Take Control of Your Rosacea
Rosacea is a very common issue, but sadly, there is a lot of misinformation about it. April is actually Rosacea Awareness Month, so I want to inform you about what's really happening. In short, rosacea encompasses a skin type that has aspects of some but not necessarily all of the following features: facial flushing, facial redness, pimples, eye inflammation and sometimes, enlargement of the nose. People who easily flush are at risk for developing rosacea.
There are four different subtypes of rosacea:
- Erythematotelangiectatic: In this type of rosacea, people may not have pimples. Instead, they may just have pronounced facial redness. Over time, people may develop broken capillaries, which are best treated with a procedure called Broadband Light (BBL). Dr. Bailey explains exactly how BBL works to help rosacea patients in her blog post called “Broadband Light: The Cosmetic Procedure to Slow Aging Skin.”
- Papulopustular: This is the type of rosacea in which people have recurrent red bumps and pustules (pimples) on their face. Oftentimes, the pimples feel somewhat itchy. Sometimes patients with this type of rosacea require an oral antibiotic to quiet the inflammation down.
- Phymatous: In longstanding rosacea, some people develop an enlargement of the oil glands leading to disfiguring enlargements of certain facial parts. In most cases, this leads to an enlarged, bulbous nose. But, other areas such as the chin, forehead, ears and eyelids may also be impacted. These enlargements sometimes require surgery to improve.
- Ocular: This is the type of rosacea that just affects the eyes. It can lead to red eyes and the sensation that something gritty is in the eye, which can be very irritating. People with this type of rosacea often have blepharitis (inflammation around the eyelashes) as well. The most effective treatment for this type of rosacea is oral antibiotics or special eye drops prescribed by an eye doctor.
What factors contribute to rosacea?
We know that there is an increase in inflammation with rosacea, which is why we use products to “cool down” the skin. A green tea-containing moisturizer such as our Green Tea Antioxidant Skin Therapy is an excellent way to put rosacea’s fire out. This moisturizer is packed with antioxidants that fight free radicals associated with inflammation. A good moisturizer is also important because we know that people with rosacea lose more water from their skin, which leads to even more irritation and inflammation because our skin cells don’t protect us from the environment as well without hydration.
UV rays can also make rosacea worse. This is particularly true of the erythematotelangiectatic type of rosacea listed above. UV rays cause blood vessels to over-proliferate. Thus, it’s very important to use a zinc-based sunscreen such as our Citrix SPF 40, which is also our clients’ favorite sunscreen.
Unfortunately, there is another very important problem to address when it comes to rosacea. You may not want to hear it, but there are mites that live in our skin naturally! (Gasp!) These mites are usually few and far between in “normal” skin, but they overgrow in rosacea skin. Mites help to drive the inflammatory process of rosacea, so killing them is our mission! A new prescription medicine called Soolantra Cream has been proven effective in reducing facial mites. We also find that rosacea-prone complexions improve with Dr. Bailey’s Calming Zinc Bar, which has pyrithione zinc, an ingredient that helps address another facial germ that causes inflammation called pityrosporum. It also has redness calming properties. I usually tell people to use this bar of soap once or twice daily.
If you use Calming Zinc Bar only once daily, consider washing with another gentle cleanser too. This is a very important step, and one of my favorites is Vanicream Soap because it lathers so nicely without drying out your skin.
Diet can also drive rosacea flares. Spicy foods, hot beverages, and alcohol (especially red wine!) among other things can drive flushing. Of course it would be a good idea to avoid these triggers, but I also know this can be an unrealistic expectation!
Rosacea can be a tricky issue, and the above information is just the tip of the iceberg of information related to it. Due to the complexity of the issue, Dr. Bailey has created a free ebook that goes in depth about rosacea. Download your free copy of “Rosacea: Understanding What It Is and What You Can Do about It” today!
If you are still having trouble with your skin despite these simple measures, make an appointment with your dermatologist. There are other topical treatments and lifestyle suggestions that we can offer.
Do you suffer from rosacea? What is your biggest challenge with it? We’d love to hear your pain points and your tips in the comments below.
Dr. Hayes - Board Certified Dermatologist