Stop Seeing Red!
Rosacea is redness in the cheeks, chin, nose and forehead and can accompany skin sensitivity, swelling, burning, dilated small capillaries and veins. Over 45 million men and woman throughout the world are afflicted with this inflammatory skin disorder which is often misdiagnosed as eczema. Women often try to conceal their redness with foundation but with texture changes and increased sensitivity to skin products, cover-up foundations aren’t always effective and can look cakey.
Why Do I Have Rosacea?
The medical research has several theories about the causes of rosacea. Some science points to the body’s inability to rid of bad bacteria which contributes to stomach absorption issues. Other theories are a slow circulatory system and/or an abundance of demodex mites living on the skin. Excess cortisol from emotional stress can compromise the nervous system is another theory. Unfortunately, there is no cure for rosacea. The good news is we can positively impact symptoms with proven technology and the right products for your skin condition.
Progressive Disease If Untreated
When rosacea isn’t treated, it worsens overtime. The initial stage of rosacea manifests with stinging, unwanted blushing and reactive irritation to specific topical skin care and protective products such as chemical sunscreens. The next stage of rosacea progression is chronic redness with tiny broken visible spider-like capillaries. Some patients can experience papules and pustules. Later stage disease typically reveals dilated veins (often around the nostrils), thickening of skin called fibroplasia and enlarged pores. Remember Karl Malden’s bulbous nose? His memorable schnoze was an example of an untreated, bad case of rosacea. Don’t freak that your skin is destined for this same outcome. With the right diagnosis and patience, there are effective treatments to treat the underlying inflammation, minimize flare-ups and get your skin looking healthier in three to six months.
10 Steps to Reduce Signs and Symptoms of Rosacea
There are oral antibiotics that would need to be prescribed by your physician available to treat rosacea. However, if you can avoid taking medications that can compromise your long term resistance, it might be best to first try the 10 steps I have outlined below to see if you can improve your signs and symptoms of rosacea.
1. Hydrate your skin by drinking 6-8 glasses of water each day.
2. Cleanse your skin with white, milky cleanser.
3. Avoid use of abrasive exfoliates, skin brushes and rubbing with washcloths.
4. Make dietary changes that tend to aggravate rosacea including spicy meals, red wine, alcohol, hot drinks, tomatoes, cinnamon, citrus fruit and chianti cheeses. Improve your gut health with increased fiber rich and prebiotic foods (bananas, onions, asparagus, whole grains, garlic) and probiotic foods (sauerkraut, kefir, miso, and yogurt). Do note that some foods still may be triggers for your rosacea. Experiment and be mindful as to when you skin reacts negatively. Avoiding tobacco use goes without saying.
5. Avoid excessive cold and hot to skin such as hot showers, hot tubs, and long exposure to freezing cold temps and wind. Excessive exercise can also exacerbate rosacea along with certain medications such as blood pressure drugs.
6. Avoid products with irritating skin ingredients with parabens, synthetic perfumes, preservatives and dyes.
7. Apply topical skin vitamins/anti-oxidants such as A, C, E daily to strengthen the skin and give enhanced sun protection.
8. Use sun protection with at least SPF 30+ that has zinc oxide and/or titanium dioxide mineral ingredients. These ingredients reflect UVA/UVB rays off the skin to minimize absorbing the rays and heating the skin that can increase inflammation.
9. Use pharmaceutical grade products that are anti-microbial, stimulate cell proliferation, increase collagen and elastin and provide anti-inflammatory support. Your superhero to treat rosacea is one of the retinoids. Retinoids are a group of synthetic compounds that are derived from Vitamin A. It is best to introduce Vitamin A slowly and build the skin’s tolerance with low levels of concentration and increase concentrations overtime. It is common to experience increased redness, dryness and peeling when you initially start applying Vitamin A but after steady use, these annoying side effects lessen. Regular application of the right retinoid recommended by your esthetician can accelerate the elimination of sebum and inflammation, inhibit keratosis (waxy, thickening of skin), reduce excess bacteria, improve texture, lessen hyperpigmentation and slow the appearance of the aging process. Natural ingredients such as licorice extracts and green tea can also help reduce redness.
10. A series of Intense Pulse Light (IPL) treatments has been clinically proven to be an effective tool in achieving meaningful and lasting rosacea clearance. The benefits of IPL result from shrinking the dilated veins and tiny capillaries. Do your research and find a well-trained master esthetician experienced in treating rosacea. A full face IPL treatment usually costs between $200-$300 each time. When administered with newer equipment, the level of discomfort is nominal with little to no downtime.
I have had frustrated patients come in to see me believing they were doomed to live with “Santa” red cheeks and rough textured skin. Not the case. Following the recommendations above can reduce symptoms to look and feel healthy again.
Stop Seeing Red!