Rosacea: Triggers & Treatment

Posted on September 22, 2015 by Jess Baker | 0 Comments

Do your cheeks go pink and hot without warning?

Does your neck and chest go blotchy half way through an important meeting?

Have you noticed mini-webs of pink veins on your cheeks and around your nose?

Rosacea Diagnosis
Since starting MIMI Skincare Kits I’ve begun to tell people about my Rosacea. That’s a huge deal to me as I’ve spent nearly twenty years feeling ashamed and embarrassed for having it. I know how it feels to go various shades of pink unexpectedly in public. 

I don’t want you to have argue with six GPs or wait ten years for a diagnosis as I did. Here’s my quick-guide to Rosacea and how to manage it. 

What is Rosacea?
Rosacea (latin orgin) is a common skin disorder of the face and should be clinically diagnosed by a dermatologist. There are different types, or levels of Rosacea. The first level is when the facial skin goes pink, particularly on the cheeks, chin and nose. This is called flushing or flaring and seems to occur at random times. With a more severe grade, such as Acne Rosacea, facial skin can look pink all of the time and has clusters of pimples that resemble acne.

What it's not
I’d like to clarify that Rosacea is not related to alcoholism. Some alcoholics may have redden skin, but this is not Rosacea. I’d also like to clarify that having Rosacea is not your fault. It’s likely to affect your self-confidence, but don't worry, along with my Love Your Look programme, there are things you can do to boost this. 

Causes of Rosacea
Nobody knows what causes Rosacea, but included in the list of possibilities are genes (Celtic, Irish or western European, African or Native American decent); bacteria and mites on the skin that cause inflammation; excessive amounts of yeast on the skin; bacteria in the gut; a supressed immune system.

Rosacea Triggers
There are hundreds of possible triggers for Rosacea which include physical triggers (your skincare routine, hormonal, diet, exercise); environmental triggers (sun, hot baths, cold weather, wind, saunas, clothing); and emotional triggers (stress, anxiety- not to mention the anxiety that comes with being at the mercy of the flush that makes us feel uncomfortable, and embarrassed, and when others notice and stare we feel more embarrassed and the flush lasts longer).

Rosacea Treatments
There’s no cure for Rosacea. Once you’ve been diagnosed by a dermatologist they’ll prescribe various bacteria-killing topical creams, or even beta-blockers that reduce your heart-rate (which can reduce flushing frequency). You can spend a fortune on laser treatment that helps reduce the appearance of visible blood vessels but no matter how big your budget, Rosacea doesn’t just disappear.

3-Steps Approach
I recommend my 3-step approach to managing Rosacea: look after your skin, your body and your mind. This has changed my life. Getting to know your skin, and understanding what triggers it reacts to, can help you reduce flushing. Reducing flushing reduces your dances of having dilated veins (visible pink lines). By also monitoring your diet, and managing your mindset (stress levels can exacerbate skin conditions) you'll be able to find solutes that work for you. 

Good for Your Skin
Your Rosacea is as individual as you are. Use these tips as a guide to learning what’s good for your skin.

Avoid these 11 everyday skincare mistakes

  1. Harsh exfoliants, rubbing and scrubbing can aggravate and redden the face. Opt for milky cleansers that disperse in water
  2. Foaming products contain sodium laureth sulphate and other SLS, which can leave the skin feeling dry. Choosing beauty products that are suitable for sensitive skin, and always do a test patch
  3. Face cloths can cause redness. Wiping the face with disposable cotton pads or washable bamboo feels luxurious by comparison
  4. Toners feel refreshing, but can contains types of alcohols these can cause irritation (SD alcohol, denat alcohol etc.). Using alcohol-free products (try cooled green tea that can help reduce inflammation)
  5. Face mask peels trap in heat causing the skin to redden. Use natural clay masks for a few minutes to prevent them drying out and make them easier to rinse off. Honey and oat masks are a good option to moisturise dry skin and sooth redness
  6. Relaxing in a hot bath causes blood to flow to the surface of the skin, so you’ll be pink-faced in no time. Saunas have the same effect. Try having cool baths or showers to prevent the body and face from over-heating
  7. Shampoos, conditioners and toothpaste can leave traces of irritants on the facial skin causing itchiness. Rinse your face, neck and ears well after using hair products. Rinse your mouth and chin area after brushing your teeth
  8. Spa treatments sound appealing but unless your beauty therapist understands Rosacea they’ll use the same products for everyone else. Always check that your beauty therapist understands how to treat your skin
  9. Wearing heavy make-up can clogs pores and cause pimples. Try applying foundation in thin layers, learning how to apply concealer where you need it, and testing any new products at home for a day to see if it stays in place
  10. Your skin is unique and can react negatively to any of the thousands of synthetic chemicals in products. Choose natural skincare products instead of creams that contain synthetic preservatives. Opting for light facial oils that are rich in anti-oxidants and essential fatty acids can help prevent your skin from feeling tight.
  11. Always test a patch of skin before using new products: use the product behind the ear and check 24 and 48 hours for any irritation.

Good for Your Body
As I mentioned above, Rosacea triggers can be physical, environmental and, or, emotional. The list for food triggers alone is enough to make you want to fast (caffeine, alcohol, spicy foods, wheat, barley, gluten, mature cheese). It’s impossible to avoid everything, but you can try monitoring what you eat and watch for any changes in your skin. Think of your skin as a physical representation of your immune system. Cut out anything that irritates your bowel as this will be evident on your skin. Be sure to tuck into a range of fruit and steamed veg, drink plenty of water, and get a variety of omegas from oily fish, nuts and seeds.

Exercising with Rosacea can exacerbate the symptoms, as blood rushes to the surface of the skin. (I once tried Bikram Yoga but my face turned to a corned beef shade of purple and stayed that colour for three days.) High resistance training and swimming can be better because your heart rate increases slowly and steadily.

Good for Your Mind
Your mindset is important. Of course I'd say this, I'm a Psychologist. And it's true. When was the last time you just sat still and breathed? We’re all doing three things at once all of the time. That’s life. But rushing around increases the heart rate, which causes flushing. Being stressed puts pressure on the immune system, which causes sensitivity and inflammation in the skin. So, try to plan your day so that you don’t need to hurry so much (you’ll probably become more productive). You could try daily meditation practice that can help you feel calmer and less stressed, and promotes a stronger immune system. For this reason, meditation can also help to improve chronic skin conditions. 

It may take you a while to identify all of your Rosacea triggers, and to find out what skincare products work for you. But once you know, you’ll feel much more in control of your Rosacea, and as a consequence much more self-confident.

Get my full, in-depth article on Rosacea, by emailing me jess@makeitmakeit.com.

Be good to yourself!

Jess x

Jess Baker is the founder of MIMI Skincare Kits, a Chartered Psychologist and an Associate Fellow of the British Psychological Society. She draws on her personal experience of having a skin condition, and on evidence from the fields of psychology and neuroscience to help women feel great about how they look. Jess' 8-week online programme Love Your Look is free, read more about it and sign up here


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