If you experience redness in your face, you may have a skin condition called rosacea. Rosacea is a skin condition that can sometimes be mistaken for acne, eczema, or even just a skin allergy. If you have any of the symptoms, a skin specialist can help you with a diagnosis.
While this skin condition might make its first appearance in childhood, it often peaks between the ages of 30 and 50 years. If rosacea affects you, the good news is that there are plenty of ways to reduce its appearance.
Reduce redness caused by rosacea with a diagnosis and skin care plan from an expert skin specialist. When you book a consultation with our dermal clinicians, we'll take into account lifestyle factors and personal preferences for treatment options.
What causes rosacea?
Several factors can cause the appearance of rosacea. The first is your genetics — people of Celtic or Northern European descent can be prone to increased blood vessel density at the surface of the skin, which causes redness. Harsh climates, extreme temperatures, UV exposure, spicy foods, emotion, alcohol or hot drinks can exacerbate this redness.
Another contributing factor to the tell-tale redness of rosacea is the demodex mite, which can infect the pores in the skin. A prescription cream may help to alleviate or reduce this type of rosacea redness.
Finally, this skin condition can result from an increase in inflammatory molecules when the skin barrier is disturbed. The symptoms may resolve when the skin repairs.
Whether you are affected by one or all of these causes, there is a range of symptoms that you might experience.
Signs and symptoms you may have rosacea
If you have mild rosacea, you may experience flushing. Flushing is a prolonged period of blushing that can feel hot on the skin and can spread from the face to the neck and chest. This facial redness may fade away, or you may experience persistent redness caused by the dilation of blood vessels at the surface of the skin.
As rosacea becomes more chronic it can cause blotchiness or a 'web' of tiny, visible blood vessels on the surface of the skin.
Symptoms of mild rosacea may mimic the symptoms of sensitive skin. For example, the blood vessels (rather than the skin cells) respond to stimuli like touch or sunlight, so you may get redness on the skin that looks like skin irritation.
Finally, more severe rosacea may be mistaken for acne when the symptoms include pimples and spots. Unlike acne, no blackheads will occur. Other symptoms that may develop over time include thickening of the skin.
Nine ways to reduce rosacea
There's no known cure for this skin condition, but there are steps you can take to dramatically reduce your symptoms both at home or at a specialty skin clinic. Here are some options to try:
Wear and reapply sunscreen
This advice is always good advice, which is why you hear it so often! Use sunscreen with an SPF of at least 50, and if you are in the sun for prolonged periods, wear a hat and try to stay in the shade.
Protect your face from the elements
If you are in harsh conditions like wind, hot or cold, consider wearing a scarf or mask to protect your face from the elements.
Use a gentle moisturiser and cleanser
A moisturiser can help to calm your skin. When you select products to use on your face, choose gentle ingredients that won't irritate the skin. Avoid products with alcohol, sodium lauryl sulfates, and harsh exfoliants.
Choose noncomedogenic skin products
Noncomedogenic skin care products are formulated to avoid clogging the pores of the skin. Choose these where you can to reduce the likelihood of rosacea pimples occurring.
Avoid saunas and excessive heat
Exposure to extreme heat can trigger a flare-up, so try to avoid using a sauna or taking very hot showers.
Avoid trigger foods
Spicy foods and alcohol can trigger rosacea. Create a list of foods that trigger your symptoms so you can avoid these in future.
Actively reduce stress
Stress may exacerbate redness on your face, so taking steps to reduce stress in your life can help to mitigate the symptoms of rosacea. You may consider trying meditation or yoga. Eating a balanced diet, getting plenty of sleep and spending time in nature can all help to counter the stress of city life.
Choose low-intensity exercise
High-intensity exercise may increase persistent redness. You can still stay healthy and fit doing lower intensity exercise like swimming, lifting weights, rock-climbing, walking — there are many options, so don't let your symptoms prevent you exercising.
Consider laser treatment
Laser treatments can help to reduce persistent redness caused by rosacea. At the Victorian Dermal Group, there are two laser treatment options for rosacea — the Vbeam Prima or the GentleMAX Pro. These lasers specifically target the area of concern and will significantly reduce your symptoms in as few as three sessions, depending on your specific skin type.