"Rosacea is a chronic inflammatory chronic common skin condition that resembles acne. This benign skin problem, which causes the face to appear red can also cause other symptoms such as flushing, persistent redness, bumpiness, and uneven skin texture and dilated skin vessels. It can also cause burning, stinging and dull dry skin appearance.
It affects about 16 million people in the US and about 45 million people worldwide. Most people who have rosacea also have fair skin, which appears to flush easily or blush when small blood vessels in the face dilate. Women in their 30s to 50s are more likely to have the condition. Many people who have rosacea are not aware of it and may think that their skin is just sensitive to the sun, while others may think they have acne. When not treated, symptoms can get more chronic over time. It is classified into four types. Although it is a chronic skin problem that may come and go, it is not contagious and it is easily diagnosed and managed with prescription medications and by improving the way you care for your skin at home. In most patients, the problem will be limited to the face.
The exact cause has not been identified. We do know that blood vessels in the skin of people with rosacea become dilated easily. We also know that there are certain lifestyle and environmental triggers that are listed below such as stress, sun or wind or certain foods.
Remember that with Rosacea it matters in terms of what you do and do not put on your skin so some experimentation may be needed to identify your personal triggers."
Rosacea Causes, Cures and Skin Care
Dr. Andrea Dray discusses Rosacea triggers, cures and skin care.
My Rosacea Story (and How I finally brought it under control)
This website was started after my personal quest to control my Rosacea. I suffered through years of having what appeared to be a red face, constant outbreaks, and pimples. At times the condition would flare up with the embarrassing red face color and pimple outbreaks that many who have this disease suffer through. I'm the guy in every family picture with the really red race.
I used to blame stress or other unknown triggers.
After years of experimentation, I finally found a method that at first controlled and then completely eliminated all signs of the condition. I am a 54-year-old man, so some of these techniques are specific to men, but the general principles apply to all.
This is my personal experience. It is what worked for me and may or may not work for you. It is based on recommendations from multiple Doctors and friends and the thinking is based on sound principals.
The biggest thing to learn is that you have to take care of your skin (to a guy this is news). Business as usual and prescription products alone will not control your Rosacea.
I start in the morning by shaving with a self-cleaning electric shaver and occasionally use a blade. Shaving introduces harmful bacteria into the skin so the goal is to minimize cuts and keep bacteria away.
If you use a blade, I suggest improving the quality of the products you use in order to cut down any nicks and cuts. I switched to the Art of Shaving system. You can get an Art of Shaving Starter Kit which lets you try the 4 step process (apply shaving oil, use the Art of Shaving cream applied with a brush, shave, then moisturize with the shaving balm) for under $20. My Doctor recommended that I add another step which is the application of an astringent right after shaving and before applying any prescription topicals and the moisturizer/shaving balm.
My Doctor recommended Kiel's Blue Astringent Herbal Lotion. This might be the most important thing you do since it reduces oily areas and soothes the skin. I take the Keil's and pour it into a small spray bottle. Keil's isn't cheap, but it is worth it (buy a small bottle and give it a try for two to three weeks).
For Women,I also suggest applying the Keil's to facial skin after showering.
(note an astringent may not be tolerated by everyone with Rosacea, so try and it and see how your skin reacts. I believe it is an importatn part of the regimen).
Spray it onto the skin, let it dry and then apply any prescription products such as Metrogel or Finacea (whatever your Doctor prescribed) followed by the moisturizer/shaving balm.
If you use a razor blade, pat it dry with a towel. This step will allow the blade to last longer and stay sharper.
Instead of shaving with a blade, I shifted most shaving to an electric self-cleaning razor. The self-cleaning option also cuts down on bacteria and the electric is less damaging to the face. I bought the Braun Series 7 790cc. It took a few times for my face to get used to the Electric, but now I get a great shave with no cuts or irritation!
- Shave with the electric self cleaning razor (or blade - apply shaving oil before shaving)
- Shower and wash with Dove sensitive skin bar soap
- Pat dry
- Spray Keil's Blue Astringent on face and let air dry after shaving or shower
- Apply prescription topical (e.g.; Metrogel)
- Apply Shaving Balm and/or High-Quality Moisturizer
Bed Time Routine
At night I wash the face using the Lush Kalamazoo Beard and Facial Wash (I don't have a beard). It is a natural product recommended by my Doctor that cleans and moisturizes. I never felt my skin so clean as when I use this product.
I follow this by the application of my prescription Finacea.
If your skin is dry, you can apply a high quality moisturizer such as Cerave.
Please use the comment form at the bottom of this page to let me know how this skin care regimen worked for you.
What Causes Rosacea?
The exact cause of rosacea is still unknown but studies suggest that it may have a genetic component because it tends to run in families. Other risk factors include overreaction of the immune system, H. pylori infection in the gut, presence of mites in the skin, sun-exposure, or changes in weather, menopause, and long-term treatment with steroids. Some things may also trigger flare-ups such as emotional stress, alcohol, hot or spicy foods, and heavy exercise.
10% of people with fair skin have the condition with the first signs appearing between age 30 and 50. Acne may have preceded the first rosacea outbreak by several years, although the appearance of acne earlier in life is not necessary to get the condition later on.
People can have their own personal triggers that cause the condition to flare-up such as stress or certain spicy foods or condiments. After a flare-up review foods and particularly condiments consumed the day before that may have caused the condition to worsen.
According to the National Rosacea Society, the most common triggers are:
Rosacea causes by type of trigger:
- Sour cream
- Cheese (except cottage cheese)
- Soy sauce
- Yeast extract (bread is ok)
- Broad-leaf beans and pods, including lima, navy or pea
- Citrus fruits, including tomatoes, bananas, red plums, raisins or figs
- Spicy and thermally hot foods
- Foods high in histamine
- Alcohol, especially red wine, beer, bourbon, gin, vodka or champagne
- Hot drinks, including hot cider, hot chocolate, coffee or tea
- Lift and load work
- Hot baths
- Simple overheating
- Excessively warm environments
- Strong wind
- Topical steroids
- Frequent flushing
- Chronic cough
- Caffeine withdrawal syndrome
Skin Care Products
- Some cosmetics and hair sprays, especially those containing alcohol, witch hazel or fragrances
- Hydro-alcoholic or acetone substances
- Any substance that causes redness or stinging
Newer research indicates that this condition may be caused by an immune disorder or response with the substance cathelicidin as a trigger. Individuals with rosacea have higher levels of cathelicidin. More research is needed to fully understand the role this substance may have in triggering skin inflammation.
The diagnosis of this condition is often made from the typical facial skin redness and symptoms such as easy blushing or flushing. However, it is usually under-diagnosed and many people are not aware they have the condition, especially when facial redness is transient.
Dermatologists are specially trained to diagnose rosacea. No specific tests are required except in some cases when a skin biopsy or skin scraping can help identify the presence of mites or bacteria on the skin.
Blood tests are not required except when they are used to help exclude other possible causes of facial flushing such assystemic lupus, dermatomyositis, or other autoimmune conditions.
There are several symptoms which are warning signs that you might have the condition. These include:
- Eye Irritation
- Watery Eyes
- Pimples or Bumps on Face
- Redness on the forehead, chin and/or nose
Source: Wilkin. J. Dahl, National Rosacea Society