Rosacea is a condition of the skin that presents itself as a red rash primarily on the face, but sometimes on the upper back and neck. There seems to be many causes of the disorder, but there is no known cure.
If the primary cause can be identified, lifestyle changes can make a considerable difference. There are a number of unproven theories about the causes of Rosacea including allergies, microscopic mites on the skin, fungi, sun, cold, humidity and overheating.
Some foods are also suspect when considering what causes Rosacea. Anyone suffering from the condition should try to eliminate yogurt, cheese, sour cream, chocolate, vanilla, vinegar, beans, citrus fruit, tomatoes and spicy or thermally hot foods. These are among the most common foods that may trigger a rash because of their histamine content.
Many people notice an increase in Rosacea outbreaks when they are experiencing emotional stress, anxiety or embarrassment, and it seems that women suffer from these triggers more than men do. People who have a strong desire to please and aspire to perfection seem to be affected more by Rosacea than others. Although it is extremely difficult to get control over these feelings, it can be done.
It is important for people with these feelings to affirm their own self-worth and work at building up their level of confidence. Although there is not a cure for Rosacea at this time, there are a number of treatments that help to alleviate the symptoms.
The most commonly prescribed medications are anti-inflammatory in both the oral and topical type. An oral medication is usually the first course of treatment and the patient stays on an antibiotic such as doxycycline, tetracycline, erythromycin or accutane until the condition is controlled.
Once that has been accomplished, a topical treatment of steroid cream will help to prevent flare-ups. Recent advances in laser therapy can reduce persistent redness by destroying dilated blood vessels that cause the condition. Photoderm VL-Flashlamp is a 3-step laser treatment that shows great promise in removing superficial blood vessels located just under the epidermis. These blood vessels are the primary cause of redness, so the redness is greatly reduced when they are removed.
Since Rosacea occurs most often on the face, it follows that anyone suffering from the condition should treat their facial skin gently while cleansing it. It is necessary to remove dirt and makeup, but avoid using a rough sponge or washcloth to apply the cleanser
A gentle, non-abrasive cleanser should be applied with the fingers only and rinsed off thoroughly with lukewarm water. Avoid toners or facial cleansing products that contain alcohol, and always blot the skin dry with a soft towel.
Most women and even some men want to use a moisturizer on their skin after it has been cleansed. There are almost innumerable products available, and many make claims about their skin firming qualities. It is very important for anyone suffering from Rosacea to avoid topical retinoids and alpha-hydroxy acids.
These products often sting and burn when they are applied, and they will increase skin redness. In addition, fragrances, benzoyl peroxide, witch hazel, eucalyptus oil, clove oil, peppermint and menthol should be avoided. A simple, basic moisturizer is the best choice, and some people get great results with coconut oil or cosmetic grade olive oil.
Rosacea sufferers should always use a sunscreen when their skin is exposed to the sun, and the extra protection provided by a wide brimmed hat is a good idea. It is important to use a broad spectrum sunscreen with an SPF high enough to prevent sunburn. Some people with very fair skin may do best with an SPF of 30 or higher.
Although Rosacea is seen in both men and women, it is usually diagnosed in women who are in the 40 to 50 year age range. While hormonal changes seem to make women more susceptible to breakouts, menopause itself has not been identified as a cause for Rosacea.
A fair skinned woman who has occasional mild breakouts may experience an increase in the number and severity of occurrences while she is experiencing hot flashes caused by menopause. This is the one specific circumstance where the condition of Rosacea can be greatly improved after menopause.