored to each patient’s specific needs, goals, and preferences. Our team of experienced dermatologists, estheticians, and skincare specialists collaborates closely with each patient to address the underlying causes of rosacea and develop an individualized treatment approach.

We prioritize patient education, empowerment, and support throughout the treatment process to ensure the best possible outcomes and long-term success in managing rosacea.

Functional Medicine for Rosacea: Final Thoughts

Rosacea is a common chronic skin condition that can have a significant impact on self-esteem and quality of life, but with the right approach, it is manageable. By understanding its causes, symptoms, triggers, and treatment options, individuals with rosacea can take proactive steps to achieve clear, healthy skin.

Whether through topical medications, oral treatments, laser therapy, or lifestyle modifications, managing rosacea is possible with the guidance and support of skincare professionals.

With our comprehensive approach to treatment led by Dr. Kayla Milano, we are dedicated to helping individuals with rosacea improve their skin health and regain confidence in their appearance.

We are currently accepting patients worldwide.