Red in the Face – That Persistent Blush May Be Rosacea
Are you experiencing periods of blushing that come and go? Or have acne-like flare-ups that won’t go away? If so, you may have rosacea.
April is Rosacea Awareness Month, and the National Rosacea Society (NRS), is committed to getting the word out on rosacea, also called “The Great Impostor,” an often debilitating inflammatory skin disorder characterized by unexplained redness in that face that may come and go (can be whole face or specific pattern); bumps that look like acne; tiny visible red blood vessels under the skin; and red-rimmed watery eyes.
According to the NRS, over 16 million Americans have rosacea. More common in fair-skinned individuals, symptoms often appear between the ages of 30 and 50 years old. “Because rosacea’s symptoms can often mimic other skin conditions and can worsen if treated with the wrong products—for example, treating it with acne medication—it’s really important to continue to spread education about what to look for, because the good news is that once patients are treated, rosacea can be managed,” says New York City Board Certified Dermatologist Doris Day.
If left untreated, rosacea can worsen and sufferers can develop more severe symptoms such as bumps (papules) and pimples (pustules) and the nose may grow more swollen and bumpy, a condition called rhinophyma. “Early treatment is the key to minimizing more severe symptoms,” says Omaha Board Certified Dermatologist Joel Schlessinger. “Sometimes this may be as simple as avoiding certain foods, while other times it may include strict avoidance of products or exposures to the face and medications to treat the condition.”
The best way to find out if you have rosacea is to see a dermatologist specializing in this condition. Most likely, they will prescribe a gentle skincare regimen, and for more serious cases, topical or oral antibiotics, which help clear acne-like bumps. “In addition to medication, people with rosacea can help manage symptoms by avoiding direct sun, wearing SPF 30 or higher and watching their intake of spicy foods, soy and alcohol,” adds Dr. Day. “Establishing a routine to consistently care for your skin will also help to achieve your optimal results.”
Exposure to the sun, wind and extremely cold weather
Diet – spicy foods
Alcoholic beverages – red wine, beer, gin and vodka
Applying irritating cosmetics or skin care products
Ingredients that can be helpful:
Over the Counter Products: Look for products that are gentle, fragrance-free and made for sensitive skin. In addition, always wear a broad-spectrum chemical-free sunscreen with SPF 30 or higher.
For mild redness, dryness and sensitivity, Aveeno’s Ultra-Calming Foaming Cleanser ($7) contains skin soothing Feverfew, a natural ingredient related to chamomile, which has anti-inflammatory properties. This oil and fragrance-free cleanser gently cleanses skin and removes makeup without any irritation. www.aveeno.com
To moisturize and protect red, irritated skin, Eucerin’s Redness Relief Daily Perfecting Lotion with SPF 15 ($14.99) contains licochalcone, licorice root extract with skin soothing properties, and green color neutralizers to help diminish redness and calm skin. www.eucerinus.com
Hydrate and rejuvenate inflamed skin with SkinCeutical’s Phyto Corrective Gel ($48), an oil-free moisturizing and brightening serum rich in hyalrounic acid and antiseptic ingredients such as thyme and cucumber extracts. www.skinceuticals.com
June Jacobs Redness Diffusing Masque ($56) helps diminish the appearance of red blotchy skin and broken capillaries. Loaded with antioxidants (white, red and green tea extracts, goji berry, pomegranate and grapeseed extracts) and anti-inflammatories (calendula, arnica and cucumber) this mask soothes and hydrates dry burning skin in a flash. www.junejacobs.com
Sadick Dermatology Group PM Rejuvenation Cream ($38) helps reduce redness and pigmentation while keeping skin hydrated. Free of parabens, sulfates and synthetic dyes, this nighttime cream contains chromolume, a unique complex of pigment fighting and redness reducing ingredients that target hemoglobin and melanin. www.sadickdermatologygroup.com
Obagi Rosaclear System ($135) is a three-part system which contains a gentle cleanser, metronidazole topical gel .75% (prescription only) and hydrating complexion corrector to calm redness and tackle acne-like pimples and bumps for a clearer complexion. www.obagi.com
A mineral pressed powder like Clinique’s Redness Solutions Instant Relief Mineral Pressed Powder ($32.50)—from Clinique’s ever-expanding Redness Solutions line—corrects and treats redness and hides imperfections leaving a flawless complexion. A formula of caffeine, magnolia bark, mushroom and grapefruit ease redness while the universal yellow shade blends seamlessly into skin. www.clinique.com
Chemical-free sunscreen is a must for rosacea sufferers and Lily.B’s Botanical Rich SPF 30 Ultra Defense ($22.50) is loaded with soothing organic ingredients—aloe vera, green tea and sunflower oil–and titanium dioxide. www.lilybskincare.com
For more serious cases—those with bumps, pimples and swelling—a dermatologist may recommend topical antibiotics with ingredients such as metronidazole (Metrogel) and azelaic acid (Finacea) or oral antibiotics containing doxcycline (Oracea) to help fight bacteria and clear flare-ups.
Most dermatologists favor laser treatments when oral and topical antibiotics don’t work as well and redness and broken capillaries are more prevalent. Some laser therapies include: Intense Pulse Light, V-Beam and Pulsed Dye Laser.
If you want more information on rosacea symptoms and treatments visit rosacea.org