Demodex mites were discovered in 1841 and are tiny little microscopic mites which live all over our bodies… all of us. This may seem gross but it’s not, it’s just part of our evolution and part of life. We never see them or know they are there. They eat our dead skin cells and for most of us never cause a problem. Many years ago, scientists discovered a connection between rosaceans and a higher population of demodex mites on their faces. There is also research which shows an increase in demodex mite population on acne skin as well. Now they don’t know for sure if the mites are causing the rosacea or if the mites are there because of the rosacea, but either way, if you have Subtype II with red marks, papules, pustules, and enlarged pores, chances are you would improve tremendously by controlling the mite population on your face.
While many people, including myself, have success addressing the demodex mite population on their faces, there are dermatologists and medical doctors who don’t believe there is any correlation between rosacea and demodex mites. Unfortunately this leaves many people struggling for a solution, when it could be very easy. Please keep in mind that ANY demodex mite treatment works by killing the population of mites, and this may cause your rosacea to get worse before it gets better. (This did not happen to me.) Many people give up before giving the treatment a chance to work because if they see worsening at all, they panic and stop.
Some signs of a demodex mite reaction are red dots or bumps on your cheeks upon waking, sandpaper feel to your skin, and Type II (papules and pustules.) Also ocular rosacea and cycles of worsening symptoms are signs you may do well with a natural demodex mite treatment.
The current treatment for demodex mites is prescription Soolantra which is usually very effective. There are also natural alternative options which must be used carefully, as certain skin types will react differently to different products.
Ultimately, it would be most effective to simultaneously address both internal inflammatory issues as well as demodex mites topically. Eventually a person with rosacea would like to get to a place where they no longer need a demodex mite treatment because they are no longer reacting to mites. (This was the case for me.) If you choose to only use a topical demodex mite treatment, you will likely improve the texture and pustules on your skin, but will not see a significant change in the redness or flushing. Addressing internal inflammation through dietary changes and cleanses will be the most effective long-term option for controlling both rosacea and demodex mites.
If you’re like me, you’ve probably been eating bread, crackers, pizza dough and cereal since you were a kid. Maybe, like me, you never reacted to it either.
Bread was one of the only things I could eat without an immediate flare-up. Unlike peppers, salsa, wine or tomatoes which would cause instantaneous, hot redness gushing into my cheeks, bread never seemed to have that effect. Just to be sure, I discussed it with my doctor and had a celiac test and allergy tests performed. I was actually kind of disappointed to hear that the results were all negative. Part of me was hoping if I was positive, I’d finally have an answer to my rosacea. Surprisingly, I did not have any allergy, sensitivity or intolerance to gluten whatsoever. Not only that, I did not have a food allergy, sensitivity or intolerance to ANY food.
The reason I continued to be suspicious about the foods I was eating was that every time I had the flu and was very ill for days, meaning there was nothing left in my stomach or intestines, my skin would clear up. I mean drastically clear up. I would still have generalized pinkness and a sandpaper feel to my skin, but the bumps and flares were gone. Then I would go back to my normal diet, and things would immediately return to a state of chronic rosacea.
In December 2019 a friend convinced me to try a 30 day clean eating program which forced me to completely eliminate dairy and gluten for the full month. I was extremely skeptical due to all of my negative test results, but I stuck to the plan and the progress to my skin was very surprising. I saw a significant improvement in my symptoms, enough to want to continue.
This prompted me to begin researching dairy and gluten, and WHY they are so problematic, even for someone who is NOT sensitive to them. What exactly was going on?
Gluten has a story to tell. It turns out gluten is a mixture of two proteins and is found in barley, rye and wheat. The more glutenous the grain, the more gooey and stretchy (and yummy) the bread. Prior to 1940, grains were grown and harvested in the natural state. In the 1940s, geneticist Norman Borlaug discovered he could cross-breed different varieties of wheat to produce a shorter, stalkier type of wheat which could hold more kernels. America wanted to produce more wheat to ship all over the world, so they did. The new cross-bred variety was lower to the ground and needed more pesticides, and more pesticides meant more depleted soil. The new variety of wheat was called “dwarf wheat” and today is referred to as “frankenwheat.” Today almost all wheat has been genetically modified, even nonGMO wheat. The only wheat which has been untouched by geneticists is an ancient grain variety, which usually comes from another part of the world and can be grown in America under strict organic guidelines. The wheat is then harvested and ground using original techniques like stone grinding, not machine grinding.
But let’s look at the big picture. The biggest problem is, humans have been evolving for 7 million years. Our diets have consisted mainly of plants, barks, flowers, fruits, vegetables, herbs, insects, meats, fish, and the occasional grain. For 7 million years.
Now consider what’s happened in the last 100 years. Not only have we drastically changed what we’re eating, we’re changing the actual food itself. The American diet today consists mainly of boxed cereal, toast, milk, bread, pasta, grilled cheese, pizza, chicken nuggets, more bread, crackers, chips, and soda. And fast food. Kids are being raised on Eggo waffles, mac & cheese, pizza, and Lunchables. The wheat is not only genetically manipulated, it’s literally grown in glyphosate (RoundUp). Throw in the occasional packaged fruit cup or fruit gummy as a fruit serving, and the day is complete. This is NOT what humans were meant to eat.
Consider the chart below to see the dramatic rise in glyphosate usage beginning in 1990.
The big problem here is inflammation. When your gut becomes damaged over time from medications, mucus inducing foods, (dairy), gluten, pesticides, cortisone, etc., it can no longer break down food and therefore no longer absorb nutrients well. This leads to three things: chronic gut irritability, malnutrition, and a poor immune response. Eighty percent of your immune system is housed in your gut, so when your gut is compromised, your immune system will suffer. Research tells us that rosacea is often related to two things: systemic inflammation and a compromised immune system. It is no coincidence that people who focus on gut healing frequently see a drastic improvement in their rosacea symptoms. Is there a connection? Absolutely.
This past year has been a major wake up call to my whole family. After I saw the changes that happened to my skin and to my overall health, I could no longer serve the pesticide grown/nitrate-filled/chemically-processed/bleached/colored/sweetened “foods” to my children and husband. We bought tons of organic produce, organic meats, and Einkorn flour to make our own bread. There was definitely a transition period where we struggled to find good recipes, but we found TONS of foods we loved, especially for my daughters. They now eat about 8 fruits per day, including kiwi, mango, pineapple, dragonfruit, pomegranate, watermelon, coconut, avocado, wild blueberries, and many others they’d never even tried before. We make our own gluten free banana bread, sweet potato fries, and have switched from dairy milk to coconut milk and almond milk.
The results are incredible. My husband lost a total of 60 lbs and he’s never gone to the gym. This is through clean eating alone. (Clean eating is not a diet. It’s making specific, consistent choices to the foods you are buying and eating.) My daughter’s constipation finally went away for the first time since she was born, as well as her eczema and chronically chapped hands. My other daughter has had a fructose intolerance for 5 years, and it’s finally healed to the point where she can eat a party cupcake without being doubled over in pain. This journey for our family has truly been life changing.
I would encourage you to experiment with gluten-free foods for at least a month and see what happens. For some of you there will be no change, but for many of you, the elimination of gluten will allow the gut healing process to begin. When your gut is not bombarded with gluten at every meal, it can begin to regenerate the cell wall and produce the enzymes necessary for food breakdown and nutrient absorption. When your liver is not overburdened by detoxifying glyphosate, nitrates, coloring, flavoring, caffeine and synthetic sweeteners at every meal, it can begin to break down the toxins that are already waiting to be processed.
Not all rosacea has a link to gut health. Most cases do, but not all. I have met a handful of patients who have no gut issues whatsoever, (meaning no constipation, no IBS, no diarrhea, no upset stomach, no food sensitivities, no SIBO, no leaky gut, no h.pylori, no parasites, etc.) and for them, their rosacea had an underlying causes which was not one of the most common ones. If you partake in a gluten free diet for a month and do not see any change in your rosacea, I would encourage you to consider other underlying causes.
Rosacea healing takes time. I can’t emphasize this enough. Two weeks of a new diet plan is not enough time to heal rosacea.
While gluten is often a contributing factor in a rosacea diagnosis, it is usually just one piece of the puzzle. There are multiple other factors involved, ranging from dormant viruses to chemical exposures to negative thought processes. Problems with the inner workings of your body are what caused the rosacea to appear in the first place; healing must start on the inside, and the results will show in your skin, given time.
To learn more about the underlying causes of rosacea, and how to heal, consider enrolling in one of my programs or courses.
Chronic infection can be one of the underlying reasons for rosacea because with any infection that goes untreated, the body must constantly fight to keep you healthy. A lot of your body’s energy will be focused on clearing out/containing that source. This often occurs with dental surgeries/extractions. Many patients have told me that their rosacea symptoms first appeared after a tooth extraction or root canal. Often when teeth are removed, complications can arise such as dry socket, nerve injury and disrupted sinus communication/infection. Sometimes tiny tooth chips can be left behind, also causing infection. If these are not dealt with, your immune system will become chronically taxed, and will be unable to fight viruses, allergens, pathogens, etc. effectively. This leads to chronic inflammation, which leads to rosacea.
Root canals are another common source problem which some dentists are finally starting to recognize as problematic. Root canals involve removing a decayed or infected tooth, where the nerve and pulp are removed and the inside of the tooth is cleaned out and sealed. Often the inside of the tooth is not cleaned out properly and bacteria remains, which is then placed back in the socket for the bacteria to proliferate. The problem is when the “dead” tooth is placed back in the mouth. If one of your fingers had frostbite and “died” you could not leave that finger attached to your body or it would poison your entire body. Some believe the same is true with root canals.
There are at least 5 ways a root canal can cause problems:
Infection inside or outside of the root canals
Extruded root canal filling causing an immune response
Accumulation of cholesterol crystals that irritate the tissues
Cystic lesion where the root canal is done
Scar tissue healing of the root canal site
Dr. Weston Price has done extensive testing on root canals and the bacteria that is left behind. One study tested the effectiveness of root canal cleaning procedures and found endotoxins and pathogenic bacteria in 100% of root canals. The cleaning procedures can clear up to 44% of these bacteria, but the bacteria always persist. According to Dr. Price, “many of these bacteria are naturally present in the mouth, but they only become a problem when we are infected with them. When they grow in the root canal, the anaerobic conditions inside the root canal can cause these bacteria to become more dangerous. In addition, the ecosystem of these bacteria can make them even more dangerous.”
Research consistently shows that infections of the mouth and teeth can cause systemic inflammation and disease throughout the entire body.
Dr. Price believes root canals can cause a host of medical issues ranging from heart disease to cancer. In my short time treating rosacea patients, I have already encountered three who told me their symptoms began shortly after a root canal. Coincidence? I doubt it. A holistic dentist can help by removing the infected tooth or decay and replacing it with a ceramic bridge or titanium post, which both appear to be better options than a root canal.
If you’re familiar with Anthony William (Medical Medium) then you’ve heard of the problem with heavy metals. He believes they are the underlying cause of hundreds of ailments ranging from psoriasis to Alzheimer’s to thyroid conditions. When I first heard this theory I didn’t give it much thought. (This was back when I thought rosacea was a skin condition.) After all I’ve learned in the past 10 months and all the people I’ve witnessed get better after years of rosacea, I do think heavy metals play a role. Mercury is the biggest offender, followed by aluminum, lead, copper, etc. We are exposed to these metals daily in our water, medications, vaccines, canned food, soda cans, cookware, deodorant, medications, makeup, lotions, shampoo, etc. Ugh. Now a small amount of heavy metal exposure is manageable, but the problem is we are no longer eating the foods necessary to purge these metals out of the body.
Heavy metals most often land in our liver, gut and brain. They stay there, accumulating over time. Heavy metal deposits in the brain are the main cause of dementia and Alzheimer’s. Heavy metal deposits in the liver are one of the underlying causes of rosacea. So how do we rid our bodies of these metals? There is a combination of ingredients recommended by Anthony William which is very effective. I started making smoothies last fall with all the ingredients when I considered the possibility of this being the underlying cause of my rosacea. These ingredients all work in harmony to latch on to heavy metals, carry them to the kidneys and colon, and get rid of them! The problem is I don’t like taking the time to prepare everything, so I came up with an alternative: a heavy metal detox drink. It turns out that 4 of the 5 critical ingredients are already in the Greens Balance powder I use daily. (Spirulina, Chlorella, Barley Grass Juice Powder, Blueberries). I then add a scoop of cilantro powder or eat cilantro during the day, and I’m done.
I knew this detox was working when I started to have sore gums. I couldn’t figure out what this was from so I would go a couple of days without the greens, and my gums would stop hurting. Then when I did the greens again, within a few hours my gums would start to ache. It finally occurred to me that it was probably the mercury in my amalgams. They ached on and off for a few weeks, then finally stopped aching. Many people experience headaches the first few weeks of doing a heavy metal detox, but I always see all side effects as a good thing. They are temporary, and they are a reminder that you are on the right path.
I plan to have this daily drink for the rest of my life, along with my liver detox tea and probiotic. While I’ve already purged the majority of toxins, chemicals and heavy metals that were overwhelming my organs, I want to keep my liver happy for maintenance. So a daily greens drink and a cup of detox tea are certainly within reason.
If you would like to make your own smoothies, the best ingredients are:
-Cilantro, wild blueberries from Maine, Atlantic dulse, spirulina, chlorella, and barley grass juice powder. There are a few other substitutions that can be made, but those are they key ingredients.
This is also an excellent daily drink to give kids (35 fruits and veggies!) or elderly who may be showing early signs of dementia. While you may not see results right away, over time, why NOT detox heavy metals from the body?
What role, if any, do emotions play in a chronic skin condition?
A BIG ROLE.
I always suspected this was true, but after the remarkable healing that took place before my eyes from December 2019 to April 2020, I had to re-assess what actaully happened.
Yes, I did a 30 Day Cleanse which started the ball rolling on gut healing and liver detoxing. Yes, I treated the surface of my skin with a sulfur cream which killed the demodex mites and allowed skin healing to take place. Yes, I consistently took a daily greens powder and added the correct ingredients to make a phenomenal heavy metal detox drink. Yes, I DRASTICALLY changed my diet from a “healthy” diet of bagels, pizza, and iceberg lettuce to organic, nonGMO foods, a HUGE variety of fruits and veggies, and a non-gluten and non-dairy approach.
But what else did I do?
I knew there was a connection to anger/deep resentment and some buried emotions. In Chinese Medicine, these emotions in particular are “stored” in the liver. And if you’ve been reading my site for a while, you know I talk about the liver/rosacea connection A LOT.
I figured there must be some sort of suppressed emotion going on in my liver. I’ve never considered myself to be an angry person; in fact I’m quite happy, positive, and forgiving. Yet there had to be something I was missing.
One day I read a quote a friend had posted, and it struck me.
I heard someone say “Don’t cross oceans for people who wouldn’t cross a puddle for you,” which I thought was good advice. But then someone spoke up and said “NO, do it, do cross oceans for people. Love all people, no conditions attached. No wondering if they are worth it. Life and love aren’t about what you gain, they’re about what you give.” And I changed my mind.
I thought about that quote all night, and how I’d always been the type of sensible person who “wouldn’t cross an ocean for someone who wouldn’t cross a puddle for me.” It was a mentality I’d developed as a child, a mentality of do things for others… who deserve it. A mentality of “you scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours,” an eye for an eye, etc. It occurred to me that this wasn’t actually who I was, it was an acquired behavior I thought I was supposed to follow.
What would happen if I shed that belief and started doing things for others simply for the joy I could bring to them? Looking for nothing in return, just GIVE. What a freeing way to live. Stop holding people in judgment, stop keeping tabs, stop being angry at people.
I’ve heard incredible healing stories from authors like Luise Hay and Georgie Holbrook. In Georgie’s book The Rosacea-Acne Natural Remedy she discusses her own miraculous rosacea healing based on a profound change in her thought pattern. These stories are incredibly telling. The mind is capable of so much more than we realize, including the healing of physical ailments.
In the past year I’ve been in contact with hundreds of you, guiding you through the healing process. Some of you see remarkable progress right away, while others take much longer. Some people come to me with the cleanest diet on the planet, and have already done the detoxes, cleanses, pure products, and yet still have ongoing symptoms after months and months. In these cases it would seem there has to be an emotional component that hasn’t yet been addressed.
Looking back at my own healing journey, it’s now clear to me that a significant mental shift took place in the midst of my progress. As I watched my gut, thyroid, and asthma heal unexpectedly, I became thankful for what rosacea had done for me. Rosacea made me acutely aware of my own health and how the dietary choices I’d made and environmental exposures I’d had had drastically impacted my body. It also made me consider my thought patterns and certain criticisms I often felt towards others. Rosacea forced me to re-evaluate my diet, my relationships, my life, and the way I view the world. For that, I am forever thankful.
I am encountering this more and more as a physician, and it is very disturbing. When I was first diagnosed with rosacea 20 years ago, I was 25 and was told I was very young. Back then the typical age of onset was late 30s. Now I’m meeting more and more girls in their early 20s with rosacea, and yet even younger teens who’ve just been diagnosed with rosacea.
What on earth is causing this disease to present itself earlier and earlier? What is causing the rampant eczema that almost every baby I know has?
In my opinion it has to be the amount of toxins, chemicals and heavy metals our children are being exposed to since the time they’re born. Baby formula? The first ingredient is usually high fructose corn syrup followed by canola oil. Baby lotions…. have you ever read the ingredients? How about shampoo? Baby wash? Sulfates, fragrance, color, parabens, petrochemicals. How about our water? It’s full of dissolved solvents like medications and heavy metals. Baby food? Try reading the label on a jar of baby food. Is there actually any food in there? What about vaccines? It’s well known they have mercury in them, the most toxic metal on the planet.
Almost ALL skin conditions come from problems in the liver. Often problems in the liver come from overexposure to chemicals and a compromised gut. A compromised gut often occurs after a round of antibiotics. (The child will often feel ill after eating and may become chronically constipated.) This cycle will go around and around, becoming worse as the child gets older. A compromised liver will not produce the necessary bile to break down foods for proper absorption. This leads to vitamin deficiencies. By the time the child is ten she will already have irritable bowel issues, skin sensitivities, possibly allergies and asthma, as well as food sensitivities. Medical doctors will prescribe Miralax, steroid inhalers, allergy medicine, and topical steroid creams, all of which will continue to destroy the inner lining of the gut and causes more toxic load on the liver. These are band-aid solutions. These will not address the root cause of the problem.
Finally the teen will present with rosacea and everyone will be surprised. Unfortunately, the dermatologist will prescribe topical antibiotics and more steroid creams. The problem will get worse and could now involve acne. The teen will be told this condition is incurable, and her self esteem will plummet.
This is beyond cruel, when there IS a solution.
To heal, you must strip back the layers, one by one, and address any underlying gut or liver issues. This involves major changes to the diet (no gluten, no dairy) as well as gut HEALING foods. Next, the liver must be addressed.
The good news is that children are remarkable healing machines. (Compare the time it takes your child’s cut to heal compared to your own cut.) When small changes are made in the home and to the child’s diet, amazing things happen very quickly.
My own daughters were a bit skeptical when I started making changes to our family’s foods last winter. I was reading, researching and learning about the problems with our genetically modified, pesticide sprayed food and also the problems with dairy and gluten. The trick is to get your kids involved at young ages. Let them cook with you, make smoothies with you, and come up with recipes they’d like to try. This past summer my daughters planted and tended their own herb garden, and ate from it daily. They LOVE coconut milk and almond milk. Their favorite dinner is coconut curry chicken. We make almost everything from scratch… no more boxed or processed foods.
The results: my husband lost 30 pounds effortlessly, my rosacea, hypothyroid, asthma, allergies, and IBS all healed 100%, my daughter’s fructose intolerance healed, and we no longer have childhood issues of nightmares, anxiety, constipation, upset stomach. My daughter’s chapped, dry, eczema sensitive skin is 100% gone.
Changes takes time, but remember that small changes over long periods have a compounding effect.
For more information on your specific case, please make a virtual appointment with me through my Consultation link.
Dr. LePine graduated from Dartmouth Medical School and is Board Certified in Internal Medicine, specializing in Integrative Functional Medicine. He is an Institute for Functional Medicine Certified Practitioner. Prior to joining The UltraWellness Center, he worked as a physician at Canyon Ranch in Lenox, MA, for 10 years. Dr. LePine’s focus at The UltraWellness Center is to help his patients achieve optimal health and vitality by restoring the natural balance to both the mind and the body. His areas of interest include optimal aging, bio-detoxification, functional gastrointestinal health, systemic inflammation, autoimmune disorders and the neurobiology of mood and cognitive disorders. Dr. LePine teaches around the world, and has given lectures to doctors and patients at American College for Advancement in Medicine (ACAM), Age Management Medicine Group (AMMG), the University of Miami Integrative Medicine Conference, The Kripalu Center in Lenox, MA, and is on the faculty for American Academy of Anti-Aging Medicine (A4M). Dr. LePine is the head of the Scientific Advisory Board for Designs for Health and a consultant for Diagnostic Solutions Laboratory. He enjoys skiing, kayaking, hiking, camping and golfing in the beautiful Berkshires, and is a fitness enthusiast.
I recently went to my hairdresser, who is my favorite hairdresser in the entire world. She is only 23 and already developing rosacea. She started to notice it a few years ago, and now it’s become worse and includes bumps/pustules on her cheeks. Over the years we’ve shared advice about our common skin condition, but when I saw her last month (with my newly clear skin) we had to have a long discussion.
It was partly due to the amount of time I’ve spent in salons talking about rosacea which led me to think back to when my rosacea really started. It was when I was in chiropractic school. I had anatomy lab for a year which was full of formaldehyde. I worked part time at a dry cleaners, and I bartended at night (before smoking was banned in restaurants.) So my chemical exposure was pretty high at that point: formaldehyde, PERC, and tobacco smoke. I was also under a lot of stress and not sleeping a lot, so it’s hard to say the chemical exposure caused my rosacea, but I think it was definitely a contributing factor. This brings me back to my hairdresser. She is very young to have rosacea. She breaths a multitude of chemicals in the salon, from formaldehyde to nitrosamines to toluene. Now there are many people who spend their lives working in salons or dry cleaners who never develop rosacea, but each person’s body handles chemicals differently, and some people are just better equipped to process and release these toxins. I do know that when I did a liver/spleen detox, followed by a heavy metal detox, my skin cleared up significantly. On a side note, I had a very significant Herxheimer reaction three days into the spleen detox, similar to those in treatment for Lyme disease. This only reinforced my belief that my body was suffering from a major chemical overload.
None of my theories can ever be proven; this is simply what I experienced and what I believe contributed to my rosacea. There is a fantastic documentary called TOXIC BEAUTY which discusses in great detail the amount of chemicals we are exposed to in everyday beauty products such as lotions, makeup and shampoo. This is particularly true in America where only 11 chemicals are banned from cosmetic products, compared to the EU where 1300 chemicals are banned. In common American store bought brands you will find mercury in our face cream, lead in our lipstick, and formaldehyde in our shampoo. We use these products every day, year after year. I would be shocked if this exposure didn’t play some part in our very high cancer rates, autoimmune disorders, and of course, rosacea. Thankfully there are companies like Arbonne who make it their mission to provide safe products to their customers. Arbonne actually takes the EU directive a step further and bans over 2000 ingredients from their skin care, hair care and makeup.
Since my rosacea has now pretty much disappeared, (and I am on no medications) my goal is to continue to limit my chemical exposure and live a healthy, clean life. This means examining the cleaning products I use, the foods I ingest, and the products I use on my skin and hair.
I would urge anyone suffering from rosacea to think about when your symptoms first appeared. Had you recently moved/changed your job/started school? Were you living in a home with mold, near a factory, or working in a place where you breathed in a lot of toxic air? If so, it would be very helpful to consider a liver/spleen detox using the protocols outlined in my website. As I explained to my hairdresser, this is only one component of the rosacea puzzle, but it is significant. And it could be the one thing that puts you on the path to finding your cure.