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Rosacea – Common triggers and solutions

Rosacea is a chronic skin condition that affects millions of Americans, mainly age 30 and above.  Believed to be genetic, the cause of rosacea is unknown.  This condition can affect anyone, but is most commonly seen in those of Western European descent.

Four types of Roseacea:

One type or a combination of types may be present at any time.

Type 1: Erythematotelangiectatic rosacea is characterized by diffuse redness and dilated capillaries.  The skin often has a dry texture

Type 2: Papulopustular rosacea appears with large acne-like papules.

Type 3: Phymatous rosacea This type primarily affects the nose, causing redness and enlargement in the cartilage around the nose.

Type 4: Ocular rosacea causes redness of the eye and eyelid.  Styes and thickening of the eyelid may occur.

What are the main triggers of rosacea?

The main trigger for flushing is heat, including sun exposure.  Keeping the skin cool is important in helping to reduce flare-ups.  Exercising can contribute as it raises the body’s temperature.  Rosacea-prone people should not exercise in the sun, and should try and keep as cool as possible.  Swimming is a good choice.

Do foods trigger flushing?

Not everyone is affected by the same foods, but yes, food plays a role, and there are some common foods that are a trigger for many.  Alcoholic drinks, particularly red wine, hot beverages, spicy foods, and citrus are known to trigger flare-ups.

How do I treat my rosacea?

  • Use a gentle cleanser that is appropriate for your oiliness level.  Avoid overcleansing the skin as this can damage the barrier function, leading to inflammation and flushing.
  • An alcohol-free toner with healing ingredients such as aloe or green tea.
  • A lightweight sunscreen with physical sunscreens such as zinc oxide or titanium dioxide.  Sunscreen keeps the skin cooler and protects it from damage.
  • A good serum formulated for  redness.  many good ingredients include peptides, mushroom, green tea and licorice extracts among others.
  • A lightweight moisturizer in the form of a lotion, as creams can be heavier and trap more heat on the skin.  If you have a very dry complexion however, creams will help repair the barrier function.  Look for a moisturizer that is designed for redness prone skin  with healing ingredients.
  • Avoid trigger-foods and excess heat.

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