Rosacea Is Not Rosy
What is Rosacea?
There is nothing rosy about having rosacea. Rosacea is a disease that affects the facial skin. It can result in facial flushing, redness, spider veins, inflammatory acne (acne rosacea), and coarse, uneven skin appearance. Although scientists have some theories, the root cause of rosacea is still unknown. Rosacea is chronic, meaning it is lifelong. Sadly, there is no way to get rid of rosacea permanently. Lifestyle changes combined with medical therapy can help keep rosacea under control.
I was diagnosed with rosacea when I was 20 years old. This is a bit unusual, as most people are diagnosed after the age of 30. I noticed my face gradually getting red with an accompanied burning and stinging. One morning, I woke up and was quite alarmed as it had worsened overnight. I went to an urgent care as I thought there was something quite wrong with me. I was referred to dermatology and given the official diagnosis of rosacea. Fortunately, I responded quite well to topical antibiotic therapy. While I was lucky that medication took away the redness, I was still left with acne rosacea, for which I have used an oral antibiotic over the years. My rosacea eventually faded away and I went on with my life. However, after my first child was born, I felt the unwanted, but familiar facial stinging that starts to occur before a flare up. I sought treatment again, but I was pregnant at the time and there weren’t any medications that I could take. I saw an excellent PA who told me that if I started wearing sunscreen every day that I would have an improvement in symptoms. So, for the past 17 years, there hasn’t been a day when I have not applied a broad spectrum sunscreen (SPF of at least 30), even if I am not going outside. It has made a world of difference. I have not had a flare of my facial skin (fingers crossed) since that time. I have developed another complication of rosacea, however, chronic dry eye related to ocular rosacea, which is a whole other story. Finding a facial sunscreen that does not burn my eyes has been a challenge. For really sensitive skin a mineral only sunscreen that contains zinc oxide or titanium dioxide may work better. This make take some trial and error on your part to find the right sunscreen.
Know Your Triggers
Rosacea can be exacerbated by triggers. Knowing your individual triggers is important in avoiding flare ups. The most common ones are:
- Hot/Cold temperatures
- Hot Drinks
- Spicy Food
- Topical products
- Certain Foods
Every person is unique and so are their triggers. Avoiding triggers and seeking care from a healthcare provider is essential so that your treatment plan can be tailored to your individual needs. Over time, I have been able to identify my triggers, which are stress, sunlight, and cold weather.
Best Rosacea Skincare Regimen
Taking care of your skin and maintaining the integrity of the skin barrier are key components in the care of rosacea prone skin. The use of non-irritating, fragrance-free skincare products is important. When evaluating a product, look at the ingredient list. Is the list a mile long? That is just a bunch of ingredients to which you could possibly have a reaction. For more information on skincare and cosmetics for rosacea check out the The National Rosacea Society. Avoiding sun exposure by staying out of the sun as much as possible, wearing a hat, and using a sunscreen are essential components of a skincare regimen for those with rosacea. Once you find a regimen that works for you, stick with it. Daily gentle cleansing, applying a moisturizer, and SPF will help if you are consistent.
For my facial care, I have used Dead Sea Mud Facial Soap for years without irritation. Dead Sea mud has been used historically for its healing properties and is a bit of magic for your skin. Nonetheless, there are some individuals that may not tolerate handmade soap on the face as it has a higher pH. I wanted to be able to have a non-soap, gentle cleanser for those that can not use soap. I developed a Botanical Cleansing Oil for this reason. Created with soothing and exquisite extracts of sunflower, sea buckthorn, aloe, Irish moss, and marshmallow for delicate skin. Here is a blog where you can read more on How to use a cleansing oil. For my body, my favorite is a fragrance-free and glycerin rich soap, the butter bar that is made with a triple butter blend of shea, mango and cocoa butters. If you have sensitive skin, it is always prudent to test the product out on another area and waiting for 24-48 hours before you apply it to your face.
Get Help For Rosacea
If you think that you have rosacea, seek care from a health care provider. They can finalize a diagnosis and get you started on the right path. It is also important to rule out other conditions that can look like rosacea. For instance, there are other skin conditions such as perioral dermatitis that can be confused with rosacea or the butterfly rash of lupus. Additionally, your HCP will want to rule out other possible diseases that could be associated with inflammatory conditions.
For more information on Rosacea visit the The National Rosacea Society
Live at Ease,