How To Recognize And Treat Rosacea So You Can Get Back To Living Your Life

October 15, 2022

Rosacea is a common skin problem that affects approximately 14 million Americans. Common symptoms include skin that flushes easily, visible red blood vessels, and whitehead and blackhead-free pimples around the nose and cheek. The exact causes of rosacea are unknown, but it is likely an inherited skin problem triggered by extreme temperature, stress, and diet. If rosacea is suspected, it is important to see a doctor who can assess the skin and prescribe medication if needed. Here is how to recognize rosacea, treat flare-ups, and manage it effectively over time.

How To Determine If Rosacea Is Present

Rosacea is most common among adults who have fair skin and are of Celtic background. It is also common among women aged thirty to fifty when they are perimenopausal. Although rosacea can be mistaken for other conditions, there are key physical signs to watch out for. For example, rosacea often produces acne-like eruptions around the central face. Different from those produced by acne, however, these red pimples and pustules do not have blackheads or whiteheads. If blackheads or whiteheads are present, the condition is likely acne instead of rosacea. In addition to the red bumps, rosacea also causes blood vessels to dilate, which produces flushing and a visibly red face. Dilated blood vessels in the absence of acne are typically due to surgery, such as a rhinoplasty, or photodamage from the sun.

Rosacea Triggers: Extreme Weather And Temperatures

It is important to identify triggers of rosacea flare-ups to understand how to make lifestyle changes to prevent them. Common triggers include extremes in weather, such as strong winds, direct sun, and extreme cold. Temperature changes are also a known trigger, which is why it is best to avoid saunas and hot baths and opt for environments with moderate temperatures instead. In addition, quickly increasing the body's temperature by engaging in strenuous physical activity can cause the blood vessels to dilate, thereby triggering rosacea. Avoiding extreme temperature changes is best; however, keeping a frozen water bottle on the neck can keep the face from flushing during workouts and while outdoors in the sun.

Rosacea Triggers: Stress

Excessive stress and anxiety can also trigger rosacea, so it is important to find exercises and coping mechanisms to process emotions in a healthy manner. Relaxation techniques, such as meditation, prayer, and journaling, are excellent ways to keep the mind and body calm. Taking a yoga class can also be relaxing so long as it is not a strenuous class; classes that focus on deep breathing and meditation are ideal. Consider getting a back or whole body massage to physically release tension and stress from the body without engaging in strenuous exercise. In addition, prevent stress by getting a good night's sleep and taking a power nap during the day to recharge and clear the mind before tackling a challenging task.

Rosacea Triggers: Diet

Although rosacea is a skin condition, diet plays a major role in flare-ups. Certain foods can trigger a strong inflammatory reaction in those prone to skin conditions, such as rosacea. Some common food triggers for rosacea include dairy, chocolate, vanilla, soy sauce, vinegar, eggplant, avocados, tomatoes, spicy foods, and foods high in histamine. Alcohol and most hot drinks, including tea, coffee, and hot chocolate, can trigger a flare-up as well, which is why it is best to avoid them. In addition to avoiding trigger foods, it is helpful to maintain gut health by taking a probiotic supplement or eating fiber-rich foods that encourage good bacteria to grow.

Rosacea Triggers: Skin Care Products

Substances applied to the surface of the body can also trigger rosacea. The most common offenders include products that contain alcohol, witch hazel, or fragrances. It is also beneficial to avoid toners, astringents, exfoliants, retinoids, alpha hydroxy acids, and all other skincare products that have not been approved by a dermatologist. Skin that is prone to rosacea tends to be especially sensitive to irritants and additives in skin care products. This is why having a simple skin care routine that is free of products with irritants is essential for preventing flare-ups. Choose products that are formulated for sensitive skin and be careful when choosing hair care products, which can irritate facial skin due to proximity.

Rosacea Treatment Options

Rosacea typically gets worse if left untreated. It is common to develop more pimples, redness and dilated blood vessels so long as the condition remains unaddressed. Several over-the-counter treatments claim to treat rosacea, but most are ineffective. They often contain natural anti-inflammatory agents, such as licorice and feverfew, but do little other than adding yet another product to a daily skincare routine. Persistent rosacea flare-ups require the attention of a dermatologist who can develop a tailored management plan and prescribe medication. If rosacea begins to affect the eyes, it may also be necessary to see an ophthalmologist.

Treating Mild Rosacea

If there are only a few pimples around the centre of the face, mildly dilated blood vessels, and a small amount of redness, the rosacea is mild. It may be possible to treat mild rosacea by eliminating triggers. If rosacea triggers have been eliminated but the symptoms persist, the next course of action is to use topical treatments. The most effective treatments are topical antibiotics, such as Noritate cream, Metrogel, or Finacea, which can be prescribed by a dermatologist. These medications typically treat symptoms of rosacea in eight to ten weeks. Although rosacea can be a lifelong problem, finding the right treatment makes it possible to deal with nothing more than the occasional flare-up.

Treating Severe Rosacea

Severe rosacea produces lots of acne, significant redness, and sometimes even purple blood vessels. Painful cysts and swollen cheeks may also be present. In addition to a prescription for topical antibiotics, dermatologists may prescribe an oral antibiotic, such as doxycycline, minocycline, or tetracycline. These medications treat the inflammation and pimples. Once the acne is under control, it may be appropriate to stop taking the oral antibiotic and continue with the topical treatment only. Because rosacea is a lifelong condition, it is important to follow topical treatment regimens carefully and avoid triggers to prevent flare-ups.

Options After Rosacea Flare-Ups

Once rosacea pimples have been cleared, there may still be traces of redness and dilated blood vessels that do not seem to fade. There are treatments that can reduce their appearance, but they are costly. For example, pulsed dye lasers and intense pulsed light lasers (IPL) can greatly improve the look of skin by diminishing the appearance of redness and blood vessels. IPL treatment often takes three to six sessions to produce results and can cost between $350 and $500 per treatment. A more affordable solution is to use mineral makeup to cover redness and blood vessels; mineral makeup is typically less likely than conventional makeup to irritate the skin. Apply mineral makeup in layers for additional coverage, and use a brush instead of rubbing it onto the skin with bare hands or a sponge to prevent irritation.

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