Considering rosacea affects an estimated 415 million people worldwide, it seems like a topic that needs to be spoken about.
What Is Rosacea?
Rosacea is a common chronic skin disease and unfortunately, the exact cause is unknown and still being studied. However, many studies suggest it may a combination of an abundance of bacteria and skin mites! followed by the inflammatory response. But don't worry, both are present in all human skin it's just found in greater numbers in those with rosacea.
Rosacea is categorised by redness, swelling, broken blood vessels, stinging/burning of the skin and eye area and sometimes cystic acne. These symptoms are typically found in the center of the face starting at the nose and extend outwards on the cheeks, chin, and forehead.
Rosacea often runs in families, it tends to more common in women, people with fair skin/light eyes and usually appears or is diagnosed between 30-50 years old but not unusual to appear in the 20's.
Have You Got It?
It's recommended to see a dermatologist. Estheticians are trained to recognise and treat the symptoms of rosacea. It's common for doctors to misdiagnose rosacea for broken blood vessels and vice versa. So see a professional.
Types Of Rosacea
There are actually four different subtypes of rosacea and can manifest differently in different people.
Erythematotelagiectatic Rosacea - Visible blood vessels with redness and flushing
Papulopustular Rosacea - Cystic acne breakouts with redness and swelling.
Phymatous Rosacea - Bumpy skin texture with thickening of the skin
Ocular Rosacea - Eyelids can be swollen, eyes red and irritated and it may look like a sty.
Depending on the severity and how much it affects a person there many different combinations and multi-treatment approaches to treating the symptoms. Sometimes short-term oral antibiotics are prescribed in combination with topical prescriptions to jump-start the treatment plan in addition to gentle consistent home care with skin care products.
The most common topical treatments are Rx strength azelaic acid and Metronidazole gel commonly known as Metro gel. For people that suffer from rosacea with acne sometimes low strengths of tretinoin cream or sulfur facial cleanser are prescribed. Intense pulsed light (IPL) or pulsed dye lasers (PDL) treatments often yield fantastic results in addition.
Skincare + Other Treatments
Topical and oral probiotics are a great addition to a rosacea treatment plan. In this study by Leonard B. Weinstock, MD suggests that in half of the rosacea study participants there is an intestinal bacterial overgrowth in the small intestines. Interesting right?
"In an Italian study, half of the patients were administered an oral probiotic supplement in addition to their standard acne and rosacea treatment. The other half of patients did not receive the probiotic supplement. The probiotic group experienced a better clearing of acne and rosacea symptoms."
So yet again, probiotics for the win! Topical probiotic skin care products also are shown to help since they deliver straight to the source. This is a favourite of many -Biossance.
Below is a compiled and handy list of "yes" and "no" ingredients, types of skin care products and good habits that have been shown to help treat the symptoms of rosacea. Since everyone has their own unique skin and body chemistry, treatment approaches will be individual and working with a dermatologist is a great idea.
Gentle enzymes are the best exfoliation method for rosacea
Green tea extract
Hemp seed oil and/or CBD oil
Resveratrol - antioxidant
Use minimal products and stay consistent with the products that work for you.
After cleansing, pat dry (instead of rubbing) with a clean cotton towel.
Since sun exposure is the #1 trigger for rosacea flare-ups, W E A R I T. Mineral sunscreens are best for rosacea that contain zinc oxide, titanium dioxide, or both.
Green primers, or colour correctors balance out redness before applying a mineral based foundation which is best for rosacea.
Physical exfoliating scrubs/polishes
Anything with charcoal
Sodium lauryl sulfate - found in most cleansers, shampoos and toothpastes
Foaming cleansers - can be too drying/harsh
Topical steroids like hydrocortisone cream
AHA and BHA
Hydroquinone (skin lightener)
Peppermint, menthol, camphor and/or eucalyptus essential oils
We know this is not what anyone wants to hear but there are food, weather and lifestyle triggers for rosacea. If you are newly diagnosed we recommend keeping a journal of personal triggers to find out what truly affects you individually.
Weather triggers are the sun (#1 trigger,) wind, humidity, extremely hot or cold weather.
Lifestyle triggers can be steam rooms or saunas, hot tubs, hot showers/baths and stress/anxiety. Luke warm water is best. Little to no steam during a facial is suggested.
Food/Beverage Triggers Could Be...
Alcohol - especially red wine, beer, bourbon, gin, vodka or champagne (alcohol dilates blood vessels.)
Thermally hot drinks - hot drinks heat the back of the throat and produce facial flushing
Cheese (except cottage cheese)
Yeast extract (bread is OK)
Beans- lima, navy or pea
Citrus fruits, tomatoes, bananas,
red plums, raisins and figs