From chronic redness to flushed flare-ups, rosacea is a long-term skin condition affecting an estimated one in ten Britons. But what differentiates rosacea from general redness and how best to treat it? To dispel the myths and learn some truths, we sat down with CEO of ARK Skincare, Tamsin Styles, to get the full scoop...
FIVE FACTS ABOUT ROSACEA:
It’s More Common Than You Think
It’s thought around six million Brits have rosacea but due to misconceptions surrounding the condition and misdiagnosis, this number could actually be much higher. It’s more likely to affect women than men as well as those with fairer skin.
Symptoms Can Vary
Rosacea symptoms can vary between individuals, although it usually appears on the central part of the face. It looks like a redness or flushing on the cheeks, chin, nose and forehead, normally symmetrical in pattern. Other symptoms include irritation of the eye area (ocular rosacea), dry skin, plaques (raised red patches), outbreaks in the form of papules and pustules as well as inflammation. These can be visible beyond the face, showing on the ears, neck or chest.
The Cause Is Unknown
No one really knows what causes rosacea. While some studies suggest it may be genetic, others have implied it’s the result of a reaction to microscopic mites commonly found on the skin, whilst others believe it to be the result of abnormalities in the blood vessels of the face, causing the flushing and redness.
There’s No Official Test For It
There’s no test for rosacea – it’s just diagnosed by sight and symptoms – but it’s recognisable by the fact the skin won’t be greasy, like acne-prone skin, and flushing will occur regularly on a backdrop of redder, patchy skin. Persistent flushing and redness are the key indications of a rosaceous skin type.
But There Are Options
Sufferers will always be prone to attacks but it is usually possible to manage rosacea. Attacks could be down to individual triggers – which commonly include spicy food, alcohol, caffeine, extremes of weather, stress and intense exercise. Try keeping a diary of your flare-ups and activity around them – this is key to managing the condition in the long run.
FIVE WAYS TO TREAT IT:
Be Consistent With Skincare
When it comes to managing rosacea, using good quality skincare is key and sticking with a consistent skincare regime will help make skin less erratic and more manageable. Steer clear of common irritants such as parabens, artificial fragrances, mineral oils and sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS), as well as artificial scents.
Always Use SPF
Exposure to UV light causes inflammation, which in turn makes you more susceptible to redness and flushing. If you suffer from rosacea, be sure to protect a sensitive complexion with a good quality SPF. Look out for a mineral formula (they won’t absorb and cause inflammation) as well as ingredients such as titanium dioxide and zinc oxide, and wear an SPF of 30 to 50.
Try LED Light Therapy
LED light therapy – specifically amber or yellow lights – can really help to soothe inflammation and improve redness, so seek them out for your next facial. The best bit? LED treatment has no downtime, no side-effects and is entirely painless. Plus, sessions can be done in around 20 minutes, making them ideal for the time-poor. Try The Light Salon in Harvey Nichols. Laser and IPL (intense pulsed light) can address permanently visible blood vessels but always book in for a consultation with your dermatologist or facialist prior to treatment.
Change Your Diet
There is a strong argument to suggest that maintaining a healthy bacterial balance in the gut with probiotics could be beneficial to reducing overall inflammation, especially with rosacea. At the same time, vitamin C is an important structural element of blood vessels and supports the immune system, so could benefit some sufferers. Vitamin A is often used to treat skin disorders, so the likes of kale, sweet potatoes and spinach could be beneficial. Zinc could also provide help with tissue repair, if the redness is particularly bad.
Switch To Mineral Foundation
If your skin is very sensitive, liquid foundations can exacerbate rosacea. Instead, it could be worth trying a mineral powder like Glo Skin Beauty, which will cover redness without irritating and allow the skin to breathe.