Rosacea Consultation with Jamie Dunson (@jamieisrawvegan)

As a Nurse Dermatologist I am always interested in speaking to people about their skin journey, and what they have found works for them personally as we are all unique. I chatted with Jamie Dunson who, like me, takes a very holistic approach and was happy to share her inspiring Rosacea journey with all of us. Jamie lives in Vero Beach, Florida:

EMMA:When did you first notice you had Rosacea?
JAMIE: I believe my rosacea started in my teens when I ran cross country and was always the only one with the brightest red face. Then in my early 20’s, whenever I got stressed out the skin on my face would feel warm to touch with a tingling sensation that I now understand to be flushing (back then I didn’t know what it was). I managed to always have clear skin though throughout my 20’s pretty much. People always complimented me on my clear skin, I loved it. 

EMMA: So when did things start to change?
JAMIE: I had developed a couple of small bumps on my nose in my late 20’s (early 2012), and I questioned my doctor. He immediately diagnosed rosacea and prescribed Metrogel. I remember growing up as a teenager seeing rosacea commercials and feeling bad for these people. Who knew I would end up with it? I was so sad. I tried using the cream for a week or two, there was no improvement so I stopped.

EMMA: Ok so the prescription cream didn't help - did you explore other avenues ?
JAMIE: I discovered organic food and the dangers of our food system that same year. I jumped right in and changed how my family ate. Life was good but it was quite stressful. I was a perfectionist and if things didn’t go my way, I stressed. That’s when the acne started. At first just around my nose and mouth area, but it started to spread - I now realise it was PD (perioral dermatitis.) This acne wouldn’t go away for months. Finally I went to a dermatologist and immediately he said the same thing- rosacea. I walked out with a prescription for Minocycline. After just one day, I had a side effect that left me so dizzy, I couldn’t drive. Next thing I know I’m on Doxycycline, which seemed to work at first, but as soon as I had a stressed out moment the acne returned, although there was no inflammation. 

EMMA: Do you think the rosacea was having an effect on your psychological state at this time?
JAMIE: After 12 weeks or so on Doxycycline I ended up feeling depressed. I quit my volunteer position and was bedridden for a month and a half. I couldn’t do much of anything; my children had to fend for themselves and learn how to make easy meals. I remember one time thinking they’d be better off without me, and at that point I knew I needed help. I saw my PCP who prescribed Zoloft. I started to slowly feel better but never like before. After 8 months or so I managed to get myself off the anti-depressants and converted to essential oils. They were helping me, I felt like a new more energetic person. I had a life again. 

EMMA: What other alternative approaches have you tried?
JAMIE: I always believed I would find a cure and would always hunt for it. I started learning about the gut and was spending so much money on supplements. In late 2015 I started the auto immune protocol (AIP), diet and my skin became inflamed at this point - the redness we all know as rosacea. I continued the AIP diet for about 8 months, never got the results I intended and switched to a leakygut protocol in 2016 which also didn’t do much for me - I was still having the flare ups. So I decided to try a semi-raw vegan diet for a month although I was still drinking bone broth smoothies and having cooked sweet potato. The semi-raw vegan diet gave me the best result though. It seemed difficult to eat that way for that month, because I didn't have the knowledge i have now. It wouldn't be until the summer of 2017 that I was finally open to going back to it, and correctly.  Externally, I now also apply dry brushing to my face, take saunas and herbs which have all helped my skin.

EMMA: Did you have any solid proof that these holistic approaches were truly helping your skin?
JAMIE: . Yes - the healthy diets I have explained lasted for exactly a year and then I had a stressful moment and started bingeing on processed foods and junk. That lasted around 7 months and I noticed all the good I accomplished was now being reversed. I had learned that my lymphatic system is backed up and kidneys not  filtering as they should. I also learned that the foods we eat contribute to inflammation and acidosis in the body, animal products being the top contributor of this. This led me to return to my raw vegan diet in July 2017 as I believe that If we stick to a raw food diet we can cure our rosacea, because our bodies will start to truly detox.  

EMMA: Did you notice any immediate healing crisis in your skin when you first changed diet?
JAMIE: Yes - it wasn’t a pretty sight, as my rosacea got real bad but this is normal. The body has to purge. It gets worse before it gets better. I hid in my home for the first 3 months because it was so bad, (I was able to do that since I’m a homemaker!)

EMMA: Have any other health improvements come to light from your lifestyle changes?
JAMIE: Definitely! My spider veins are fading, my grey hair in midgrowth returned to its natural brown color, I lost  weight, particularly around my legs, and I gained a tan by going outside in the sun daily! Finally, I have what is called 'The Vegan Glow' - my skin literally glows in the sun now! A lot of the things I’m doing don’t go well in the rosacea world but that’s what’s awesome about my journey! Skin is one of the hardest things to heal but it can heal, it just takes patience and the right conditions.
You can find my journey @jamieisrawvegan on Instagram.