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Monday, 30 March 2015 16:43

April is Rosacea Awareness Month

What is Rosacea?

Rosacea is a skin disorder that causes redness of the skin of the face in people of Celtic origin. The cause of Rosacea is not known but it usually affects people with fair skin in their 30's or 40's.  Research has found that the skin of people with Rosacea contains approximately 4 times as many tiny skin mites, called demodex folliculorum, than people without Rosacea. These mites live in the oil canals of the face and as it has also been shown that the oil in the skin of rosacea patients is different from non-rosacea patients this may be the cause of the multiplication of these mites.

Rosacea begins as small red spots on the nose, chin and cheeks.  These spots gradually merge leaving behind a red blotch. Over time if left untreated numerous blotches combine, eventually leading to an embarrassing redness in the center of the face. 

Once it begins the severity of Rosacea outbreaks can fluctuate and last for many years. Typical symptoms of rosacea are flushing easily, especially going from a cold to a warm atmosphere.  Facial redness can be accompanied by the appearance of tiny broken blood vessels called telangiectasias. Often Rosacea is accompanied by acne. Though it resembles teenage acne the two conditions are unrelated.  An unfortunate complication of Rosacea is Rhinophyma. Although it occurs rarely Rhinophyma is a very emotionally distressing condition as it causes an overgrowth of the oil glands of the nose giving it a thick, enlarged appearance.

Treating Rosacea

Although Rosacea is not classified as an infection of the skin Rosacea spots respond well to antibiotic treatment, perhaps because many antibiotics also contain anti inflammatories. Avoiding potential triggers such as hot drinks, large hot meals, spicy foods and alcohol is also important.

Skin care treatments can make a visible difference in the appearance of the skin.  Redness will gradually fade once the inflammation is under contol. Products containing anti-inflammatories and anti-oxidants that are noted as appropriate for sensitive skin are your best option.

Avoid products that are formulated with parabens, sodium lauryl sulfates, phthalates, artificial dyes or synthetic fragrances. Instead of soap use a gentle corrective cleanser containing Licorice Root Extract - an antiseptic, anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant and Grape Seed Extract - known for their highly potent anti-oxidants.
Balance and calm your skin after cleansing with a toner containing Willow Bark extract, used for its anti-inflammatory, antibacterial and anti-redness benefits. A natural alternative to hydrocortisone Willow Bark soothes and heals wounds.

A serum with active ingredients Totarol and Licorice Root Extract used nightly reduce irriation and redness particularly associated with acne rosacea. This will help to create a comfortable complexion. Totarol comes from the Totara Tree in New Zealand and is a poten anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory. It is a very gentle alternative to Benzoyl Peroxide.

A good moisturizer with a strong moisture barrier is a must for helping to keep out environmental aggravations and prevent irritating sensitive skin. A moisturizer with an SPF and active ingredients titanium dioxide and/or zinc oxide, along with healing ingredients such as antioxidants are your best choice.  

For those people dealing with telangiectasias, IPL Laser is very effective to treat the broken blood vessels. IPL is Intense Pulsed Light and a great choice for rosacea. You may need several treatments spaced about a month apart to see an improvement, but you will get gratifying results.

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