Rosacea is a chronic skin inflammation that causes redness and swelling on the face. This condition appears mainly in females between the ages of 30-60 years old. Frequent flushing/blushing and an increase in skin sensitivity are common first signs of rosacea developing. It then progresses to persistent redness in the centre of the face (cheeks, forehead, chin, and nose). It can also spread to the ears, neck, chest, back and your upper limbs. In rare cases it can affect people’s eyes, causing red, sore, and gritty eyes leading to conjunctivitis.
Here are the 5 Most Common Signs of Rosacea
- Permanent flushing through the centre of your face
- Enlarged capillaries (telangiectasia)
- Mildly swollen cheeks and nose (hyperplasia)
- Bumps under the skin that cause a burning or stinging sensation
- Yellow-headed pimples
Whilst extremely common there’s no one size fits all to helping everyone’s individual experience with 'true' rosacea. What do I mean by 'true' rosacea?
"True rosacea is an immune modulated concern that needs to be managed ongoing. Based, at this time, on medical and scientific research it is thought to result from a combination of immune system dysregulation, abnormal neurologic and vascular signalling and dysbiosis of microorganisms leading to skin sensitivity and inflammation" (Kiri, AMPERNA founder and owner)
To have an effective plan to treat your rosacea a health professional must closely examine a sufferer’s skin. This should also most importantly include a thorough understanding of your health holistically. Your diet, lifestyle, stress levels and any medical and family history with rosacea all play an important part in understanding and narrowing down your treatment plan.
True rosacea must be distinguished from other types of similar skin concerns, including:
- Acne – which does not include easy flushing/blushing
- Seborrheic dermatitis – includes dandruff in the scalp but no pustules like rosacea
- Perioral dermatitis – has smaller pustules that dot the skin mainly around the mouth
- Lupus erythematosus – has a similar redness on the cheeks, but no pustules. A blood test may be necessary to rule this out.
If you are diagnosed incorrectly and prescribed the wrong things, you may acquire rosacea or any other skin concern, through sensitisation or compromising your skin barrier and bringing on inflammation.
Kiri has coached hundreds of people suffering from both true rosacea as well as acquired rosacea off the back of wrong treatment plans.
A recent example of this is a woman who was suffering from redness on her face and was prescribed by her dermatologist a topical steroid and a Cetaphil cream to help with her said "rosacea". When she came to Kiri as her redness had worsened Kiri asked the right holistic questions and discovered she was an asthma sufferer who has used a steroid inhaler for the last 37 years and was now prescribed by her dermatologist a steroid cream and a product that contains SLS (sodium laurel sulphate) when she wasn’t suffering from rosacea in the first place. She was actually suffering from topical steroid withdrawal.
But most doctors and dermatologists don’t believe in topical steroid withdrawal, so they recommend patients use a product that’s detrimental to their skins health and masks the symptoms instead of diving deeper to the root cause of the skin concern.
This misdiagnosis is happening far too often, you can watch a brief overview from Kiri on TSW below.
Kiri also interviewed a topical withdrawal sufferer named Jordan which you can watch below.
A FRIENDLY NOTE: Topical steroids must not be used to treat rosacea
External Rosacea Triggers
It’s best to keep a skin-diary to know what factors may be contributing to your rosacea symptoms. Unfortunately, there is no permanent cure for rosacea but there are known external triggers that you should be made aware of, these include:
- hot drinks
- spicy foods
- overexposure to sunlight
- emotional stress
- overheating, especially in bed at night
How to Best Manage Rosacea
As mentioned above treatment options will depend on each individual and severity of the skin condition. Rosacea needs to be managed ongoing to reduce your symptoms.
The best place to start is identifying your triggers and avoiding them as much as possible. Things like too much sunlight/heat, alcohol, or spicy foods can exacerbate your symptoms and you should pay attention to this if you’re experiencing or consuming them.
Dietary triggers will vary from person to person. Several foods have been recognised as usual culprits though, including bananas, cheese, yoghurts, figs, nut, alcohol (especially champagne, red wine, and beer).
You should try to keep your face as cool as possible to reduce flushing.
Laser treatments may be suggested to treat redness or visible blood vessels.
Use Rosacea-friendly Gentle Skincare
There are a lot of harsh skincare products that can irritate Rosacea-prone skin. The AMPERNA® range is suitable for all sensitive skin sufferers, the best products Kiri recommends people to start with is the Soothing Duo. Use a soap-free cleanser only, our Ultra Gentle Soothing Cleanser gently cleans and balances your skin.
Ensure you wear an SPF every single day. Rosacea is provoked by excessive exposure to sunlight. Wear protective clothing and a wide-brimmed hat while outdoors and try to stay out of the direct sunlight.
Avoid rubbing or scrubbing your skin or using harsh exfoliants.
Light mineral-based make up is your best option.
Always patch test any new skincare or make up by dabbing a very small amount next to (but not directly onto) where your rosacea flares. If it burns, stings, or irritates your skin within 48 hours do not use those products.
Ingredients to Avoid in Skincare
Today most consumers are using caution and reading labels on products before committing to buying. And this is essential when you are managing a skin concern like rosacea.
To reduce the likelihood of a buying a product that will irritate your rosacea-prone skin, you want to avoid anything that contains:
- Tretinoin (avoid at all costs)
- Glycolic acid (avoid when you’re flared)
- Lactic acid (avoid when you’re flared)
- Sodium laurel sulphate (often found in shampoos and toothpaste)
Holistic skin coaching
Kiri is always here to help and offers private one on one skin coaching calls. She’s experienced misdiagnosis and skin concerns of her own so it’s her mission to help as many people as possible find the best treatment and ongoing management of their skin in a holistic way.