Although rosacea is one of the most common skin conditions, it also is one of the most misdiagnosed and there is no single cure that gets rid of rosacea. Knowing more about rosacea, the different types and the triggers can help with the selection of products and lifestyle factors to help manage the skin condition.
Here's all you need to know about Rosacea: types, triggers, treatment & diet
What is rosacea?
Rosacea is a chronic skin condition affecting the central parts of the face, mostly the cheeks, nose, the forehead between the eyes and the chin. It often has several symptoms which can all be present, or some people may only have only one or two.
Symptoms of rosacea include frequent deep flushing, persistent inflammation, itchiness, small white papules and pustules and dry patches. Other symptoms may include burning or stinging of the skin and redness or itchiness in the eyes.
Rosacea is a skin condition and is often mistaken for acne, its actually caused by underlying inflammation of the blood vessels beneath the skin.
What are the different types of rosacea?
Characterised with flushing which can last longer than 10 minutes with the central face exhibiting the most intense colour. The redness also may involve the peripheral portion of the face as well as extra facial areas (eg, ears, scalp, neck, chest). Flare ups are mostly triggered by short-term emotional stress, hot drinks, alcohol, spicy foods, exercise, cold or hot weather, and hot water.
Papulopustular rosacea generally appears with redness of the central portion of the face along with persistent or intermittent flare ups and accompanied by small papules and pinpoint pustules. The sides of the face and other areas are usually not affected. A history of flushing often is common however flushing is usually is milder than with Erythematotelangiectatic Rosacea. The constant inflammation may lead to chronic oedema (swelling) and phymatous changes (bulging of the pores make a bumpy surface to the skin), which occur more commonly in men than in women.
Phymatous rosacea is characterized by marked skin thickening and irregular skin surface most commonly involving the nose, chin forehead, ears and eyelids. The papules and pustules that accompany this type of rosacea are often large and may be accompanied by nasal lesions. This type of rosacea frequently affects people with a history of adolescent acne.
Ocular rosacea usually develops later on after any of the other three subtypes of rosacea are already established. The symptoms of burning or stinging, itching, light sensitivity, and a foreign body sensation in the eyes themselves are common with this type of rosacea.
Who gets rosacea?
Rosacea is most commonly seen in adults over thirty, its more common in women of menopausal age and it is usually hereditary. About 30% to 40% of patients report a family member with the condition.
Rosacea is more commonly seen in people of Celtic and Northern European descent as well as those with fair skin.
What triggers a rosacea flareup?
A survey of just over 1,000 rosacea patients carried out by the National Rosacea Society identified several types of skin-care products and ingredients that often trigger rosacea flare ups.
The biggest offender for women was toners, used to tone skin before applying cosmetics. Almost 50& of women found that toners were the most common trigger for a rosacea flare up. Coming in second on the offender list was perfumed soap, which in 40% of cases triggered a flare up, and the third offender was exfoliating products, which triggered rosacea flare ups in 34% of women. Other common triggers for women were makeup, accounting for 30% of flare ups, perfumes caused flare ups for 27% of participants, moisturisers 25%, and surprisingly hairspray caused flare ups in 20% of rosacea sufferers.
For men, the biggest offender for causing flare ups was shaving lotion which effected 26% of those surveyed said flare-ups had been caused by shaving lotion, while soap accounted for 24% of flare ups. Creams containing chemical SPF’s aggravated rosacea in 13% of men surveyed.
Other frequently aggravating topical ingredients for both men and women included witch hazel, which affected 30% of those surveyed, menthol 21%, peppermint 14% and eucalyptus oil 13%.
However aside from skincare, haircare and fragrances, the top offender for both men and women was alcohol which triggered rosacea flare ups in a whopping 66% of sufferers.
Most rosacea sufferers report increased symptoms after sun exposure, so wearing a daily SPF suitable for skin prone to rosacea and keeping your face covered by a hat or shade when out in direct sun can drastically help reduce flare ups.
Water may also make rosacea worse. Water evaporates on the skin, making it dry out quickly, meaning that skin prone to dryness will suffer. In addition, any sudden temperature changes to the skin, such as washing with warm or cold water, can cause rosacea to flare up as the temperature chance increases circulation to the surface of the skin. Water is also a caustic substance, making it fairly abrasive to very sensitive skin.
What cures are there for rosacea?
There is no one-stop cure for rosacea as it’s a complex skin condition. Effective treatments normally involve a combination of several products (either prescription or alternative) that work for the individual along with relevant lifestyle changes.
How to avoid rosacea flare ups
- Wearing a daily SPF suitable for skin prone to rosacea and keeping your face covered by a hat or shade when out in direct sun can drastically help reduce flare ups. Our Kalme day defence cream + is a moisturiser that contains SPF 30 and dermatologically tested ingredients that help to combat the symptoms of rosacea.
- Any sudden temperature changes to the skin, such as washing with warm or cold water, can cause rosacea to flare up, as the temperature change increases circulation to the surface of the skin. Water is also a caustic substance, making it fairly abrasive to very sensitive skin. We recommend using Skin Shop’s Klame water-free cleanser. This is an effective cream that cleanses all the impurities on your skin, without the use of water.
- Use cosmetic products that are specifically for skin prone to rosacea. Our range of Kalme products are for people who suffer from rosacea and red skin.
- Avoid using any type of perfumed soap, body wash and face wash, as the perfume chemical can react and trigger rosacea.
- When possible, avoid alcohol, caffeine and spicy food consumption. All of these can cause a rosacea flare up.
Effective medications for rosacea
Typically, most people with rosacea will be prescribed antibiotics either topical or oral. Results are varied and often repeated flare ups occur once the antibiotics courses are finished.
Prescriptions may also include topical dreams or gels that help restrict blood flow to the skin that contain either brimonidine or oxymetazoline.
Topical creams for addressing the pustules may also be prescribed and normally contain either metronidazole or azelaic acid.