What is rosacea?
There are four components to rosacea:
- flushing/persistent redness
- blood vessels
- acne pimples
- thickened skin tissue
Rosacea usually develops over a long period of time. It often begins as a tendency to flush and blush easily, and it progresses to persistent redness of the cheeks, forehead, chin, and nose or a sensitivity to cosmetics. With time, small blood vessels and acne pimples may appear on and around the reddened area. In more advanced cases, the oil glands enlarge causing an enlarged red nose and puffy cheeks. This is known as rhinophyma and occurs less commonly in women.
The eyes can be involved with rosacea. Usually, it manifests as dryness and burning of the eyes. If you have rosacea please notify your eye doctor at your next eye exam.
Why am I developing rosacea now?
Those most likely to develop rosacea are fair-skinned adults between the ages of 30 and 50. Most people who get rosacea seem to flush or blush more often than the average person. The exact cause of rosacea is still unknown.
What should I do?
Rosacea is a chronic condition, and that means the symptoms may come and go in cycles and fluctuate in their degree of severity. Controlling the causes of flushing and blushing can help prevent rosacea from getting worse and blood vessels from getting larger. In order to prevent progression, try the following:
- Rosacea is worsened by the sun. Practice good sun protection. You should wear sunscreen every day of the year, even during the winter months. The sun’s rays go through windows, so we are all exposed to a significant amount of sun each day just driving in our cars. The most effective sunscreen has at least 6% zinc.
- Avoid rubbing, scrubbing or massaging the face. Rubbing will tend to irritate the reddened skin.
- Exercise in a cool environment. Don’t overheat. Use a fan. If your face is turning red while you are exercising, consider taking a break.
- Avoid food or drinks that make your face turn red. Some examples may be caffeine, spicy foods, and alcoholic beverages. Although alcohol may worsen a case of rosacea, symptoms may be just as severe in someone who doesn’t drink at all. This condition has been unfairly linked to alcoholism in the past.
- Rosacea makeup: Avoid irritating cosmetics and facial products, especially those containing alcohol. Aftershave and glycolic acid are abrasive and can irritate your rosacea.
- Keep a diary of flushing episodes and note associated foods, products, activities, medications or other triggering factors. Try to avoid these triggers.
Rosacea cannot be cured, but using a good skin care regimen faithfully can give you much clearer skin and actually help keep your symptoms from coming back. When left untreated, rosacea will get worse and may be more difficult to treat. Part of the treatment is preventative efforts taken by following the above advice. In addition, we may prescribe gels, creams, or oral antibiotics. It takes at least 6 weeks of using the medication to make a judgment on whether or not it is working. Since rosacea can’t be cured, once your symptoms have cleared up, you will need to continue using your daily therapy. Without this regular therapy, your symptoms may return. Studies have shown that of patients who stopped treatment many had a relapse of symptoms within one week to six months. However, of those who stayed on daily therapy, 77% were very satisfied with their results.
Your skin care regimen will not take away your baseline redness and blood vessels. However, we have the laser technology at Skin Solutions to treat you successfully. Your insurance considers laser a cosmetic benefit, so it will not cover these treatments. Our rosacea patients are thrilled with the results they achieve with laser treatments. If you would like more information, call our cosmetic consultant for an evaluation appointment.
At Skin Solutions Dermatology, we consider it our job to teach you how to control rosacea flares and minimize redness so that you can choose the makeup of your choice. However, a sheer green-tinted primer is a good choice for a makeup base — it can help visually correct redness and even out skin tone.
The following is a more comprehensive list of things that may exacerbate your rosacea. It is unlikely that you will react to everything on this list, but try to avoid the things that do make your rosacea flare.
- Strong winds
- Hot baths
- Simple overheating
- Excessively warm
- “Lift and load” jobs
- Alcohol, especially redwine, beer, bourbon, gin, vodka, or champagne
- Hot drinks including hot cider, hot chocolate, coffee, or tea
Skin care products
- Some cosmetics and hair sprays especially those containing alcohol, witch hazel, or fragrance
- Topical steroids
- Any substance that causes redness or stinging
- Dairy products including yogurt, sour cream, and some cheeses
- Chocolate and vanilla
- Soy sauce and vinegar
- Vegetables including eggplant, tomatoes, spinach, lima and navy beans, and peas
- Fruits including avocados, bananas, red plu,s, figs, and citrus fruits
- Hot and spicy food