It’s Not Just Occasional Flushing
There’s a big difference between occasional flushing and rosacea. The latter is a long-term skin condition that’s characterised by regular facial redness. Although more than 5% of the population are affected, the diagnosis may be delayed or missed for months – even years – if people don’t see a doctor who recognises the condition. It often starts in our 30s and tends to be more common in those with paler, white skin. That said, those with darker skin tones can be affected too. If your skin feels warm all the time, flushes easily, you have breakouts that acne treatment won’t clear, or any burning when you apply products, please report these to your GP or dermatologist as they may be clues you have undiagnosed rosacea.
Take Note Of Possible Causes
The underlying cause of rosacea remains unclear. The range of possible causes put forward by researchers includes defects in the immune/nervous system and facial blood vessels. It can also be due to an abnormal composition of your skin’s microbes (the microbiome). We may also inherit a susceptibility to developing the disorder as sometimes more than one generation of the same family are affected.
Be Aware Of The Symptoms
One of the first symptoms typically noted is a tendency to flush or blush more easily. With time, sufferers may develop permanent redness of the nose and cheeks along with a multitude of other unpleasant symptoms, such as spots, dilated blood vessels, skin dryness and scaling, burning and stinging, and sensitivity to multiple skincare products. Swelling of the nose or cheeks is called ‘phymatous rosacea’ but this is much rarer. Gritty or sore eyes due to inflammation of the eyelids (blepharitis) can also be a feature in some people.
Prevent Any Aggravations
There are many factors that can aggravate rosacea, including alcohol, hot drinks, spicy food, wind and extreme changes in temperature. It’s a good idea to make a note of when your skin flares up, so you can connect it to any environmental changes or daily habits. Without doing this, you may find it difficult to bring your symptoms under control, no matter what regime or products you use. Though alcohol is a trigger, it’s not one of the most common contributing factors – contrary to popular belief.
Choose Products Wisely
When choosing skincare, keep your routine simple and stick to brands that specialise in sensitive skin. I recommend using a mild cream or gel cleanser for washing your face. Massage it gently into your skin morning and night, before rinsing off with lukewarm water. Try using soft cotton pads or a flannel if splashing with water makes you flush. It’s also key to find a broad-spectrum facial SPF 30 or 50 and apply it every morning, 365 days a year. UV exposure is one of the most common reasons for rosacea to flare up, even in cloudy weather, so this is a product that’s essential.
Seek Out Key Ingredients
Try applying a moisturiser before you go to bed to help calm your skin and support its barrier. Ingredients like azelaic acid can also help reduce the inflammation, redness and spots of rosacea. Layer a product containing this under your sunscreen in the morning and 15 minutes or so before you apply your nighttime moisturiser. Exercise caution with products that contain menthol, camphor, sodium lauryl sulphate and alcohol, or those that are heavily fragranced, as these can trigger flare-ups. Avoid other known skin irritants like acids or retinol unless under the supervision of a specialist. Wherever possible, get testers or samples to try at home before committing to bulk purchases of any new skincare product. Do a patch test on a small area before applying to your whole face if you have very reactive skin.
Do Your Research On Make-Up
There are some excellent foundations and concealers that neutralise the redness of rosacea and can boost skin confidence. I also recommend seeking out creams or formulas with a green pigment as these can also be helpful. Charities such as Changing Faces in the United Kingdom can also provide advice and thorough information on skin camouflage and put you in touch with others who are similarly affected.
Finally, Know All Your Treatment Options
At present, there is no cure for rosacea. However, there are several options that can bring symptoms under control. The choice of treatment depends on the symptoms you have. If flushing is your most troublesome symptom, oral medications otherwise used for anxiety or menopausal flushing may be recommended. As mentioned above, avoiding triggers is also crucial for this type of rosacea. For more severe cases, a course of oral antibiotics may be recommended to reduce breakouts, swelling and inflammation. Courses may be repeated from time to time if you have a flare-up and control can be maintained with prescription creams or gels in between. Above all, advice from an expert or dermatologist will provide you with answers for your individual needs, so always speak to a professional before taking anything into your own hands.
For more information, advice and appointments with Dr Justine, visit her site here.
*Features published by SheerLuxe are not intended to treat, diagnose, cure or prevent any disease. Always seek the advice of your GP or another qualified healthcare provider for any questions you have regarding a medical condition, and before undertaking any diet, exercise or other health-related programmes.