RED Light: Rosacea

Monday, May 09, 2011 Posted by Matt

Rosacea is a skin condition that affects millions of men and women throughout the world. For many years not much was known about rosacea, it was originally thought that it was a form of acne and given the name ‘acne rosacea’. It is only now, years later, that research has shown that it is not a form of acne whatsoever.

Rosacea is a progressive vascular disorder which has 4 very strong characteristics: reddening of the skin or a blushing effect, red bumps (papules), red skin blemished with white heads (pustules) and dilated blood vessels on the face (telangiectasia).

These characteristics usually affect the face only, but in rare cases can affect the neck chest and scalp. In men, if the condition becomes severe it can progress into a condition called phymatous rosacea where the skin thickens in the nose and swells and becomes bulbous (rhinophyma).

It affects all ethnicity's but more often in Caucasians of European descent. This led to the nickname “The curse of the Celts” by people from UK and Ireland. It mainly affects women but is often presents more severe cases in men.

Although there is no known cause of rosacea, there are many well-known factors which can trigger a flare up. These include:

  • Stress
  • Extreme temperatures
  • Exercise
  • Alcohol
  • Spicy food
  • Acidic fruit and vegetable’s
  • Sun exposure/UV exposure
  • Smoking
  • Dairy products
  • Wind
  • Medication
  • Menopause
  • Caffeine
  • Humidity
  • Niacin
  • Cold weather
  • Cosmetic products

Cosmetic products often contain ingredients which flare up rosacea so it is important to scrutinise what you are using and keep away from using products with ingredients like:

  • Alcohol
  • Menthol
  • Peppermint
  • Hydroxy Acids
  • Artificial Fragrance
  • Soap
  • Some Chemical Sunscreens

There are many other triggers that can cause rosacea to flare up. It does differ from person to person.

Most people who suffer with rosacea only have mild symptoms and are never formally diagnosed with the condition.
Rosacea impacts people in different ways and can cause embarrassment, unhappiness, low self-esteem and withdrawal from social relationships. If you suspect you may have rosacea then it is always best to visit your GP to find out.

There is no known cure for rosacea but there are many options to treat rosacea and improve it.

Firstly keep a ‘blushing diary’ and note down what you have eaten that day, what activities you have done and the times when the blushing and reddening becomes more apparent. Cross-reference it with the diary and see what triggers the flare ups.

Once you have identified the triggers, you can then start to cut things out of your life. For example, if eating certain foods cause flare ups then you have to decide whether eating them is worth it.

Visit a massage therapist as rosacea can be flared by stress. Massage is well-known for its relaxing and
de-stressing benefits and just this alone can reduce the tension in your body and the redness too.

A skin therapist can offer a skin treatment for you that will calm and cool the skin with anti-inflammatory products. They could include the use of galvanic current that will cause the blood vessels to close up (vaso-constriction). The use of cold marble stones in the treatment can be hugely beneficial as the coldness calms the skin instantly and can reduce redness.

Things you can do at home to improve the redness are the use of cold compresses and the use products with the following ingredients:

  • Aloe
  • Allantoin
  • Arnica
  • Avena Sativa (Oats)
  • Camelia
  • Canadian Willowherb
  • Ceramides
  • Chamomile
  • Green tea
  • Liquorice
  • Mallow
  • Peptides
  • Physical Sunscreens (Titanium Dioxide, Zinc Oxide)
  • Red Raspberry
  • Sea Buckhorn

Rosacea can be a terrible condition for the many people that have to endure and suffer with it. But, by working out the things that flare it up and avoiding them, it can be reduced somewhat.
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