Updated: Jun 8
A bright red face and rosy cheeks may be a sign of Rosacea and more people have it then you realise, actually up to 10% of the population. Those with rosacea have widespread redness over their cheeks, nose, forehead and chin. Some people are also more prone to pimples, pustules and blemishes. In fact rosacea used to be called Acne rosacea (but the conditions are unrelated).
Those with rosacea often get a sensation of flushing which can sometimes turn to burning or stinging. Those with severe rosacea may start to notice that the skin on their faces begin to thicken. This can occur on the nose and make the nose appear bulbous and mishapen (rhinophyma).
So lets get down to business...
What causes Rosacea
Whilst we don't know the exact causes. We do know the risk factors:
Being fair skinned (being of Celtic or Northern European descent)
Onset between ages 20-50
Environmental factors: hot or cold temperatures
Anger or stress
Skin-irritated substances: fragranced products, detergents
So how do we manage
Prevention is better than cure - know your triggers and avoid them like the plague. If you just can't face going without alcohol than maybe a red face, really isn't so bad.
A simple but effective skincare regime is your best friend here.
For cleansers - you'll want a gentle cleanser that doesn't contain soap.
Moisturiser is so important to keep your skin's protective barrier function intact. Why not try Avene Hydrance UV rich hydrating cream.
SPF is king for those with rosacea. The sun is no friend to you at all and can hugely trigger flare ups. Always where suncream (SPF 30 at the very least).
An excellent brand and range recommended by the dermatologists include: La Roche Posay Rosaliac range.
When applying makeup, be gentle. Did you know that pressure can inflamed skin.
When to see the doctor:
Cosmeceuticals like La Roche Posay can definitely help keep your rosacea at bay, but we can't always do it on our own. Sometime we need to accept help. If it's getting you down, or you're not managing to control it, that it is time to see your GP. Your doctor may prescribe you antibiotics that help.
If it starts affecting your eyes or severely affecting your nose, then it's time to see the dermatologist. Don't delay, this is a chronic skin condition that can lead to permanent skin issues if left untreated.
If you seek the right help in time you, a lot of the severe consequences can be avoided.
Rosacea in skin of colour
Rosacea is under-recognised in people of colour. Despite being far less common, it is actually not a rarity. Central redness may be difficult to determine if there is superimposed hyperpigmentation. Proper assessment of your skin with adequate lighting may help you to determine the redness. Warmth and flushing especially after certain triggers can also help in diagnosing rosacea. Another clue for the possibility of rosacea is for individuals who notice a burning or stinging sensation after applying certain products.
Images courtesy of Susan C. Taylor, MD.
Treatment should as always begin with knowledge and avoidance of triggers (alcohol, high temperatures, spicy foods). It is important to wash the face with cleansers that are not irritating and do not contain soap. Applying moisturiser daily can help improve the skins protective moisture barrier, strengthening the skin and allowing it to become less susceptible to irritation. Again you need sun protection, and you need it daily, even when inside and even when it's cloudy. Avoid using manual exfoliation which can lead to trauma to already sensitive skin. This can cause post-inflammatory hyperpigmenation. And lastly if you suspect rosacea, you need to present to your GP early to be managed with oral antibiotics, benzoyl peroxide and even retinoids to prevent lasting consequences.
Dr. Fab x