What’s your trigger
According to the National Rosacea Society…
Rosacea is a chronic and potentially life-disruptive disorder primarily of the facial skin, often characterized by flare-ups and remissions. Many have observed that it typically begins any time after age 30 as a redness on the cheeks, nose, chin or forehead that may come and go. In some cases, rosacea may also occur on the neck, chest, scalp or ears. Over time, the redness tends to become ruddier and more persistent, and visible blood vessels may appear. Left untreated, bumps and pimples often develop, and in severe cases the nose may grow swollen and bumpy from excess tissue. This is the condition, called rhinophyma (pronounced “rhi-no-FY-muh”), that gave the late comedian W.C. Fields his trademark bulbous nose. In many rosacea patients, the eyes are also affected, feeling irritated and appearing watery or bloodshot.
Although rosacea can affect all segments of the population, individuals with fair skin who tend to flush or blush easily are believed to be at greatest risk. The disease is more frequently diagnosed in women, but more severe symptoms tend to be seen in men — perhaps because they often delay seeking medical help until the disorder reaches advanced stages.
While rosacea cannot be cured, it can be controlled. Today there are many therapies available to treat the various potential signs and symptoms of rosacea, from topical medications to laser therapy. Rosacea may vary substantially from one patient to another, and treatment must be tailored by a physician for each individual condition.
From the perspective of the esthetician, we often encounter clients who battle daily with rosacea. Untreated, or undiagnosed, often times it is self-diagnosed as acne. Knowing what to look for is half the battle. The other half is treating the symptoms by a medical professional, and proper in-home care.
The clients I have seen who are struggling with rosacea seem to be willing to try just about any and everything to reduce the redness and the pustules on their skin. While I understand the desire to reduce these symptoms, they are best managed with the ‘less is more’ approach.
Watch out for common rosacea irritants. In surveys conducted by the National Rosacea Society, many patients cited the following ingredients as triggers for irritation:
alcohol (66 percent), witch hazel (30 percent), fragrance (30 percent), menthol (21 percent), peppermint (14 percent) and eucalyptus oil (13 percent). Most respondents said they avoided astringents, exfoliating agents and other types of products that may be too harsh for sensitive skin.
Use minimal products. Rosacea patients should also consider reducing the number of items they use on their skin by choosing products with multiple functions.
- Start with a water-soluble cleanser. Harsh scrubs should be alleviated all together.
- During the day, use an SPF product that doubles as a moisturizer. Look for active ingredients such as Zinc Oxide and or Titanium Dioxide for your sun protectants. These ingredients are gentler on the skin than any chemical sun protection. A moisturizer with additional ingredients, such as antioxidants and skin-healing will benefit the skin, while keeping your products at minimum.
- For those with rosacea who are also experiencing acne breakouts, consider using a salicylic acid (BHA) in your regimen. Salicylic Acid is a derivative of aspirin and therefore helps with inflammation. In addition, it helps keep the skin exfoliated without using harsh scrubs.
An estimated 16 million Americans have rosacea, yet only a small fraction are being treated. In addition to raising public awareness and supporting research, the National Rosacea Society provides information that may help rosacea patients better understand their disorder and more effectively manage its signs and symptoms.