The Ultimate Guide to Rosacea: Everything you need to know about Rosacea and how to treat it.


The Ultimate Guide to Rosacea: Everything you need to know about Rosacea and how to treat it.


By Emily Ruse,  Deputy Registered Manager


Rosacea affects one in ten people, is triggered by almost everything in modern life, and is, as far as we currently know, incurable. It is a chronic inflammatory dermatosis, which globally affects 1 to 22% of the world’s population, with higher percentages seen in western countries. Despite all of this, experts still struggle to find the root of the cause of this rosy ailment. So, what exactly is Rosacea and what can be done to treat it?

Despite the fact Rosacea is a fairly common skin condition, experts still struggle to put their finger on what exactly causes rosacea to rear its rosy head. The numerous theories range from UV exposure to genetics, a hyperactive immune response and even an allergic reaction to tiny skin mites which naturally set up on the skin’s surface and inhabit the pores. Inflammation breaks down the skin’s elastic tissue over time, leaving it vulnerable. So, the earlier you address the problem, the better.

In surveys by the National Rosacea Society (NRS), nearly 90% of rosacea patients said this condition had lowered their self-confidence and 41% reported it had caused them to avoid public contact or cancel social engagements.

Rosacea causes more than just a red face. There are many signs (what you can see) and symptoms (what a person feels) of rosacea. It has been revealed that 47% of rosacea sufferers hadn’t heard of the condition before diagnosis, and 95% knew almost nothing about the warning signs.

 

Look out for the symptoms

Flushing

This is caused by a rapid increase of blood flowing through hundreds of dilating vessels, making them expand. It will usually occur around the centre of the face, chin and forehead. Studies have shown that when exposed to heat or stress, people with rosacea will have greater blood flow and sweating response than people without the disorder.

Persistent redness

This is rosacea’s most recognisable symptom – unlike flushing, the redness remains.

Bumpy skin texture

This is the reason rosacea is linked with acne. The difference is that instead of blackheads and whiteheads, which signify true acne, these bumps and spots can be solid (papules) or pus-filled (pustules).

Visible blood vessels

These form in clusters and occur when dilated blood vessels lead to thread-like, or ‘spider’ veins.

Burning or stinging

This is a very common side effect which is closely linked to oversensitive and easily irritated skin.

Dry, Gritty, Swollen eyes

This may be a symptom of ocular rosacea and should be taken seriously as it requires immediate medical attention. Occasionally it can be the first sign that you may develop the facial type of rosacea, so seeking advice early will be beneficial in the long run.

Thickening skin

When your face appears lightly inflamed, this is a result of thickening tissue linked to phymatous rosacea. Around the nose area, it is known as ‘rhinophyma’, although this is rare and often other symptoms of rosacea will have appeared first.

Learn your triggers

Although rosacea is currently incurable, knowing what triggers your flare-ups will help to get redness under control. Triggers such as the sun, spicy food, heavy exercise, stress, coffee and red wine may aggravate the condition, causing it to flare up. You can help to ease your symptoms by identifying and avoiding those triggers. Begin recording your rosacea flare-ups in a diary noting what you ate, what you did and what products you were using when your symptoms appeared. This way, you should be able to recognise a pattern. If, for example, alcohol seems to be the common denominator, try eliminating it for a month and monitor how your skin responds.

When using a new product on your skin, always test it on a small area of skin first to see how it responds. If the area burns, stings, tingles or causes any irritation you will then know to avoid using the product. Keep your routine simple and don’t use too many products. Calming formulas rich in antioxidants will be your best friend.

Treating Rosacea

If you experience persistent redness of your face, it is important to see a Dermatologist for a proper diagnosis and treatment to prevent it from getting worse or becoming too difficult to manage. There are numerous treatment options and preventative measures (especially in the form of lifestyle changes) for rosacea. These include topical creams and ointments, prescription medication, Lasers, IPL and skin care.

Topical applications of ointments and creams: can control the inflammation of mild and moderate Rosacea. These include Metronidazole and Azelaic acid.

Oral antibiotics: are helpful for the control of the inflammation, pimples and bumps of moderate or severe rosacea.

Laser and IPL treatments: Laser can effectively reduce extensive redness and skin inflammation; correct any nose disfigurement and eradicate visible blood vessels or ‘spider’ veins.

LED light: is well known for its healing and calming properties. It is ideal for mild rosacea or can be used in combination with other rosacea treatments.

Skin care products: A gentle skin care routine can be invaluable in helping to control rosacea. In general, non-irritating skin care products are advisable and protection from sun exposure by using a strong sunscreen is also very important.

 

Every rosacea case is different, and the signs and symptoms of the condition are vast which is why it’s important to seek help and advice from a qualified medical professional. There is no cure for rosacea, but you can successfully control it. Making some lifestyle changes and learning to treat your rosacea flare-ups will not only prevent the rosacea from worsening, but it will also make living with rosacea a lot easier.

 


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