Those rosy cheeks are cute on a baby, but what about when you’re grown and they look like rouge from the 20’s?…and you don’t even have on blush. Or like you’ve gotten too much sun on your nose and cheeks. You try everything to cover it up, but it still shows through like a flame. Well, today we’re discussing the best skin care for rosacea.
What is Rosacea? No Rosy Matter
Rosacea is an inflammatory skin condition that mostly affects the cheeks, nose, chin, and forehead. It can show up on the neck, chest and back, however. It causes the skin to become red, but in severe cases can cause bumps filled with puss and blood vessels may become visible. This can cause the skin to take on a ruddy appearance. In addition to redness and bumps, the skin can become dry and flaky.
Rosacea can affect the eyes, making them appear blood shot and watery. It can also cause swelling in the nose, creating what is called rhinophma.
These symptoms can come and go quickly to begin with, but can increase in duration, lasting for weeks at a time before disappearing for a while. After some time the symptoms can become a constant condition to contend with.
More facts about Rosacea:
- It affects an estimated 14 million Americans, however most don’t realize they have it.
- It mainly affects women, especially middle-aged with light skin.
- The most severe cases occur with men.
- Symptoms can vary greatly from one individual to another.
- Fair skinned people and those who blush easily are at higher risk.
- You may be at higher risk if someone in your family has Rosacea.
- Smokers are also at a higher risk.
- It can be mistaken for acne.
I’d say that’s no rosy matter to put up with, especially with everything else going on with our skin as we age.
What Causes Rosacea? No Blush Needed
Surprisingly, there are no known causes of Rosacea. Researchers do have theories though.
- One speculation of the cause is a neurovascular (nerves, arteries, and veins) disorder.
- Another cause may be microscopic skin mites called Dermodex, which are more abundant where Rosacea occurs. Yikes!
- Other studies reveal there could be a genetic connection with other serious health conditions like cancer and cardiovascular or intestinal diseases.
- And yet another suspected cause is bacteria called H.pylori, which is normally found in the intestine.
Although there are no known causes, there are factors researchers believe can trigger the signs of Rosacea:
- Alcohol, especially red wine (sorry wine lovers).
- Hot drinks and spicy food (coffee, Cajun and Thai food are among my favs).
- Sun or wind exposure.
- Medications that dilate blood vessels, like blood pressure and steroids.
- Extreme temperatures
- Extreme exercise
Avoiding these triggers won’t keep you from getting Rosacea, but they can help keep the symptoms at bay. Wow, this is starting to not look so good for me! Middle-aged, light skinned, female, coffee, spicy foods, and meds.
Just Make It Go Away! Is There Help?
I have some more bad news…sorry, I’m just the messenger. There is no cure for Rosacea. Maybe because they don’t know what causes it??? That’s my theory by the way.
The somewhat good news is there are things we can do to treat and keep the flareups to a minimum. The best thing we can do, however, as the symptoms increase is to see a doctor. They will be able to give the most educated advice that best fits your individual case.
- Be gentle with your skin. Avoid products that contain retinol, witch hazel, alcohol, fragrance, and other harsh ingredients. Use plenty of moisturizer to keep skin from drying out. Although there is no conclusive evidence, oregano oil, emu oil, and laurelwood are thought to aid in treating symptoms.
- Wear sunscreen. If you wear foundation, look for one that has sunscreen built in. If not, look for a sunscreen made for the face. There are plenty out there that are light, so your face won’t feel greasy or heavy. Aim for a product that offers SPF 30.
- Identify and avoid triggers. Pay close attention to what environmental, lifestyle, and/or products cause flareups. Keep a journal so you can narrow down the guilty culprits.
- Avoid touching your face. Try to keep your hands away from your face to avoid transferring dirt and oils. You can, however, massage your face in light, circular motions to reduce swelling and inflammation. Just be sure your hands are clean first.
- Avoid harsh weather. Try to stay inside if it’s extremely hot or cold out. Since this isn’t always doable…we all have lives, right…keep a hand or battery operated fan handy during hot weather and cover your face with a scarf when it’s cold.
- Don’t forget your eyes. If the Rosacea has spread to your eyes, use watered-down baby shampoo or a gentle cleanser to wash your eyelids. You can also apply a warm compress to your eyes a couple times a day.
- Watch what you eat. I gave you the don’ts (hot beverages, spicy food, and alcohol), but what should you eat? Try an anti-inflammatory diet. Some have found a Mediterranean diet to be helpful. Interestingly, although hot beverages can trigger Rosacea, coffee is thought to help reduce symptoms.
- Pay attention to your supplements. I know from personal experience that Niacin (B3) can cause flushing. Talk to your doctor about the supplements, including vitamins, that may trigger symptoms.
- Topical drugs that reduce redness. A doctor can prescribe a cream or gel for mild cases that constrict blood vessels. Other creams can help with the pimples.
- Oral antibiotics. A doctor will need to prescribe these as well for moderate to severe cases of bumps and pimples.
- Oral acne drugs. Your doctor could prescribe these for severe cases of pimples.
- Laser therapy. You can discuss different type laser treatments with your doctor that will help to reduce symptoms of redness, blood vessels, and thickening skin.
The Cover Up: Hiding the Signs of Rosacea
So…by now you may be asking what you can do to cover up the signs of Rosacea until all these tips and techniques clear up your skin. And don’t even get me started on how long it takes to get an appointment with a doctor.
Well, there are some makeup tips you can try that will help while you wait:
- Wear a primer. This is a good idea for anyone. A primer will act as a barrier between your skin and makeup, helping to smooth out the appearance of your skin.
- Use a green concealer. Green concealer will neutralize the redness in your skin. This concealer goes under your foundation instead of on top like your normal concealer. It will stay green, so unless it’s Halloween keep it under your foundation.
- Next is your foundation. Normally I’d say that as we age, we need light to medium coverage so it doesn’t settle into wrinkles and pores. In this case, however, I’d say you may need to go with a full coverage foundation…at least temporarily.
- Finish with a setting powder. Don’t be afraid to use a light setting powder that will help keep you makeup in place all day.
- Wash your face. While poor hygiene is not thought to be a cause of Rosacea, you’ll want to be sure to wash off your makeup before going to sleep. Don’t forget that it is important for your skin to be cleaned and moisturized, especially during the time your skin is repairing itself (while you’re sleeping).
My Final Thoughts
Wow! We’ve covered a lot here today. Thank you so much for sticking with me. Hopefully these tips have given you insight as to what is going on with your skin and that you can do something about it. Whether it’s lifestyle changes or finally making that doctor appointment, I hope you’re encouraged to take action. I also hope you’re enjoying this journey we’re on to find the best skincare for over 50!
I would love to hear from you. What have you discovered that has helped with your Rosacea? Is there anything you’ve learned today that you plan to put into practice? Are there any other topics you’d like to see covered? Leave your comments and/or questions below and I’ll be happy to get back with you.
Here’s wishing you all the best in taking your skin back!