August 19, 2022 4 min read
What is rosacea – and how will I know it when I see it?
Rosacea is a common skin condition affecting 1 in 10 people that is often mistaken for acne, eczema or an allergic reaction. It causes facial redness and may produce small, red, pus-filled bumps. The first signs of rosacea are a blush-like reddening which spreads across the nose, cheeks, forehead and chin, along with a burning or stinging feeling when you use water or certain skincare products on your face.
Commonly, rosacea flares up for a few weeks or months, then disappears again for a while. Anyone can get it, but women are twice as likely to suffer from it as men - although men do tend to get it more severely. It is particularly prevalent among middle-aged women with light (Irish!) skin or those with sun-damaged skin. There is no cure, however by taking the initiative you can do a great deal to avoid the onset of attacks and reduce symptoms.
It is worth noting that many people who suffer from rosacea also suffer what is known as ocular rosacea - dry, swollen and irritated eyes and eyelids. The arrival of ocular rosacea can sometimes precede and signal the onset of facial symptoms. Over time, rosacea can also cause the thickening of skin around the nose, making it appear a bit bulbous, but this is much more common in men than in women.
What causes rosacea - and what treatments are available?
No one knows exactly what causes rosacea, but it is thought that a combination of hereditary and environmental factors could be responsible. What is clear, though, is that anything which dilates the blood vessels, increasing the flow of blood to the surface of the skin, can trigger an attack. Triggers include things like ultraviolet (sun) light, spicy foods, red wine, extremes of temperatures, wind, exercise which makes you sweat, cosmetics and stress.
A recent survey by the National Rosacea Society in the US found that around half of people with the condition have an outbreak or an increase in symptoms at least once a month. As with any persistent and concerning skin condition, you should always consult your GP or dermatologist for an official diagnosis and treatment. Your skin specialist is likely to tell you that there are three main ways of treating rosacea – topical treatments, antibiotics or light treatment.
Topical treatments – gels, creams or lotions – are applied to the areas affected by the spots and can be used in combination with antibiotics and medication to reduce redness. Photodynamic Therapy (PDT) is a new treatment which can be helpful in some cases. Surgical intervention is possible where there has been severe thickening of the skin. If there is eye involvement, you may be referred to an ophthalmologist and prescribed drops or ointment for dry eyes.
Avoiding lifestyle and environmental triggers
It is a good idea to keep a diary of flare-ups to try and identify what tends to trigger attacks. Low impact exercise like walking or swimming will be less likely to trigger an attack than, say, aerobics or running. Wearing a scarf or ski mask to protect your delicate facial skin in the winter can be useful. Avoid any oil-based cosmetics or skin products containing alcohol. Green-tinted make-up will help neutralise facial redness. Try to reduce your stress levels with yoga, relaxation techniques or deep breathing exercises.
As UV rays can trigger a flare-up or exacerbate symptoms, it is advisable to avoid direct sunlight and use a broad-spectrum sunscreen (one which offers both UVA and UVB protection) with a minimum SPF30 at all times of year, but particularly during the summer months. Elave Sensitive Sun SPF30 is a hypo-allergenic invisible zinc formula which offers high broad-spectrum protection from UVA, UVB and infrared rays. It hydrates with antioxidant vitamins B5, C and E to guard against environmental damage. Water-resistant if used as directed, it is safe to use during pregnancy and paediatrician-approved from newborn.
Since people who suffer from rosacea often have sensitive, easily irritated skin it is important to use mild, non-irritating, fragrance-free, alcohol-free, skincare products. While cleansing avoid rubbing your skin, which will irritate it, and use a gentle product like Elave Sensitive Renew Rejuvenating Cleansing Treatment. This unique combination of hydrating skin cleansers is combined with 12% glycolic acid arginine complex to gently exfoliate and rejuvenate the skin.
Elave Sensitive Renew Skin Balancing Moisturiseris a multi-action, oil-free formula with naturally-derived prebiotics and antimicrobial Manuka honey UMF 10+ for a healthy skin barrier. Bottom of Form
Antioxidant vitamins B5 and E combine with natural glycerin and hyaluronic acid to boost hydration levels and smooth the appearance of fine lines. Quickly absorbed with a matte finish, this moisturiser is recommended for all skin types.
Protect against the sun while boosting hydration and improving the dermal barrier with Elave Sensitive Renew Daily Skin Defence SPF45, which offers high UVA and UVB protection in an invisible zinc formula containing antioxidant vitamins B5 and E which is absorbed quickly absorbed into the skin. It is suitable for all skin types and oil-free to prevent clogging of pores.
And don’t forget the guys …
Men with rosacea need to shave carefully to avoid causing extra irritation. Electric shavers may be gentler on your skin. Avoid any shaving creams or lotions that could burn or sting your skin. Elave Sensitive Renew Men’s Shave Balm is easily absorbed and contains aloe vera and menthol which to cool, soothe and reduce redness. Antioxidant vitamin E and natural glycerin repair, hydrate and recondition sensitive skin.
Gardiner Family Apothecary uses the purest, gentlest ingredients for all our products. The Elave Sensitive Renew and Ovelle skincare ranges are free of alcohol, parabens, dyes, scents, formaldehyde, sulfates and MIs. They are safety-tested to the highest international Pharma and ethical standards, and are independently certified. That’s why they are trusted and recommended by pharmacists, as well as medical and healthcare professionals, for the treatment and management of chronic skin conditions like rosacea.
Elave Skincare and Ovelle ranges of dermatologically-approved free-from natural products are available at gardinerfamilyapothecary.com, Boots, Dunnes Beauty and local pharmacies.
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