I don’t always like to use the term ‘suffer from’ when talking of skin types or skin conditions, including rosacea. After all, the quest for perfection and the desire to have ‘normal’ skin (what is that??) can be more toxic than some of the worst ingredients in most chemical skincare ranges. However, for those with rosacea-prone skin, I do often hear the term ‘suffer’ and this is because rosacea flare-ups can lead to a loss of confidence and can cause skin irritation and swelling.
Whilst I’m all for living in the skin you’re in and celebrating your unique beauty, many rosacea sufferers will look to calm and care for the condition, hoping to lessen the visible effects of rosacea. If you’re prone to rosacea then I’m here for you and hopefully, this article will help you to better understand the condition and give you some expert tips and advice for rosacea skin care.
What Is Rosacea?
Rosacea is a skin condition that manifests itself through a reddening of the skin, usually along the nose and cheeks but sometimes along the forehead and on the chin too. The reddening may be accompanied by the appearance of broken blood vessels or small pink pimples.
Rosacea can also be an extremely painful condition to some, it can cause irritation. Skin can become itchy and sensitive, especially to certain products or weather conditions.
Rosacea can cause swelling in the skin although this is usually short-lived. Persisting rosacea can lead to thickening of the skin which can cause hard patches on the face and rhinophyma of the nose.
What Causes Rosacea?
Although no one is entirely sure of the exact cause of rosacea, we do know of some factors that can increase the likelihood of a person developing rosacea. We also know it is nothing to do with bad hygiene so, if you’re suffering from rosacea don’t panic - it doesn’t mean you’re doing anything wrong.
Causes and triggers of rosacea include:
- Genetics - rosacea is more common in some families
- Overactive immune system
- Alcohol use
- Aerobic exercise
- Weather - including wind but also hot and cold temperatures
Many other activities can trigger a rosacea flare-up, including eating spicy foods. It’s a good idea to track your flare-ups and note any potential triggers so these can be avoided in future. Managing your rosacea is as much about sourcing the causes and addressing those, as it is about treating the symptoms.
Is There A Cure For Rosacea?
Rosacea is most common in women 30-50 years old and it tends to affect people with lighter skin more. However, when rosacea does occur in men the symptoms can be more intense. For instance, perhaps because men already have thicker skin, rhinophyma is a more common result of rosacea in males.
Unfortunately, rosacea tends to be a condition you either suffer from or don’t. Whilst there is no ‘cure’, the condition can be managed and the symptoms treated. As mentioned above, identifying triggers for your rosacea and avoiding these is the best place to start. However, flare-ups are inevitable and, as rosacea tends to aggravate or cause sensitive skin, we must treat rosacea-prone skin carefully.
Caring For Rosacea Prone Skin
Any condition which means calming irritated or inflamed skin needs a very sensitive approach. Minimal, even.
Alcohol, Spicy Food and Rosacea
Firstly, you’ll want to avoid spicy foods and alcohol. Although rosacea is certainly not caused by excessive drinking, alcohol can trigger or worsen the condition. In fact, a study by the Journal Of American Academy Of Dermatology suggested that women who drink alcohol increase their chances of developing rosacea. Therefore, if you do drink it may be worth staying away from alcohol for a few weeks to see if your symptoms are reduced.
Medical Treatment For Rosacea
When serious flare-ups cause your skin to be irritated to the point of discomfort, it would be wise to consult a doctor. A Doctor may refer you to a dermatologist or prescribe antibiotics or special skin creams to calm down the skin during particularly symptomatic periods. Obviously, this is not a long-term management technique since you cannot be taking antibiotics or steroids too often. Many people are reluctant to speak to a doctor regarding their skin as they assume it's purely cosmetic. However, your skin is the body’s largest organ so it’s only natural that caring for your skin should sometimes take a medical approach. Especially since issues with the skin can present themselves when the body is undergoing other struggles or even illnesses.
Water And Wellness
No matter what type of skin you have, I can tell you one thing it always needs and that’s water. Inside and out, the skin needs to be hydrated to be kept healthy. Whether you have rosacea-prone skin or other conditions, the most basic ways of caring for your skin apply and this includes drinking a lot of water and washing your face with clean water every day. Especially for sensitive skin, you should ensure the water is not too hot or too cold as fluctuations in temperature can cause reactions.
Eating a healthy diet is also important and, although exercise can cause rosacea to flare up I would not advise giving up your fitness routine. What regular exercise does for your overall health far outweighs any flushing it may cause your skin. Although, if your rosacea does flare up after exercise you may want to experiment with some different forms of exercise which do not heat your skin so quickly. Hot yoga, if you have rosacea-prone skin, may not be the workout for you. Again, drinking water to stay hydrated whilst you exercise will help as will wearing breathable clothing that keeps you cooler.
Skincare For Rosacea
Rosacea causes the skin to be highly sensitive to changes in temperature and harsh chemicals. Though your skin creams and cleansers may claim to be gentle and calming, if they’re not all-natural then they may contain ingredients that could actually trigger reactions in your skin. If it’s not natural then your skin doesn't always know what to do with it so these chemicals can instigate an overactive immune system to spring into defence, which can exacerbate rosacea.
Rosacea-prone skin needs all-natural skincare with gentle calming ingredients and plenty of natural oils. A face cream and cleanser that stimulates those natural oils into action, rather than attempts to take over, and something that encourages your skin to shed dead cells to reveal brighter, newer skin beneath.
Now I’d be a fool not to mention my handmade rosacea cream and cleanser set, The Radiance, which is designed to specifically calm and soften your skin. Targeting the symptoms of rosacea, my skincare is naturally collagen-promoting, anti-inflammatory and contains SPF. Alchemising shea butter, sweet almond oil, zinc oxide, carrot seed oil, turmeric oil, chamomile and lavender, each carefully crafted tub of whipped-up cream uses plant oils from our beautiful planet to restore moisture and soothe stressed skin.
Whether or not you opt for Olive and Joyce skincare products or not, I strongly urge you to go for all-natural skincare for rosacea-prone skin as it needs the gentle goodness of nature to help stabilise the symptoms. Be prepared for this to take a little while to take effect since, if your skin has been subject to chemical products, it will take a while for it to dispel these and adjust. This leads me to my next point…
Rosacea Skincare Routines
Sensitive skin is a little like a toddler on the verge of a tantrum. It needs a gentle approach and clear communication. Meaning, that your skin needs to know what to expect and when. Sticking to a simple and regular skincare routine is important. Cleansing and moisturising are all that are needed. An oil cleanser softly smoothed into the skin before washing with tepid water, followed by an all-natural face cream which should be applied with wet fingers to encourage it to sink into the skin with the added help of hydration.
Although it may be very tempting to apply facemasks and use ‘miracle’ products every now and then, I would advise keeping your skincare very basic so that your skin can focus on repairing itself without too much intervention which is more likely to thwart it than help it, in the case of conditions such as rosacea.
Try To Love Your Skin
Your rosacea won’t be cured by love but accepting it will help reduce stress and this could have an effect on calming those symptoms. Our skin reacts to all sorts of things including our mindset and having a constant mental battle with your skin can affect your mood and therefore your body’s ability to nurture itself properly. This is, without doubt, the hardest part of any treatment for those suffering from rosacea. However, since flare-ups are somewhat inevitable you will likely find yourself managing your rosacea for some time, even if you're successfully keeping those symptoms minimal. Therefore, it might help to not think of your rosacea as a condition and instead accept it as your skin type. One which, when you keep it calmer and less irritated, can even be quite pretty. After all, there are far worse colours for our cheeks to be than flushed pink.
Much like having freckles or having very pale skin, it is a choice whether we regard them as flaws or embrace them as beautiful and unique. The same could be said for rosacea.
Having said this, if your rosacea is causing your skin discomfort then please do ask your doctor to be referred to a dermatologist. Especially if you're experiencing stinging or itching because, whilst I don’t believe in ‘problem skin’, if it is hurting you in any way then that is a problem.