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The month of April begins with Fool’s Day and is also home to the dreaded Tax Day, April 15, a handful of holidays, not to mention the showers that are supposed to usher in May’s flowers. April is also Rosacea Awareness Month.
While rosacea awareness may not get as much attention as the other April milestones, it’s a big deal for the 16 million Americans and 415 million people worldwide who live with facial redness and flushing, swollen red bumps, eye problems and thickened skin of rosacea.
Rosacea can have dramatic effects on a person’s self-confidence and self-esteem. Nearly 90 percent of people with rosacea said this condition had lowered their self-confidence and self-esteem, and 41 percent said it had caused them to avoid social engagements, according to a poll by the National Rosacea Society (NRS). Among those with severe rosacea, nearly 88 percent said the disorder had negatively affected their professional interactions, and nearly 51 percent said they had even missed work because of rosacea.
But things are getting better on the rosacea treatment front which is having spillover effects on psychological well-being for people who are sufferers. In a new NRS survey of more than 800 people with rosacea, 83 percent of those who had achieved clear or almost clear skin said their mental health had improved. Seventy-three percent said having clear or almost clear skin had also improved their social lives, and 63 percent reported improvement on the job too.
4 Steps to Get the Red Out
Get a proper diagnosis
Rosacea is often confused with acne and other skin conditions. A proper diagnosis and treatment plan from a dermatologist is the best way to get on your way to clear skin.
Avoid your triggers
Common triggers include extreme cold or heat, sun exposure, alcohol, spicy foods like curry and enchiladas, and stress (ugh). Identify your culprits and avoid them whenever and wherever you can. Sticking with a non-inflammatory diet rich in antioxidants, good fats and oils can impact your skin and overall health. Keeping a journal can help keep track of triggers.
Seek the right treatment
Oral medications such as antibiotics and isotretinoin (Accutane), as well as topical agents including antibiotics, azelaic acid, metronidazole, ivermectin, brimonidine, oxymetazoline (Rhofade) are used to treat the various types of rosacea, says Jeremy A. Brauer, MD , a New York City dermatologist.
Lasers also play a growing role in getting the red out – especially for those who have not responded to oral/topicals alone. “The lasers I routinely use to treat rosacea-associated blood vessels as well as the background redness and flushing that can be seen with rosacea, are the 595nm pulsed dye laser (Candela’s Vbeam Perfecta/Prima) and 532nm/1064nm KTP/Nd:YAG (Cutera’s Excel V/ExcelV+),” he says. “Combination treatment continues to be important in the management of rosacea. These lasers can also be used in the treatment of bumps (papules) and pimples (pustules), however these lesions are best treated with oral or topical medications,” says Dr. Brauer.
“A progressive condition known as rhinophyma, in which there is a thickening of the skin most often the nose, can also be successfully treated with lasers, such as an ablative fractional CO2,” Dr. Brauer says. Remember Bill Clinton?
Be kind to your skin
Rosacea is a chronic condition, but the good news is that there are products you can use to alleviate and even prevent some of the symptoms. Obviously, a daily dose of sunscreen is a critical part of keeping rosacea flares at bay. “Sun exposure is a common trigger and can contribute to visible blood vessels and redness. Look for non-chemical sunscreens that contain zinc or titanium dioxide and have broad spectrum protection with an SPF40 or 50. A 100% mineral sunscreen can also be a good choice as these tend to be gentle on sensitive skin types,” says New York City Plastic Surgeon Mark H. Schwartz.
When it comes to your day-to-day skin care, gentle is the only way to go.
Try our picks for anti-redness solutions.
Avene’s Antirougeurs line for redness prone skin reduces redness while soothing skin, and includes a cleansing lotion, mask, moisturizer and sunscreen.
Colorescience Sunforgettable is an 100% mineral skin UVA/UVB shield that provides total protection in a convenient applicator.
boscia MATCHA Magic Super-Antioxidant Mask is an antioxidant-rich soothing, cooling mask that reduces redness and inflammation.