How I Cured Rosacea – 6 Steps

Rosacea Cure

When my dermatologist confirmed that I had rosacea, over 2 years ago, I already knew my fate.  As she continued on about the topical and pill medicine she’d be prescribing me to help manage the symptoms, I couldn’t help but feel the heat in my cheeks get worse as a lump in my throat formed.   Uncurable.  Just such a horrible thing to hear, ever.

So I returned home and tried the pills and creams.  After awhile of seeing no relief and worrying incessantly about the chemicals going into my body, I tossed the prescriptions and began scouring the internet for any signs of hope.  And so I began trying every single remedy under the sun, from raw honey on my face (to preperhation H, haha), to drinking apple cider vinegar, to even buying le mer face lotion! It took a few more months before I found a combination of approaches that worked for me. But I never once dreamed of curing it, only ever hoping to manage my rosacea.

And while my symptoms had definitely lessened after a few months on this path, one glass of wine or hot yoga class could put me right back to my worst.  A few more months passed, and I can remember staring in the mirror and thinking that I hadn’t noticed any rosacea in a few days. Then it was a few weeks. And then a few months.  And now it’s been a year, and not one time has my rosacea came back. Seriously.


So here’s what I did, in what I consider order of importance.  However, I truly believe it was a combination of all 6 steps that finally got me Rosacea-free for good.


Real talk.  Your face is a window to your gut.  If you’ve got digestive issues, chances are you’ll see it on your cheeks (not those cheeks).  I know it’s the last thing you want to hear.. and believe me a restricted diet is hard, it nearly feels impossible, but when you’ve hit rosacea rock bottom, you’ll just about try anything.  And that’s where I found myself when I started a gentle 2 month diet consisting of basically only boiled foods:

YES:  Breakfasts of oatmeal with bananas cooked right in there, lunch of baked sweet potatoes, dinner would be some crockpot stew of chicken, rice, veggies and bone broth.

NO: alcohol (ugh), coffee (ugh), dairy, gluten, raw veggies and fruit (especially hard to digest ones like kale!), processed foods, and nothing spicy or too ‘saucy’.

It’s also important to start taking a good probiotic.  I love the brand Garden of life.  And putting fresh grated ginger and turmeric in my morning tea to help with inflammation.

Lastly, you need to keep a food journal.  It’s vital to figuring out your individual trigger foods.  I learned that I couldn’t eat eggs without a reaction (or wine, chocolate, and coffee for that matter). Keep a journal of what you eat, when your face reacts, and your bowel movements (what, I prefaced this whole point with ‘real talk’).  Eliminate any trigger foods immediately.



About 6 months into the worst of my rosacea, I discovered LED facials.  Following a very gentle facial cleanse and massage, the tech places this mask over your face.  Green light pulsates into your skin, effectively calming it.  I am lucky enough to live nearby a spa (Privileged of Beverly Hills) that was running a special for 3 LED facials for $100, so I was able to schedule one every month for nearly a year.  I generally noticed the results within a day or two and felt their effects last for weeks.  Now that my rosacea has subsided, I still get an LED maintenance facial now 2-3 times per year.   On amazon, I have seen LED facial at home light kits.  I’ve never tried using one, but I imagine them to be much less powerful than the salon version.  However, you can use it daily, so maybe the benefits even out.   If you have given the at home light a try, please let me know in the comments!


If you’re putting fragrance and chemicals on your face, exfoliants, peels, acids… whatever…, your face will react.  Rosacea skin is uber sensitive and so dry, but most of all it’s irritated.  We need a face care regiment that’s going to heal, not worsen the problem.  From countless hours and hours pouring through blog posts just like this one, I finally decided to go with Paula’s Choice overnight cream and day lotion.  The line I swear by is specifically designed for dry rosacea or acne affected skin.  It is gentle, soothing and effective.  And seriously, I didn’t get any product from them, I really just feel indebted to the brand for helping me out seriously horrible skin. Another brand I like is Cerave.  It’s hypoallergenic and light on the skin. Both Paula’s Choice & Cera Ve add sunscreen to their day creams, which is essential for rosacea sufferers.  The sun is seriously not your friend.


For face cleanser, I just use Trader Joe’s cleansing oil.  It’s cheap and gentle with no added bullshit.   But at the height of my woes, I wasn’t wearing much makeup to take off at night anyways. Speaking of makeup…



I know you know that thick chemical laden foundations clog pores.  But I also know the feeling that you have to cake on the foundation to even feel comfortable leaving your house.  It’s a vicious cycle.

What I found that worked for me is bb creams specifically formulated to fight acne.  The salicylic acid in the acne-fighting is just enough to help keep irritation down, so your ‘foundation’ will actually be working for you all day instead of working against you.   Doesn’t quite matter which brand you use, but I found success with Maybelline dream BB Pure.



At the first sign of stress, red hot bumps would stretch across my cheeks, burning.  I noticed this especially when I felt anxious to meet a deadline, but also when I was expending all my energy in high-intensity workout classes.  I (grudgingly) switched from cycling, HIIT and crossfit to gentle yoga, stretching, pilates and hiking. I learned to eat mindfully, to take deep breaths, and to finally log more than 6 measly hours each night.



It didn’t take me too long to figure out that sun exposure brought out the very worst in my Rosacea.  What did take a little longer was putting two and two together that my tea was firing up my cheeks from the hot steam.  Try to avoid sun, saunas, steam rooms, extreme heats and even too hot (and too spicy!) foods.





Here’s one of the only before photos I have – I never kept any photos when I was at my worse, but after a comment on this post, I decided to dig through a friends album to pull one up.  This is me, with SO much makeup on trying to cover it, and obviously not having much luck.  My nose is also really swollen at the tip here from the outbreak, which seemed to happen all the time.



  1. Sorry about your condition, I’ve never heard of rosacea before, how do you get it and I assume that it hurt as it doesn’t like the sun

    • chelseagilson Says: November 4, 2017 at 11:00 pm

      It’s got a genetic link and certain nationalities are more susceptible to it than others. It never hurt, but would feel very warm and a very slight burning sensation.

  2. Hi, thank you very much for sharing your story! Are you able now to eat raw food again? All the best for you,
    Greetings Susanne

  3. Susanne Marti Says: October 16, 2017 at 6:07 pm

    Hi, thank you very much for your information about rosacea! What products from Paula Choice do you use? Thank you in advance for your time,

    best regards


  4. Yet, there is no picture of you before and after. I haven’t seen you without make-up, though you claim you have cured your rosacea. I think that, if this was the case, you would have been confident enough to show us a video without make-up on.

    • chelseagilson Says: February 10, 2018 at 9:35 pm

      Hi Andreea, I never kept any photos when my rosacea was at its worse, as I was way too embarrassed about the condition. In this video, I’ve only got light makeup on because it’s under bright lighting, but definitely no heavy cover up, just some mascara, lip gloss and eyebrow pencil! I’m sure I could dig through friend’s albums and find some really bad photos of my rosacea easily, but I always tried desperately to cover it with pounds of makeup and I was incredibly camera shy. My post isn’t sponsored by anyone and I make no money off the content, just trying to share my story in the hopes it could help someone else. I was really depressed and felt hopeless, it’s blog posts like mine that helped me get through it and not feel so alone.

  5. You were ver Lucky.
    My rosacea sometimes itches a lot.
    Mostly when it affects my eyes in an outbreak.
    Thank for sharing your experience.
    I’m gonna try your way.

    • chelseagilson Says: February 10, 2018 at 9:21 pm

      Itching is the worst, so sorry to hear that! Let me know how your journey goes or if you find any remedy that gives you relief!

  6. chelseagilson Says: February 12, 2018 at 11:03 pm

    Okay, I found a rosacea photo. It’s not the worst at all, but you can definitely see the red behind my makeup!

  7. Thank you for your article. I have rosacea for one year and a half now and i look like you on your picture. My nose and cheeks are burning and i am on antibiotics for the bumps. I have to say that it has lead me to depression and it ruin my life quality a lot. Your article gives me hope and i had lost it. Thank you!

    • chelseagilson Says: February 19, 2018 at 4:44 pm

      Hang in there and be patient, I have faith it will clear up for you too. But as hard as it is, don’t let your skin define you – let your personality shine always. And of course, know that you’re never alone! xo

  8. Tina Kjørvel Says: February 19, 2018 at 7:37 pm

    Hi Chelsea
    Thank you very much for your article!
    Your video on YouTube got my attention :).
    I have lived with Rosacea for almost 7 years now. It all started with many years of stress at work. Even thoug I am in my 4th year in a new job without stress, the Rosacea is still there. I noticed though, some improvements of my Rosacea, when getting Reflexology once a month.
    I have planned to follow your 2 months diet and I believe it will do some wonders. No matter what, I think it will do me good. Maybe it will heal some of my other small problems as well 🙂
    One question; Did you boil your drinking water?
    Or does the cooking only concern the food and not the drinking?
    Regarding the other steps you are mentioning, I already follow, more and less, but need to be more careful. Regarding the LED, I think the reflexology is a good replacement for me as it already works fine.
    I am eager to start the diet to see if I finally can be cured.
    Best regards Tina from Denmark

    • chelseagilson Says: February 20, 2018 at 3:16 am

      Hi Tina!
      I only drink alkaline water, it’s a pain, but I have these big jugs I fill up at a water store near my house. I use the water for drinking and cooking because the sink water in Los Angeles is very poor. I drink herbal teas all day long and room temperature water, which has always seemed to help me. Reflexology sounds interesting, I will check it out! Please keep in touch, I’d love to hear about your journey!! all the best, Chelsea

  9. LindseyC Says: March 8, 2018 at 6:39 pm

    Hi Chelsea!

    Thank you so much for posting this article. I’ve had type 2 rosacea for about 2.5 years now … horrible/painful acne on my cheeks (and now my forehead) along with severe redness. Can’t take the constant staring anymore just going to the grocery store lol.

    Ive been to 2 dermatologists (prescribing me mite cream, steroid cream, and by mouth antibiotics) all of which didn’t work. I recently went to an acupuncturist (who told me to eat LOTS and LOTS of kale lol). I went on a diet he prescribed for 7 weeks (gluten, dairy, refined sugar-free, acid-reflux friendly with no nuts or beans. Had to only eat foods beneficial or neutral for my blood type (couldn’t eat things like cauliflower, avocado, mango, bananas or coconut). He told me to STAY AWAY from cooked foods because they cause more heat in my stomach. Suggested i stay away from meat and eggs as much as I could and only eat things that were cooling. high leafy greens, low grains) Saw little to no results. Still had a ton of bumps and a lot of redness.
    Over the years, i’ve tried: not wearing makeup, using things like eczema cream, face masks, rosacea oil blends, vaseline, seabuckthorn cream, thick moisturizers, Prosacea, drinking aloe vera & guava juice … the works. All things that people call “miracle products” *eye roll*

    I’m going to buy the LED facial on Amazon you suggested … i’m at my wits end (my wedding is in 7 months). i’m trying to explore ALL avenues to tame these flare ups! Maintaining a simple easy-to-digest diet right now.

    Can you go into a little more depth of your diet? Did you thoroughly cook everything then let it cool before eating? Did you cook all fruits and veggies before eating? What foods did you avoid the most? What did you eat mostly? Did you ever go to restaurants?


  10. Steve Hale Says: March 13, 2018 at 4:12 am

    Hi Chelsea, firstly excellent work on curing your rosacea. I think it was really brave of you to take the steps you did and just take a leap of faith. And now I’m following. I think rosacea is a symptom of your gut and more than likely Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth. Some articles I’ve read reckon 50% of rosacea sufferers have it. I’ve been to a naturopath and I’m on a low FODMAP diet which has had some results, turns out dairy is a bad one so my rosacea base line is now pretty good, but I still have it and my IBS. Like the last person who left a comment I would love to know detail about your diet. You’ve said that your cure was a mixture of the 6 steps but I bet my bottom dollar that it was diet that was the main thing.

    Thanks and thanks again for your article.


    • chelseagilson Says: March 14, 2018 at 5:13 pm

      Hey Steve, I couldn’t agree more – I believe our face is just a window into our gut/internal health!! Thanks for stopping by! 🙂

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