When more than 14 million Americans suffer from a chronic skin condition—a malady too few of us can spell or name—we have a public health crisis. The redness that marks this illness should color many companies with embarrassment because products continue to contain chemicals that harm the skin, aggravate itch and induce an allergic reaction among men and women of all ages. There must be greater awareness of this problem.
The disorder I refer to is rosacea, which often strikes adults between the ages of 30 and 50, resulting in frequent redness or flushing of the face (forehead, nose, cheeks and chin), burning sensations and swelling of the skin. Please note: Rosacea has a disproportionate rate of occurrence among fair-skinned women.
From small red lines under the skin and pustulated bumps across the face to swollen areas along the ridge of the nose and thickening of the forehead, rosacea is more than a cosmetic inconvenience; it is more than a temporary problem—it is not a mild matter—and we must address it with the seriousness it deserves.
This issue is of personal and professional importance to me because, in my role as founder of Kiss My Itch Goodbye®, I seek to foster a more holistic type of skin support that can lessen or reverse the signs of rosacea.
With regard to rosacea, and in terms of furthering a wholesome lifestyle, we need to better educate consumers about the factors that exacerbate this condition—starting with the foods and products that contain chemicals we should all avoid. (Stress and extreme weather, of the kind that currently blankets the Northeast with snow and record low temperatures, can lead to an outbreak of rosacea; but the specific cause of this disorder remains unclear.)
All of which makes me recite a now-familiar refrain: Read the ingredients of the foods and items you plan to buy before you use them.
Nowhere is this rule more relevant than in a simple trip to the market, where processed cheese with its additives and preservatives is a known irritant concerning rosacea. The same is true of citrus fruits, tomatoes, red plums, bananas and figs, which can make rosacea more acute and painful. Include the insecticides that these foods contain or have been exposed to, and every person is vulnerable to harm.
Again, safety begins with action. Meaning: We must not passively accept the ongoing use of chemicals, colorings, dyes and other artificial ingredients that are a threat to good health in general.
Alleviating Symptoms with Action and Knowledge: Being an Informed Consumer
The takeaway theme to this discussion is straightforward, since it concerns being an informed consumer—acting, with confidence and intelligence, to prevent an outbreak of rosacea.
We should acknowledge the severity of this disorder, yes, but we should also do our own personal inventory of the items (starting with beauty products) that irritate and inflame the skin, and undermine quality of life for so many Americans and people worldwide.
For it is this combination of factors—including the use of cosmetics and hair sprays, as well as fragrances with a high concentration of alcohol or other chemical solvents—that should compel us to shop with a conscience, so to speak.
That is, we should be mindful of the goods we purchase and recommend because we can neither afford the financial cost associated with nor the physical expense caused by ignorance. We cannot indulge the willful suspension of disbelief, when we walk the aisles of a supermarket or grocery.
Following these rules is simple. The subsequent rewards—and they are several—will help us combat rosacea with a greater sense of urgency and enthusiasm.
That spirit should extend to promoting health and wellness, now and always. WF
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Posted on WholeFoodsMagazine.com 3/10/15
This piece is not intended to be taken as medical advice. Speak to a healthcare provider to get more information about potential allergies.