Skin Care Advice From the Experts: Rosacea
What is Rosacea?
Rosacea is a chronic, inflammatory skin condition which causes the blood vessels to swell and become inflamed. It causes redness on your cheeks, nose, chin, and forehead. Rosacea can also cause burning and soreness to the eyes. Ocular rosacea is commonly seen when the eyes feel dry, burning or sore. If left untreated, the condition may worsen over time.
What are the symptoms and risks of Rosacea?
Facial redness, primarily in the central portion of the face, is the most common symptom. Along with the redness, the face may feel hot and tender. Also, many people who have Rosacea develop bumps on their face that resemble acne. About half of those who have Rosacea also experience eye irritation, dryness and swollen eyelids. In rare cases, Rosacea can thicken the skin on the nose. This symptom commonly happens in men more than women. Although anyone can develop Rosacea, you may be more likely if you are a woman, have fair skin, are between the ages of 30 and 60, or have a family history. Ultimately, if you notice persistent redness on your face, see your physician for a diagnosis.
How is Rosacea diagnosed?
Rosacea is diagnosed by examining the skin on your face. The presence of enlarged blood vessels will distinguish it from other skin disorders. Early diagnosis and treatment is important to control rosacea and prevent its progression.
What causes Rosacea?
Although the exact cause of rosacea is unknown, various theories have evolved. Some theories include: facial blood vessels may dilate too easily, and the increased blood near the skin surface makes the skin appear red and flushed. Various lifestyle and environmental factors can increase this redness response. Acne-like bumps may appear, often in the redder area of the central face. This may be due to factors related to blood flow, skin bacteria, microscopic skin mites, irritation of follicles, sun damage, an abnormal immune or inflammatory response, or psychological factors. Poor diet and inflammation of the gastrointestinal tract has also been reported to exacerbate rosacea. Factors that may aggravate or trigger Rosacea include spicy foods, hot beverages, alcohol, stress, extreme temperature changes, hot baths, strenuous exercise, and some blood pressure medications.
How common is Rosacea?
Rosacea is very common. It is estimated to affect at least 16 million people in the United States alone and approximately 45 million worldwide. Although it is most commonly noticed on people with fair skin, it also impacts darker skin types as well.
How is Rosacea treated?
Unfortunately, there is no ultimate cure for Rosacea. The primary goal of treatment is to control the redness and inflammation. Broad Spectrum Pulsed light devices such as Broadband Light (BBL) has been successfully used to treat Rosacea for many years. Daily use of sunscreen is crucial for keeping rosacea symptoms at minimum and preventing further damage. A treatment moisturizer such as SkinMedica’s Redness Relief Calmplex can help control redness. It uses a unique ingredient, known as CalmPlex, to treat chronic redness. Certain medications can also be prescribed. Medications include ORACEA, Minocycline, and Metronidazole gel. Using a daily routine of medical grade skin care products in conjunction with BBL may yield a huge improvement for those who suffer from Rosacea. Here at Artisan Skin and Laser Center, we work with your dermatologist to help improve and control the signs and symptoms of your rosacea.
If I suffer from rosacea, how should I care for my skin? Should I change my regimen?
If you are suffering from rosacea, your skin care regimen is essential. It is important to select products that are soothing to your skin and won’t cause any irritation. Choosing a gentle cleanser for more sensitive skin types is a great way to prevent any aggravation to the skin. After cleansing, applying a topical antibiotic, such as metronidazole, to the skin can be done to reduce any inflammation. Short-term topical cortisone (steroid) creams may also be applied to reduce local inflammation. Oral antibiotics, such as tetracycline, can also be taken to minimize rosacea symptoms. Avoid moisturizers that contain harsh exfoliating ingredients. Instead, opt for moisturizers that are gentle on the skin and contain ingredients such as ceramides, peptides and other soothing properties. There are moisturizers specifically targeted for redness in the skin that can also be used. Sunscreen applied to the skin everyday all year round is a must even if you aren’t suffering from rosacea. Protection from the sun is so very important for every skin type, but specifically rosacea. The sun aggravates rosacea conditions in the skin, causing it to worsen. Not only does the sun damage our skin, but the heat given off from the sun (infrared) makes rosacea worse. Most sunscreens typically don’t protect your skin from infrared so choosing a sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher that protects against UVA radiation, UVB radiation and infrared is a must. At Artisan Skin and Laser Center, we carry a sunscreen called Total Defense and Repair by SkinMedica. Not only does this sunscreen protect against UVA, UVB and infrared, but it also contains antioxidants which are great for fighting the aging process.
What are some common food triggers that can cause rosacea to flare up?
Diet plays a very important role when minimizing your rosacea symptoms. Certain foods such as dairy, soy, artificial sweeteners and spicy foods can trigger rosacea flare ups. Antacids should also be avoided as they block stomach acids, resulting in the minimization of good bacteria. Starchy and sugar foods also worsen rosacea as they encourage an overgrowth of bad bacteria in the stomach. With rosacea, it is important to minimize the amount of bad bacteria in the stomach and increase the amount of good bacteria. Hot liquids and spicy foods cause dilation of the tiny blood vessels under the skin, which increases the blood flow near the surface of the skin, resulting in a more red and flushed appearance. Some people find that citrus fruits also increase their rosacea flare ups due to the release of histamine. Not only can foods cause flare ups, but drinks can as well, including caffeine and alcohol.