Rosacea

Rosacea (pronounced rose-AY-shah) is often called "adult acne". Its exact cause is unclear, however, researchers believe it is from both internal and external factors. Possible related internal conditions include gastrointestinal infection (Helicobacter pylori) or high blood pressure. External causes may be related to a mite infestation (Demodex folliculorum) of the skin. In any event, it is a common problem shared by an estimated 13 million Americans.

The presentation of Rosacea varies among individuals. It may be subtle and persistent with reddened areas or blood vessels (telangiectasias) on the cheeks. Some people show intermittent "acne-like" eruptions. Severe cases can present with "drinkers nose" or rhinophyma, which is not related to drinking alcohol.

Rosacea differs from acne in that rosacea patients do not get blackheads or whiteheads. Rosacea is also limited to the face and does not affect the chest or back. It is more common in women; however, men generally have more severe cases.

Rosacea is a condition and not a disease. It is the body's response to an unclear stimulus or irritation. It usually presents in individuals 30 to 50 years old. These people share common traits such as fair skin, and may blush or flush easily. It presents without warning and may run in families. Often, they fail to seek medical attention thinking that a "flushed" face or red nose is simply an inherited trait.

Can rosacea be treated? Rosacea is a lifelong condition that usually can be controlled but not cured. Generally, the sooner it is brought under control, the less severe the involvement. Both men and women benefit equally from treatment. In fact, many dermatologists feel that early treatment may keep the condition from getting worse.

Recommendations
Cleansing: Mild soaps or cleansers should be used. The face should be washed with the fingertips. Cosmetics and lotions (including shaving creams and lotions) should be fragrance free and non-alcohol base.

Anti-Aging: Exfoliating Agents can be too harsh to those affected with Rosacea. An alternative to an hydroxy acid treatment would be the use Topical Vitamin C. It has many of the same benefits and it is better tolerated both those with sensitive skin.

Moisturizers: Use mild and non-irritating moisturizers daily.

Sun protection: Sunscreen or sunblock is strongly recommended to prevent rosacea flares as well as overall sun damage. Sunscreen or sunblock should offer UVA/UVB protection and have a SPF 15 or greater. Ideal products are chemical free and non-alcohol based. Look for ingredients with titanium dioxide, zinc oxide and Parsol 1789®. Apply every 3-4 hours for best protection.

Make-up: Cosmetics may be sensitizing and contribute to the flushing and blushing associated with rosacea. Non-irritating make-up may be used to cover the red areas. Non-alcohol based yellow to green undertones are best. Apply light powder over the foundation. Use a sable brush, as this will minimize irritation. Stay away from iridescent powders (mica products) as this can irritate the skin.

Black crayon or soft pencil eyeliners cause the least amount of irritation around the eyes. Liquid eyeliners are latex based and tend to sting. Eyeshadow can be applied with a wet brush. Look for eyeshadow without emulsifiers and preservatives. Water-resistant products, rather than waterproof, are easiest to remove. A cosmetologist can help you select the right products.

Avoid Triggers: Each individual has different "triggers" that can make their condition worse.

Common "triggers" that can aggravate rosacea include:

  • ·Weather: sun, strong wind, humidity
  • ·Emotions: stress, anxiety, anger
  • ·Physical exertion: exercise, occupational labor
  • ·Temperature: saunas, hot baths, overheating, warm rooms, cold outdoors
  • ·Hormones: testosterone and estrogen
  • ·Foods: dairy products, liver, citrus fruits, vegetables including legumes, vinegar
  • ·Beverages: hot drinks, alcoholic beverages - especially red wine,caffeinated beverages
  • ·Skin Care Products: cosmetics - especially products with alcohol or fragrance, topical cortisone creams, any cream causing irritation