Have I got Rosacea or is my skin just red?
When there is a little bit of redness across your nose and cheeks, not always, but more often than not, how do you know whether it’s a normal, healthy colour or whether it’s a cause for concern? It can be hard to tell the difference, especially given that many of us have grown up hearing that rosy cheeks are something to be desired.
A little bit of colour in the cheeks is entirely normal in many situations. Exercise, sunshine, and heat will do the trick, as will stress and embarrassment. But if a flushed colour persists, if you notice red patches that flare up occasionally, or if a rash of spots suddenly accompanies those flare-ups, you may just have Rosacea.
What is Rosacea?
Rosacea is a common, inflammatory skin condition known as ‘the Curse of the Celts’ because it’s most apparent on pale skin. It mainly affects the cheeks, chin, nose and forehead, but it can also affect the eyes (ocular Rosacea), which causes redness, burning, itching and swollen eyelids.
Rather than forming due to a sensitivity in the skin, it’s actually a disease of the oil glands. The excess oil causes inflammation in the skin, which leads to redness and spots. We don’t yet fully understand the exact cause of Rosacea, but we do know that it occurs due to an inherent problem with the skin barrier function whereby the protective lipid layer around the skin cells becomes leaky, letting water out and toxins in.
What does Rosacea look like?
Rather than feeling oily, surprisingly, Rosacea can make the skin feel rough, dry and irritated. It can show up in many different forms – as well as looking flushed, it can also appear in the form of tiny raised red bumps or acne-type pustules or an increased number of thread veins on the face. The fact that it tends to come and go quite quickly can also make it difficult to diagnose as promptly as it should be.
Rosacea can be very mild, where your skin has the odd tendency to flush, or it can be very obvious and persistent. It tends to be milder before the age of thirty and then gets progressively worse with age.
How can you treat Rosacea?
If you were to seek advice at a skin clinic, your practitioner would aim to repair the damaged skin barrier with specialised skincare and to soothe redness with treatments such as LED light therapy.
A consistent skincare routine is vital to protect, restore, and calm the skin to become healthier over time. A good quality routine will include a cleanser, an antioxidant serum, SPF and a night cream. Daily sunscreen with a minimum SPF of 30, offering protection against UVA and UVB rays from the sun, is vital for preventing flare-ups. Then consider adding products to help ease inflammation, fight free-radical damage and boost collagen.
Seeking the advice of a medical professional first is advisable, as they will be able to diagnose and set you off on the right path. If you do search around for skincare products, be sure that they don’t contain ingredients such as alcohol, witch hazel, menthol, camphor, fragrance, peppermint, eucalyptus, propylene glycol, sodium lauryl sulphate, and salicylic acid.
It’s also worth exploring incorporating supplements into your daily routine to ensure you get enough vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and omega-3, as these all help nourish the skin barrier.
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Disclaimer: Please be aware that results and benefits may vary from patient to patient taking into consideration factors such as age, lifestyle and medical history.