The Best Ways to Manage and Treat Rosacea
How to Keep Chronic Redness and Inflammation Under Control
We all know that feeling when embarrassment sets in and your cheeks heat up and turn red, or maybe your skin had a reaction to an irritating skincare product. Regardless of the reason, redness in the skin is completely normal. But what happens when your flushed cheeks become a permanent fixture?
This could be a sign of rosacea.
What Is Rosacea and What Causes It?
Rosacea is a chronic skin condition that usually affects your face and neck. The root cause is largely unknown, but contrary to popular belief, rosacea is not caused by poor hygiene. Recent early research has shown that symptoms could stem from the overproduction of two inflammatory proteins, resulting in abnormally high levels of a third.
In reality, rosacea can be caused by a combination of hereditary and environmental factors. It most commonly causes redness and dilated (visible) blood vessels, but in more severe cases, rosacea can also produce small pimples or pustules. In some cases, you may notice a thickening of the skin or a rougher or “calloused” texture – most commonly the bridge of your nose. In cases affecting your eyes, you may experience inflammation of your eyelids or the soft tissues surrounding the eye.
Rosacea is not life-threatening. Often, chronic skin conditions like rosacea often take more of a toll on your self-esteem and confidence than they do on your physical health. Not only does seeking out treatment for rosacea help to relieve the uncomfortable symptoms, but it also helps improve your quality of life.
Are There Any Risk Factors?
A risk factor is something that increases your chance of getting rosacea. It is possible to contract rosacea without any risk factors at all, but the more risk factors you have, the more likely you’ll be to develop rosacea. Common risk factors for rosacea include:
- Your gender. Women have a higher chance of developing rosacea, however, cases among men tend to be more severe.
- Your age. Adults between the ages of 30 and 60 and women approaching menopause have a higher risk for developing rosacea.
- Your family history. Sometimes, rosacea is hereditary and is common among families.
- Your skin tone and ethnic background. Rosacea occurs most often in people with fair skin of Northern or Eastern European background, although it can develop in people of any skin tone, in all ethnic groups.
- History of acne. A history of severe or cystic acne significantly increases your risk for rosacea.
Can You Prevent Rosacea?
If a lot of the risk factors listed above sound familiar, or if it runs in your family, you should consider asking your doctor what can be done to reduce your risk of contracting rosacea down the road. There are several things you can do to reduce your risk, but there’s no way to prevent it with 100 per cent certainty.
Dermatologists have discovered a condition commonly known as ‘pre-rosacea,’ which can be seen in people under 30. If you’ve been diagnosed with pre-rosacea or are at heightened risk, using gentle, protective skincare products, protecting your face from sun damage and avoiding rosacea triggers are all great places to start.
How to Treat Rosacea:
Topical treatments are creams and ointments that can be applied directly to your skin. Several treatments are available, and your doctor may recommend one or more of these products to keep your rosacea symptoms under control.
Depending on your condition, you may not notice major improvements for several days or even weeks. Topical products can sometimes cause mild dryness or irritation of the skin, but these side effects tend to be pretty manageable.
Your doctor may recommend ivermectin, azelaic acid, brimonidine or other products to help you manage and prevent flare-ups. Some are prescribed, but others are available over the counter.
Dermatologists have found ways to treat rosacea symptoms with various laser technologies. Laser treatments can manage redness, reshape thickened or rough skin and even reduce the appearance of spider veins caused by rosacea. They use heat from wavelengths of light to painlessly collapse the visible red blood vessels and generate new, healthy skin.
Depending on the symptoms you’re looking to treat, you could benefit from different types of laser therapies, including fractional laser, laser genesis, focus skin revitalization and laser vein therapy.
Intense Pulsed Light therapy, also known as a photofacial, involves light-emitting tools that treat skin conditions like rosacea. IPL may help reduce redness caused by rosacea, as well as the appearance of dilated blood vessels or spider veins. It can also smooth and refresh the skin by gently stimulating your body’s natural collagen production.
A number of factors can trigger rosacea flare-ups. It is important to discuss with your physician whether any medications you’re taking might be reacting with your rosacea – these can include harsh acne medications and even certain blood pressure medications.
Triggers can vary from person to person, depending on the severity of your rosacea. However, the most common things to avoid include:
- Hot drinks and spicy foods
- Alcoholic beverages, especially red wine
- Exposure to rapidly changing or extreme temperatures
- Prolonged sunlight or wind
- Heightened emotions such as stress, anger or excitement
- Exercise and excessive sweating
- Drugs that dilate blood vessels
- Harsh or irritating cosmetic/skincare products
Skin Care Tips for Managing Rosacea:
Cleanse and Moisturize Every Day
Depending on your skin type and the specifics of your condition, rosacea can either you’re your skin dry or oily. Either way, it’s important to cleanse and moisturize up to twice a day. Many patients with rosacea don’t cleanse and moisturize their skin nearly enough.
Cleanse your face using a gentle, non-irritating cleanser shortly after you wake up in the morning to clear the dirt and oil that accumulate during sleep. Rinse with only your fingertips using lukewarm water and make sure you thoroughly remove the cleanser. If any residue remains on your skin, it can cause irritation.
Applying an unscented, rosacea-friendly moisturizer at least once a day will trap water in your skin, reducing irritation and making your skin feel more comfortable all around. This can also improve the results you see from treatment.
Year-Round Sun Protection
Damaged skin and blood vessels on your face caused by frequent or prolonged exposure to the sun can irritate your rosacea-prone skin and cause a serious flare-up. Yes, even in the winter. Avoiding the sun altogether may be unrealistic, but wearing a hat and applying a sun lotion of at least SPF30 every time you go into the sun – even in the winter – can go a long way in keeping your rosacea symptoms under control.
Use Gentle Skin Products & Avoid Irritants
When you have rosacea, your skincare routine will likely require a major overhaul, as many skin care products and cosmetics can irritate your skin. Regular cleansing, moisturizing and sun protection can help reduce this sensitivity, but you may want to pick up a habit of checking the ingredients list before you buy.
You should avoid products containing alcohol, fragrance, lactic or glycolic acid, urea, menthol and other irritants. A good rule of thumb is to always go for a cream rather than a gel or lotion. You should also skip astringents and toners during your makeup routine.
Although rosacea doesn’t pose a threat to your physical health, like any chronic skin condition, it sure can do a number on your self-esteem.
Whether you’re a seasoned rosacea patient looking to keep your symptoms under control or are simply questioning whether you might be developing the condition, it all comes down to being diligent in protecting and taking care of your skin, finding the right products and avoiding common triggers like exposure to the elements and alcohol.
There are several potential options to keep your skin looking fresh and to keep you feeling confident. Make an appointment with a licensed dermatologist at SKINS Derma Care today to find the perfect treatment plan for you!