Whether it’s Santa Claus or funny Uncle Norm, there’s more to those jolly red faces than beats the eye. Constant rosiness is part of a condition called Rosacea. Rosacea is a skin condition that causes blushing, redness, blood vessels, and pimple like breakouts on the mid face. It can also affect the eyes with redness and a dry gritty sensation. It is most common in adults over age 30, with Celtic or European ancestry, although it can be found to a lesser extent in people of color. Men tend to have the worst variant which can cause big, bulbous nose changes called rhinophyma. There are all kinds of theories about what causes rosacea, like skin mites (Demodex), microbes, chronic sun exposure, and nervous or immune system factors.
Rosacea can flare for multiple reasons such as heat, cold, stress, caffeine, spicy food, alcohol, illness, topical steroids, or irritating skincare routines. Thus, if possible, it’s best to avoid these types of things. For the almost impossible avoidance of stress…find healthy outlets to release that binding energy like exercise or meditation.
Rosacea Skin Care
In general, those with rosacea have quite sensitive skin. Products with ingredients like alcohol, witch hazel, menthol, scrubbing particles or brushes should be avoided. Additionally, take caution when using anti-aging regimens like retinols, or hydroxy acids. A key role is to start low and go slow. Try glycolic products which tend to be milder than salicylic. Test products on the bend of your arm every day for a week, in those with super sensitive skin, and watch for abnormal reactions.
For daily skin care, utilize sensitive skin products such as Aveeno Ultra Calming Lotion and Wash, Eucerin Redness Relief Night Creme or Cleansing Gel, and for the super sensitive Avene Antirougeurs Redness Relief Dermo-Cleansing Milk or Day Cream. As far as daily sun protection, Cerave AM and Neutrogena Clear Face Liquid Lotion are great options.
If left untreated, Rosacea may worsen. Nonetheless, OTC options are quite mild, but may attest some benefit if you choose those with a positive track record. Ingredients with proven anti-inflammatory properties such as; green tea, oatmeal, chamomile, honey, niacinamide, aloe, licorice, feverfew, and certain essential oils like tea tree/lavender/rose oil are great choices in OTC rosacea treatments.
After researching the market for quality products, I was able to track many on websites such as Ulta or Sephora. Here are my top 7 picks with a few of their beneficial ingredients elucidated.
Derma Doctor Calm Cool & Corrected (white tea, aloe, chamomile)
First Aid Beauty Anti-Redness Serum (aloe, white tea leaf, caffeine, licorice root, sulfur)
Dermalogica Ultra Calming Repair (avena sativa, ginger root extract, evening primrose oil)
Jurlique Calendula Redness Rescue Soothing Moisturising Cream (jojoba seed oil, calendula, honey, white tea),
DDF Sulfur Therapeutic Mask (sulfur, clay base),
Phat 5.5 Manuka Honey Rosacea Lotion (Manuka honey, aloe, algae, coconut oil)
Dermelect Redness Rehab Rosacea Relief (camellia Sinensis Leaf (Green Tea) Extract, shea, and aloe).
There are theories that an anti-inflammatory diet may help calm the rosy flares of rosacea. Research has not found hard evidence for this, but a healthy diet does help create healthy skin. Anti-inflammatory foods include fruits, vegetables, whole grains, fish, and certain spices like turmeric, ginger, and garlic. A comprehensive example is the enhanced Food Guide Pyramid on Dr. Weil’s website at https://www.drweil.com/diet-nutrition/anti-inflammatory-diet-pyramid/dr-weils-anti-inflammatory-food-pyramid-2-2/.
It may come as no surprise, but prescription treatments will be your heavy hitters to knock moderate-severe rosacea out of the park. There are options like topical Metrogel, Finacea, Soolantra (demodex mite fighter) and off label clinicians often use Aczone (meant for acne, but has anti-inflammatory effects). For serious rosacea cases your provider may add an oral antibiotic of the Doxycycline class which is anti-inflammatory for skin, like Oracea. Mirvaso and Rhofade are one of the newest drugs for rosacea, which are the only to specifically target redness. To ascertain the best treatment for you, see your dermatology provider.
In Office Devices
The blushed appearance and vessels of rosacea may be the most difficult aspect to rid the skin of. Light therapies are the best option to cause heat destruction of vessels and ameliorate baseline redness. However, this is not something typically covered by insurance and requires multiple treatments.
If all else fails, you can always use your face as a blank canvas for artistic camouflage of your imperfections. The right make-up can conceal redness and decrease the 3-D effect of big facial papules. Green tinted primers are great for concealing red hues. Find one with an SPF to protect while covering. Explore mineral make-up as it is often free of irritants for sensitive rosacea skin. Brands like “IT Cosmetics” “Dermablend” or “Judith August Cosmetics” specialize in corrective color. Yet others like Bare Minerals or Physician’s formula provide easy to find mineral make-up options.
Although there is no cure for rosacea, these are some great ways to banish the blushing and redness in its tracks.
*The information provided above or in any blogs on this site is for educational purposes only. I does not replace advice or necessary examination and diagnosis from your healthcare clinician. Please see your healthcare provider for any and all concerns with changes in your health or treatment of disease.