Despite affecting one in ten people, experts still can't quite figure out why rosacea, a skin condition, rears its ugly head. Theories range from sun damage to genetics and even an allergic reaction to tiny skin mites (demodex mites) that naturally sit on the surface of the skin. We're here to break down everything you need to know about rosacea - from why it happens to effective treatments.
Skinstitut Expert Zoe Devine, answers all your questions on reducing rosacea.
Firstly, What Is Rosacea?
Rosacea, or acne rosacea, is a non-contagious skin inflammation that exclusively affects the face. The small surface blood vessels (capillaries) of the skin enlarge, giving the appearance of a permanent flush. The forehead, cheeks and chin may develop yellow-headed pimples. Unlike acne, rosacea does not scar.
What Are The Symptoms Of Rosacea?
"There are 4 different subtypes for rosacea and the symptoms will vary across the subtypes along with the susceptible individuals," Zoe explains.
Facial redness (erythematotelangiectatic rosacea): Flushing and persistent redness is the common denominator here. For some, they will notice small blood vessels more visible or more rarely; stinging, burning, swelling or roughness.
Acne rosacea (Papulopustular rosacea): Persistent redness is seen in addition to bumps (in the form of papules or pustules). Middle-aged women tend to be the typical sufferer of this type.
Phymatous Rosacea (enlargement of the nose): Note, this form is quite rare and usually affects males. Includes thickening of the skin and enlargement of the nose from excess tissue.
Ocular Rosacea (irritation of the eye): Eye symptoms can involve watery or bloodshot eyes with irritation and burning or stinging. The eyelids may also become swollen, and styes are common. Most commonly rosacea sufferers have a combination of facial redness with visible capillaries and redness with bumps.
What Is The Cause Of Rosacea And How Can They Be Avoided?
"It’s difficult to prevent rosacea from occurring, however, there are underlying causes and trigger factors (outside of genetic predisposition) that you can be aware of." Below Zoe breaks down what to look out for.
Be wary of, "low stomach acid and low pancreatic enzymes, heliobacter pylori in the stomach, poor digestion, hormonal imbalances, possible overgrowth of the skin mite (demodex folliculorum)."
Certain risk factors can flare up and exacerbate rosacea for some, including, as Zoe explains: "Excessively warm environments (hot bath, sauna, overheating), weather (sun exposure, strong winds, high humidity, cold), alcohol consumption, hot drinks, emotional stress or anxiety, certain foods (dairy, chocolate, spicy foods)."
How Can You Prevent Rosacea Or Manage Its Effects?
According to Zoe, rosacea can be prevented by looking out for several lifestyle factors: "Limit high intake of alcohol and coffee (or other acidic foods), increase intake of fresh foods such as cucumber, apples, lettuce, celery, bananas and melons, limit smoking where possible, minimise excessive stress by adopting relaxation techniques, adjust the diet to improve overall digestive health."
What Are The Key Ingredients To Help Prevent And Improve The Appearance Of Rosacea?
"It’s difficult to prevent rosacea from occurring, however, you can incorporate topical solutions for red, sensitised or inflamed skin that work to de-stress and strengthen the skin." Below, Zoe breaks down the best products for those suffering from rosacea, including for those with sensitive skin.
B Vitamins - (B3 & B5)- assists in reducing redness, inflammation and sensitivity. B3 (niacinamide assists to strengthen the skins barrier function and the skins immune defence). Skin care products like Skinstitut Enzymatic Micro Peel & Multi-Active Mist are both loaded with B vitamins.
Vitamin C – is a powerful antioxidant vitamin that helps to strengthen the skin and capillary walls, useful when vascularity is prominent. Multi-Active Mist contains a gentle form of Vitamin C that is suitable for rosacea-prone skins.
Canadian Willowherb – boasts a powerful anti-inflammatory action. This plant extract possesses anti-bacterial and antioxidant activity plus also assists to reduce redness and heat within the skin. You can find Canadian willowherb in Skinstitut Laser Aid & Moisture Defence Normal Skin.
Cucumber seed oil – nourishes and hydrates the epidermis while providing and soothing action for the skin. Skinstitut Gentle Cleanser & Laser Aid use cucumber seed oil.
Azelaic Acid - azelaic acid is often recommended for people dealing with acne, rosacea, and pigmentation issues. Research suggests it can help lighten the skin to manage hyperpigmentation issues by indirectly destroying melanocytes, which are the skin cells that produce melanin.
Is It Possible To Have Professional Treatment Of Rosacea?
Hailed as one of the most effective ways to treat rosacea in severe cases, laser therapy like pulsed dye laser (PDL) and intense pulsed light (IPL) are laser treatments that use targeted narrow beams of light to kill off the dilated visible blood vessels that cause flushing, with minimal damage to the surrounding area. Alternatively, there are LED therapy, which is recommended for its anti-inflammatory benefits. Always see a doctor or dermatologist for a proper diagnosis, especially if suffering from severe rosacea.
Visit the National Rosacea Society for more information.