If you have rosacea (pronounced roh-zay-sha), you’re in famous company. Cameron Diaz, Renée Zellweger and Prince William have all had to deal with it in their lives. If that surprises you, it shows how manageable rosacea can be, even though doctors haven’t exactly found a cure yet.
BSA reader Michelle Andrews had a question for our experts: “I suffer from rosacea. I’ve been told there is no cure for it, but do you have any tips that will make it easier to control? Stress at the office seems to make it flare up.”
Dr Maureen Allem from Skin, Body & Health Renewal told us how to tackle this condition.
Rosacea (or broken blood capillaries) typically begins as redness on the face across the cheeks, nose, or forehead, but can also less commonly affect the neck, chest, ears and scalp. In some cases, symptoms like semi-permanent redness, dilation of superficial blood vessels on the face, small red bumps and burning and stinging sensations may flare up. Rosacea is normally triggered by something internally, which is affected by stress, low stomach acid, gut dysbiosis (an imbalance of the microbial colonies in your gut), alcohol intake, spicy foods and some medications.
If you have a sensitive skin or have been diagnosed with rosacea, these steps might help:
- Try avoid the following ingredients commonly found in skincare products: alpha lipoic acid, acetic acid, allantoin, balsam of Peru, benzoic acid, camphor, cinnamic acid, cinnamon oil, cocoa butter, coconut oil, DMAE, isopropyl isostearate, isopropyl myrisstate, menthol, parabens, peppermint oil and quarternium -15.
- Repair the skin’s barrier. When you’ve had rosacea for a prolonged period, you tend to have a damaged barrier. This often occurs because patients end up trying too many remedies, eventually causing a breakdown of the skin’s barrier. Once that has happened, almost any hydrating products will sting, burn or cause itching when applied on the skin – simply makes the condition worse. The first rule is to first restore the skin’s barrier function with something like the Lamelle Serra Range, which has been specifically designed for this purpose.
- Use sunscreen lotions or creams. Choose products that do not contain potential allergens such as fragrance or PABA sunscreens.
- Wash your face with mild cream cleansers such as Dermaheal Gentle Cleanser, rinse thoroughly and pat dry with a soft towel – never a rough one.
- Don’t use toners with high concentrations of acids or alcohol. Toners with mild anti-inflammatory ingredients like witch hazel and aloe are best.
- Never use make-up or perfume without first doing a skin test on the inside of your wrist to see the reaction. It’s always wise for a rosacea sufferer to use a good treatment foundation that is specifically formulated to be breathable, anti-inflammatory and non-penetrating, such as Lycogel, Oxygenetics or Derma Minerals from Dermaquest.
- Maintain optimum skin moisture by regular hydration and application of skin moisturisers that are free of the irritants mentioned before – especially parabens, surfactants, fragrance and artificial colours. They should also be made of natural ingredients, not artificial chemicals.
Creams that care
Recommended topical treatments: Skin Renewal has its own effective cream for treating rosacea called Couperois Cream.
The Lamelle Serra Range, Barrier Repair Cream and Dermaheal Gentle Cleanser are specially developed for sensitive, dry or atopic skins. Dermaheal Gentle cleansers and moisturisers contain a very high concentration of powerful growth factors that are normally produced by the skin. These growth factors are deposited where they are needed in the dermis. Thioredoxin and Copper tripeptides in a formulation ensure optimal skin protection.
The Laser Genesis procedure or the Limelight Pulsed Light procedure are among the best treatments for rosacea. They use light to penetrate the epidermis to target the capillaries in the dermal layer of the skin. The light is absorbed by oxy-haemoglobin which heat up the capillary walls to 70 degrees Celsius, damaging them and causing them to be absorbed by the body’s natural defence mechanism. With a sufficient number of treatments, this method may eliminate the redness altogether, though additional periodic treatments will probably be necessary to remove newly formed capillaries.
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