April is Rosacea awareness month. Let’s look deeper into this skin condition to understand it better.
What Is Rosacea?
Rosacea is a skin condition that occurs when your face appears to be blushing and/or little red bumps that look like acne may cause redness and broken blood vessels.
What are the symptoms of Rosacea?
Often the first sign is redness, that may appear like a blush or sunburn across the nose, cheeks, chin and other areas of the face. Other symptoms may include red, watery or swollen eyes. Flare ups happen often, so getting treatment from a dermatologist can certainly help calm symptoms before they get unbearable. Also, changes to your lifestyle and environments can certainly lessen the symptoms over time.
What Causes Rosacea?
Although the cause of rosacea is unknown, genetics play a big role. Other possible causes include defects in the immune, nervous or vascular systems specifically problems with blood vessels in your face. Mites (demodex folliculorum) and a type of gut bacteria (H.pylori) may also cause rosacea. People who are fair-skinned and blush easily are more likely to have it. Symptoms often begin in adults between the ages of 30-50 and are predominantly women.
Although rosacea is not preventable, there are things you can do to avoid flare-up and decrease the severity of the symptoms. These are triggers to look out for:
- Direct sun
- extreme weather, hot or cold
- strong winds
- harsh skin care products (topical steroids)
- exercise or sweating
- stress or anxiety
- certain intolerable foods
What are the possible treatments for rosacea?
Ideally, a proper diagnosis from a physician will help determine the severity of your rosacea. Your doctor may give you a prescription of Brimonidine, or Isotretinoin, depending on your symptoms. Other medicines may include special antibiotics in the form of pills, gels or creams. An example of over the counter medications is Azelaic acid or retinol. These are applied topically.
These treatments may take up to a few months before you see any noticeable improvement.
You may also want to try some esthetical treatments such as laser, dermabrasion and electrocautery.
At home skin care tips for people who have rosacea
- Use a mild, rosacea friendly cleanser (they should be alcohol, fragrance and witch hazel FREE)
- Moisturize every day. Especially in cold weather. The wind and the cold can dry your skin. Moisturizer helps hydrate your skin by trapping water in your skin.
- And last but certainly not least, never leave home without applying sunscreen. Sun can worsen rosacea and is one of the most frequent causes of flare-ups. Choose a sunscreen that contains broad spectrum (UVA and UVB rays) ideally SPF30 or higher.
Other helpful tips:
- Wear a hat in the sun that covers your face
- A calming facial massage may help calm the redness and improve blood flow
- Using a green-tinted face cream may help counteract the redness
- Try to stay indoors when it is extremely hot
- Red and irritated eyes can be soothed with mild eyelid cleaner and warm compresses
- Eat a clean diet. Include foods such as fresh fruits, vegetables and lean meats and avoid processed foods as much as possible.
- Avoid stress and embarrassing situations. Seek help from a counselor if this becomes overbearing.