Rosacea is a chronic skin disorder characterized by skin sensitivity, flushing, itching and burning of the face. Pimples can occur in affected areas, which is why the disorder is sometimes referred to as acne rosacea. Severe cases can lead to a thickening of the skin, particularly on the nose (rhinophyma). The cause of the disorder is not fully understood and, as of 2010, there is no cure. Several treatments for rosacea symptoms are possible, including antibiotics, anti-inflammatories and laser therapy. Other forms of symptom treatment include using moisturizers for sensitive skin, taking herbal supplements and/or the topical application of essential oils.
Borage oil is extracted from the seeds of the Borago officinalis plant. It is rich in gamma-linolenic acid (GLA), an essential fatty acid. The body does not naturally produce essential fatty acids and must take them from food sources. Borage oil can be taken as an herbal supplement or applied topically to the skin. Its anti-inflammatory properties are helpful for rosacea; borage oil also reduces reddening. It is also an effective emollient and promotes healthy skin.
Chamomile oil is extracted by steam distillation from the flowers of the plant. The oil contains azulene, which offers superior calming effects. When used for rosacea, the oil soothes the skin and relieves inflammation.
Jojoba oil is really a wax ester extracted from the ground or crushed seeds of the jojoba plant. The structure of the oil resembles the skin’s natural oil, sebum. It is used both as an herbal supplement and in a variety of skin and body care products. It is used for rosacea because of its emollient properties, its non-irritating effects and because it reduces trans-epidermal water loss, thereby helping to keep your skin moist.
Lavender Essential Oil
Lavender essential oil is extracted from the flowers and leaves of the plant through steam distillation. A favorite essential oil for all skin types, lavender essential oil is particularly beneficial to rosacea skin. It calms the skin and has anti-inflammatory properties.
Rose Hip Oil
Like borage oil, rose hip oil has a high concentration of the essential fatty acid, GLA. Essential fatty acids are necessary to the creation and maintenance of healthy cellular membranes, through which nutrients pass into the cells. Rose hip oil is used on rosacea as an antiseptic and to regulate sebum production.
Evening primrose oil is extracted from the plant’s seeds, which are high in GLA content. It is offered as an herbal supplement, as well as a topical oil. Evening primrose oil helps to normalize the barrier functions of the skin, maintains hydration and offers both astringent and calming effects.
Katherine Mariaca is a professional freelance journalist who specializes in alternative and complementary medicine, and skin and body care treatments. A longtime spa director and VP of skin care companies, Mariaca developed products and services for the spa industry. She earned a B.S. from Tufts and an M.F.A. from Lesley.