Considering rosacea affects an estimated 16 million Americas and 415 million people worldwide, it seemed like a topic that needed to be talked about!
What is rosacea?
Rosacea is a common chronic skin disease and unfortunately, the exact cause is unknown and still being studied. However, many studies suggest it may a combination of an abundance of bacteria and skin mites (I know!) followed by the inflammatory response. But don't worry, both are present in all human skin it's just found in greater numbers in those with rosacea.
Rosacea is categorized by redness, swelling, broken blood vessels, stinging/burning of the skin and eye area and sometimes cystic acne. These symptoms are typically found in the center of the face starting at the nose and extend outwards on the cheeks, chin, and forehead.
Rosacea often runs in families, it tends to more common in women, people with fair skin/light eyes and usually appears or is diagnosed between 30-50 years old but not unusual to appear in the 20's.
I highly recommend seeing a dermatologist since a doctor is the only one that can properly diagnosis. Estheticians are trained to recognize and treat the symptoms of rosacea, but we definitely can't diagnosis the skin since it's out of our scope of practice. And over the years working in the facial room, I can't tell you the number of clients I have self and misdiagnose rosacea for broken blood vessels and vice versa. See a doctor for a proper diagnosis!
Different types of rosacea
There are actually four different subtypes of rosacea and can manifest differently in different people.
Erythematotelagiectatic Rosacea - Visible blood vessels with redness and flushing
Papulopustular Rosacea - Cystic acne breakouts with redness and swelling.
Phymatous Rosacea - Bumpy skin texture with thickening of the skin
Ocular Rosacea - Eyelids can be swollen, eyes red and irritated and it may look like a sty.
Treatment of rosacea
Depending on the severity and how much it affects a person there many different combinations and multi-treatment approaches to treating the symptoms. Sometimes short-term oral antibiotics are prescribed in combination with topical prescriptions to jump-start the treatment plan in addition to gentle consistent home care with skin care products.
The most common topical treatments are Rx strength azelaic acid and Metronidazole gel commonly known as Metro gel. For people that suffer from rosacea with acne sometimes low strengths of tretinoin cream or sulfur facial cleanser are prescribed. Intense pulsed light (IPL) or pulsed dye lasers (PDL) treatments often yield fantastic results in addition.
Skincare + Other Treatments
Topical and oral probiotics are a great addition to a rosacea treatment plan. In this study by Leonard B. Weinstock, MD suggests that in half of the rosacea study participants there is an intestinal bacterial overgrowth in the small intestines. Interesting right? Then on the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology website this....
"In an Italian study, half of the patients were administered an oral probiotic supplement in addition to their standard acne and rosacea treatment. The other half of patients did not receive the probiotic supplement. The probiotic group experienced a better clearing of acne and rosacea symptoms."
I have compiled a handy list of "yes" and "no" ingredients, types of skin care products and good habits that have been shown to help treat the symptoms of rosacea. Since everyone has their own unique skin and body chemistry, treatment approaches will be individual and working with a dermatologist is a great idea.
The rosacea "yes" list
- Azelaic acid
- Gentle enzymes are the best exfoliation method for rosacea
- Green tea extract - I love the Green Tea Protective Serum and Protective Cream from 100% Pure
- Aloe vera
- Hemp seed oil and/or CBD oil
- Resveratrol - antioxidant
- Ice rollers
- Use minimal products and stay consistent with the products that work for you
- After cleansing, pat dry (instead of rubbing) with a clean cotton towel
- SUNSCREEN - since sun exposure is the #1 trigger for rosacea flare-ups, W E A R I T. Mineral sunscreens are best for rosacea that contains zinc oxide, titanium dioxide, or both.
- Green primers or color correctors balance out redness before foundation.
- Mineral based makeup is best for rosacea.
- Topical and oral probiotics
The rosacea "no" list
Physical exfoliating scrubs/polishes
Anything with charcoal
Sodium lauryl sulfate - found in most cleansers, shampoos and toothpastes
Foaming cleansers - can be too drying/harsh
Topical steroids like hydrocortisone cream
AHA and BHA
Hydroquinone (skin lightener)
Peppermint, menthol, camphor and/or eucalyptus essential oils
Avoid hot baths/showers, saunas and steam rooms
Avoid washing your face with hot water - luke warm is best!
Little to no steam during a facial and request your esthetician to cool the hot towels to slightly warm before using them on your face.
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I know this is not what anyone wants to hear but there are food, weather and lifestyle triggers for rosacea. If you are newly diagnosed I recommend keeping a journal on personal triggers to truly find out what affects you individually.
- Sun (The #1 trigger!)
- Extremely hot or cold weather
- Steam rooms or saunas
- Hot tubs
- Hot showers/baths
- Stress and anxiety
- Alcohol - especially red wine, beer, bourbon, gin, vodka or champagne (alcohol dilates blood vessels.)
- Thermally hot drinks - hot drinks heat the back of the throat and produce facial flushing
- Spicy Foods
- Sour cream
- Cheese (except cottage cheese)
- Soy sauce
- Yeast extract (bread is OK)
- Beans- lima, navy or pea
- Citrus fruits, tomatoes, bananas,
- red plums, raisins and figs
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The product Picks
Pai Skincare is an entire line designed for sensitive skin types with ingredients that are ideal for rosacea.
I am also a fan of the Calm collection from Fitglow Beauty.
This Simple Face Cream by Osmia provides moisture without irritating ingredients and people with rosacea do really well with it.
Vitamin C serum can absolutely still be used by people with rosacea for antioxidant protection and stimulating collagen. I do recommend the gentlest forms being magnesium ascorbyl phosphate which is found in this Vitamin C Serum by 100% Pure.
While this Antioxidant Serum by Kypris is just so marvelous for all skin types, it's especially good for people with rosacea that are trying to fight the signs of aging. It's a light milky consistency serum that is packed with antioxidants but leaves a light dewy hydration on the skin.
Another G L O R I O U S Kypris product is Glow Philtre which is a mild yet effective gel exfoliant that contains pomegranate enzyme to gently dissolve dead skin without drying to irritating the skin.
This cream color corrector in Sweet Basil by Au Naturale is not only amazing at neutralizing redness it's a creamy formula so it won't dry out the skin or make it look flakey.