SO, WHAT IS ROSACEA? UNDERSTANDING & TREATING REDNESS, FLUSHING AND SENSITIVITY
By Morag Cairns, Clinic Manager
In an effort to shed light on different skin conditions, we’re taking you to #skinschool to talk about Rosacea. The condition presents as facial skin sensitivity, redness, flushing, a sensation of heat and small red bumps and is often mistaken for acne.
What is Rosacea?
Rocasea is an inflammatory, chronic skin condition that can affect any ethnicity but predominantly those with fair skin, freckles, celtic and European backgrounds.
Rosacea affects majority females in the age bracket of 30-50 years old.
There are four different sub-types of Rosacea
1. Erythematotelangiectatic (ETR) – this is characterised by visible redness, flushing, broken capillaries, drier skin with little oil, skin that feels hot to touch and may have some swelling and discomfort.
2. Papulopustular (Acne Rosacea) – we can refer to this as a ‘wet’ Rosacea: skin may have little watery vesicles and breakouts alongside redness, flushing, feel hot and uncomfortable.
3. Rhinophima – this type mainly affects males, where the skin on the nose becomes thickened, and can have that bulbous appearance and broken capillaries (small veins). Usually present alongside type 1 and/or 2 above.
4. Occular Rosacea – present around the eyes area. This specific condition requires examination and treatment by an Ophthalmologist.
What do we look for when treating Rosacea?
Firstly, the sad news is that Rosacea cannot be cured. The better news though is that we can help control it, making life more comfortable and manageable.
We do this by calming the skin, identifying triggers, prescribing the correct skincare, looking at the root causes (factors such as is it intrinsic (internal) and extrinsic (external) causes). Intrinsic Factors can range from allergies such as dairy, fish, pollen.
What is your immunity like? We know it’s hereditary, so did either of your parents sufferers of Rosacea? What is your ethnicity/background? Do you suffer with stress?Extrinsic Factors can range from the climate, air conditioning, travel, chlorinated water, make-up, incorrect skincare use, medications and diet.Triggers could include that glass of wine on Friday night after work, coffee, spicy foods, stress, hot showers. All these can contribute to flushing and dilating capillaries.With any skin condition we always want to look at reducing and calming inflammation and redness before we can then move on to the step of healing and strengthening. The first thing we are going to look at is repairing the barrier function of the skin.
What is the Barrier Function?
For our skin to be healthy and functioning well we need to look after the very top layer of the skin, also known as the Acid Mantle. This is made up of layers of oil (lipids) and water and plays an important part in protecting our skin from water loss, protects from us pathogens and bacteria getting in and creates a slightly acidic, happy environment for our cells to grow. It also slows the absorption of skincare ingredients so our cells don’t feel attacked and create an inflammatory response! I like to think of the top layer of our skin (Acid Mantle) as the roof on our house; our cells as the bricks; and the layers of oil and water as the mortar! Take away the roof then everything inside will become damaged and the foundations will crumble! A strong functioning Acid Mantle (Roof) = happy healthy cells, lipids and water (bricks and mortar)!
So, what are the steps to treating Rosacea?
The first step is to get a professional diagnosis from your Dermal Clinician who can take then guide you on the journey to calming, repairing and strengthening your skin. An in-depth consultation will investigate internal and external and triggers of your Rosacea condition. Homecare, skincare, lifestyle and general stressors will all be taken into consideration when creating the best plan for you. Each plan is so individual: you may need to address over-use of products that may be too active for your skin (i.e. overly perfumed or just not suitable for your skin). Or, you may not be using anything at all! In that case we need to introduce a cleanser, calming serums and SPF. My absolute personal favourite for building a strong barrier function is ISSADA NIACINAMIDE + B5, containing Niacinamide (B3) and Panthenol (B5) to decrease inflammation, calm and protect. CALMING PROBIOTIC MOISTURISER is also an excellent to soothe, calm and hydrate Roseacea-skin. Once these factors have been discussed, then a suitable treatment plan can commence.
My favourite treatment for Rosacea skin is LED LIGHT THERAPY. It’s non-invasive (relaxing even!) and uses different colours (wavelengths) to target different depths and concerns of the skin. The red wavelength targets the deepest (basal layers) of the skin, stimulating cell renewal, collagen and elastin. This can be alternated with the yellow wavelength, which heals and diffuses redness in the skin. These treatments can be performed 1-2 times per week for a period of time for optimal results.
But one thing for sure, Rosacea skin needs a lot of TLC!
Some tips include:Always protect your skin from the sun (an absolute given for any concern but especially vital for Rosacea skin types). Wear 50+ SPF and a hat at all times when exposed to UV rays.Don’t over-heat – take cool – lukewarm showers.Keep a damp, clean face cloth in the fridge to use as a cold compress when you flush. Keep it in a sealed bag for post gym/exercise.Look at your current products, smell them! Are they highly perfumed? Strip it back and eliminate them, keep it simple. Avoid ingredients such as alcohol, fragrance and menthol.Diet – highly processed foods can cause inflammation on the skin, keep these to a minimum. Include pre and probiotic type foods, vegetables and oily fish.Try introducing an Essential Fatty Acid Supplement (EFA’s). To benefit the skin a minimum dosage of 3000mg is required. This aids in providing healthy lipids for the cells (remember the brick and mortar for your house)!To discuss your skin concerns, please be in touch. CONTACT US to arrange a virtual or in-clinic consultation.