Everything You Need to Know About Rosacea
April is Rosacea Awareness Month! A time in which we dedicate ourselves to better understanding all the elements of rosacea, including what it is and how to treat it. That’s why we’ve compiled this comprehensive blog, which will talk you through what rosacea is, the different types of rosacea, possible causes, possible treatments and some skincare tips. We hope it will help you if you think you may have rosacea, if you’ve just been diagnosed and are not sure where to start, or if you’d just like to know more about this common skin condition.
What is Rosacea?
Rosacea is a skin condition that causes reddening and texturing of the skin on your face. Possible symptoms include blotchy, reddened skin, bumps, pustules, a burning sensation, pain and discomfort and, in the worst cases, it can cause swelling and changes in the facial tissue. It’s quite common – it is thought that 1 in 10 adults may have some form of rosacea – and luckily more and more research is being done to unravel this difficult condition.
First things first – did you know that there are four different types of Rosacea?
- Erythematotelangiectatic Rosacea
Erythematotelangiectatic Rosacea is the mildest and most common form of Rosacea, with symptoms mainly composed of the reddening of the skin. It is often mild but, without treatment, it can worsen and even become permanent.
- Papulopustular Rosacea
This kind of Rosacea causes your face to swell, redden, and form white, pus-filled bumps on your chin, cheeks, forehead, scalp, neck and chest.
- Phymatous Rosacea
This particularly nasty version of Rosacea makes skin scar and thicken, discolouring it and making it appear swollen and bumpy. This one is rare, fortunately, usually affects the nose and is more common in men than in women.
- Ocular Rosacea
As you might have guessed, this type affects the eyes, making them look bloodshot or causing them to water without any apparent reason. They may also burn and become irritated.
Unfortunately, nobody’s really sure what the exact cause of rosacea is. Not a particularly helpful answer, we know, but there are theories surrounding the potential causes that are definitely worth bearing in mind.
Theory 1: Demodex mites in the skin
It sounds gross but mites living in your skin is actually a perfectly normal thing. Demodex mites live on your skin, feed on dead skin cells and contribute to the overall health and condition of your skin. One study however, carried out by the National University of Ireland, concluded that people suffering from Rosacea had a far higher number of these small skin-dwelling mites than those that didn’t suffer with the condition, which suggests a link between their presence and Rosacea.
Theory 2: Bacteria
Another connected theory is one that suggests it is actually bacteria present in these particular skin-dwelling mites that actually causes Rosacea in people. Again, increased numbers of these mites mean an increased level of “Bacillus oleronius” – a bacterium found in the Dermodex. Studies have also shown that people who suffer from rosacea also commonly have a bacterium called H pylori, which can cause infections in the intestines.
These bacteria possibly trigger an immune response, which may have rosacea as a result.
Theory 3: Hereditary
Rosacea seems to run in families – it is possible there is some genetic predisposition for it.
Theory 4: Dietary link
Research suggests that certain trigger foods may cause Rosacea flare-ups, thereby leading people to believe that the foods themselves are the causes of the condition. We can’t know for sure, but we can know that there are countless studies and countless stories of people finding and eliminating certain foods from their diets and seeing a significant reduction in Rosacea symptoms shortly thereafter.
What to do if you think you have Rosacea
Firstly, before you do anything else, go and get diagnosed by a doctor. That isn’t to say that the condition is so serious that you need to see a doctor right away, but it certainly pays to make sure you definitely have Rosacea before you set about trying to treat it! Get a referral to a dermatologist who can help you in a more bespoke, personalised manner with your skin. Aside from that, a great thing to do is to visit online communities for advice and support and follow skin-positive influencers on social media. There are quite a few out there and they can provide a massive confidence boost when you’re feeling embarrassed or self-conscious.
How to Treat Rosacea
Firstly, the unfortunate reality is that Rosacea can’t be cured (yet). We can’t be certain but, just maybe, with enough attention and care paid to the study of the condition, we may be able to work toward a real cure in the future.
One option for treatment is prescription antibiotic creams. There are also creams containing ivermectin, which is an anti-parasitic drug. They have varying degrees of efficacy and, sadly, don’t work for everyone.
Laser treatments are another option - these can be very effective but can also wear off after some time. If you were to go down this route, it would likely require regular updates, which can be costly.
Diet and lifestyle are something you can control in the day-to-day. It’s important to remember that rosacea is not a symptom of a food allergy, but some people have amazing success stories in treating rosacea by removing certain foods. If you’d like to know more, please read our blog about trigger foods and elimination diets here. Making sure you eat a healthy and balanced diet, drinking enough water and managing stress can also have a huge impact on your skin.
Rosacea Skincare Tips
Finally, you can support your skin with a thorough, regular skincare routine. These little tips and tricks can help mitigate the effects of Rosacea, often preventing flare-ups before they even start.
- Rosacea-prone skin is often sensitive skin so, whatever you do, keep things gentle – that applies to any creams and lotions you apply, cleansing products as well as physical contact, right down to the tools you use on your face.
- Use products that include redness-reducing ingredients, such as a-Bisabolol, liquorice root, panthenol and green tea extract.
- Apply SPF30 or upwards every day – this is more of a preventative tip because sunlight opens the fine veins in the skin, which makes your skin flush more, even when only exposed for a couple of minutes. If left even longer, this can certainly lead to a flare-up, so wear protection every day!
- Be careful with cover-up – some make-up can actually cause your skin to flare up, so make sure you use something that’s suitable for sensitive skin that helps treat flare-ups as it covers – like Rosalique!
Above everything else, the most important thing is to stay positive. That can be hard at times, but Rosacea is really common, and so many people are raising awareness in the hopes of developing more understanding and less judgement around the condition. Find online support groups. Follow skin-positivity accounts on social media and remember that there are literally millions of other people around the world who are dealing with the same thing as you. We’re all in it together and, until there’s a cure, we can help to build each other up and encourage one another to be happy and confident in the skin we have.