April Is Rosacea Awareness Month
Rosacea is a chronic inflammatory skin condition that affects over 400 million people worldwide, including more than 16 million Americans. It afflicts three times more women than men. The numbers could be higher as it's commonly misdiagnosed as eczema, acne, cystic acne, or allergies.
Famous faces who have rosacea are actresses Sofia Vergara, Mariah Carey, Renee Zellweger, Brie Larson, Naomi Watts, Cameron Diaz, 42nd U.S. President Bill Clinton, Princes William and Harry (whose mother, Diana, had it), and singer Sam Smith. Sports Illustrated model, Georgia Gibbs (pictured below) suffered from rosacea, and now, shares her knowledge on how she controls it naturally.Post via Model, Georgia Gibbs Instagram @GeorgiaGibbs_
When differentiating between acne and rosacea, check your family history. It's not always the case, but often times, it's hereditary. Developing rosacea without a genetic link is still a possibility, although the root cause is unknown.
In general, rosacea rears its head as blush-like, patchy flushing, or irritating redness, causing blood capillaries to dilate. People with rosacea have hypersensitive skin, which makes symptoms worse. It's more common in European descent people but has no boundaries, as it's found in all ethnicities.
The following are four subtypes of rosacea:
Phymatous Rosacea: Rare in women. Excess skin growth, rhinophyma (large, bulb-like nose), can spread to ears, cheeks, chin, and forehead. Can disfigure, scar, and, possibly, cause permanent skin damage if not treated early. Treatment options are surgery, medications, and diet to prevent disfiguration.
Actor, W.C. Fields suffered from rhinophyma.
Ocular Rosacea: Itchy, burning, watery eyes. Recurring eye infections, dry eyes, visible blood vessels, blurred vision, or photophobia. If you have eye issues such as these regularly, it's a good idea to see an ophthalmologist. In rare cases, if left untreated, it can lead to rosacea keratitis, resulting in blindness. No cure, but treatment is available, i.e., medications, steroid eye drops, eyelid scrubs, or baby shampoo, which remove Helicobacter pylori bacteria, possibly linked to ocular rosacea.
Papulopustular Rosacea: Also known as acne rosacea. Pustules (pus-filled bumps can be red or white), sensitive and usually painful to touch. Tricky to diagnose because it appears to be solely acne. Therefore, it should be diagnosed by a certified dermatologist who's well-versed in rosacea. Treatments range from lasers, prescribed topical creams, oral medication, and diet.
Erythematotelangiectatic Rosacea: Immediate or sudden erythema or flushing, chronic redness that burns or stings, or visible redline patterns. Most dermatologists recommend a combination of laser treatment and topical prescription cream.
Rosacea varies in severity and appearance, depending on your skin tone. In lighter skin, it looks pinkish or red. The difference in darker tones is the discoloration, such as dark patches, shadowy brown spots, hyperpigmentation, inflammation, yellowish-brown bumps that stay for weeks, or a steady warm/hot sensation in the face. Don't let rosacea go undiagnosed. Be persistent. It's important to see an expert if you suspect rosacea. Better safe than sorry!
While there are no cures for rosacea, there are triggers that sufferers can log when flare-ups occur. Popular triggers are sunlight, alcohol, caffeine, hypertension, medications, additionally, hot weather, showers, baths, saunas, even hot foods, and drinks. The second most common stimulator is stress. Rosacea already harms people's mental health by lowering confidence, provoking depression, and raising anxiety levels.
Here's a list of possible preventions.
Use a gentle cleanser.
Dehydration has been said to cause flare-ups.
Eliminate or lower caffeine and alcohol consumption.
It has been found that alcohol can increase risk of inflammation in rosacea patients.
Can worsen rosacea symptoms while going through an episode.
No face touching.
Plenty of sleep and calming techniques.
Refrain from spicy foods.
This is especially important when extremely stressed. The inflammation is already on the rise. Spicy foods can push the red button.
Exercise is healthy and some rosacea patients use a face ice roller after a run or spin class to cool their faces. If it doesn't help, try finding a calmer workout.
New evidence shows that ingredients such as retinoids, dehydrating cleansers with synthetic fragrances and toxic elements, acne treatments with benzoyl peroxide and salicylic acid have a bad effect on rosacea.
Wear sunscreen, sun hat, and stay in the shade.
Sunlight is the highest possible agitator on this list, unfortunately.
Researchers are still digging deep in hopes of discovering a cure. It could be anything from a skin mite, a bacteria, hormones, genes, a protein, the immune system, or all of the above. Not fun to hear, but there is light in this dark search. Stem cells, particularly mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs), are looking bright as a future therapy option.
A study published in the International Journal of Molecular Sciences wrote: "MSC-based cell therapy has been spotlighted as a promising approach for the treatment of inflammatory skin disorders, and relevant clinical trials are ongoing."
Discoveries are continuously made, such as mast cells possibly playing a pivotal role in rosacea pathogenesis. According to Dermatology Times, "Once activated, the mast cells can promote the release of different mediators and have a considerable effect on the pathophysiology of diverse inflammatory diseases," Dr. Wang et al. write.
Another possibility is our gut health. We've spoken with Los Angeles gastroenterologist Dr. David Kahana a couple of times and plan to again. He emphasized that our microbiomes can be the culprit of many skin conditions.
Gut health has also been linked to hormonal issues, which can potentially spark rosacea. If certain foods and beverages can set off a rosacea moment, it makes sense to question our microbiomes. Our overall health and wellness work together to keep us healthy and should continually evaluate our entire system.
In a John Hopkin's rosacea study, researchers found "...statistically significant differences in the relative abundance of several varieties of bacteria seen in rosacea patients when compared to the healthy group. Rosacea patients were seen to be depleted in several different species of bacteria, some of which are known to promote healthy skin."
Many experts have even treated rosacea patients through dietary changes with prebiotics, probiotics, and omega-3 oil supplements. Modern therapies hone in on rosacea's pathogenesis (how a disease develops), leading to more minor symptoms or, even, remission.
Rosacea is a manageable skin issue. It's vital to look out for your sensitivities and trigger warnings. Make the necessary changes to your diet and skincare routine, such as using ℞escue Skin which is made for every face and is gentle on rosacea-affected people. Always consult with a board certified dermatologist before attempting any treatments. You got this!