WHAT IS ROSACEA?
– Rosacea is an inflammatory skin disease . We do not know exactly what causes it, but it is certain that genetics play a decisive role in its development – says dermatologist Réka Szandányi. – It is a malfunction of the blood vessels, which has several stages ranging from mild redness of the skin to purulent inflamed lumps (yuk, i know!). It usually affects the face, neck, and chest and develops in adulthood, typically above the age of 30, but may occur around the age of 20.
The first stage is when the person flushes with stress, emotional involvement (embarrassment), eating hot and / or hot food, perhaps extreme weather, accompanied by burning, stinging sensation. The next, more severe stage, is when this redness intensifies or even persists and small vasodilations appear on the skin. The sebaceous glands may then proliferate, the skin may thicken, and eventually develop inflamed, purulent, acne-like lumps. The most severe symptom is the so-called rhinofima (rhynophyma = cauliflower nose), which is a powerful proliferation of nasal tissue. This is most common in men between the ages of 40 and 50 and can be removed by surgery.
MITE ON THE SKIN? BACTERIA IN THE GUT?
– It is believed that a mite named Demodex may also play a role in the development of rosacea. More specifically, in most rosacea, the growth of this mite can be observed. These tiny (0.1-0.4 mm) invisible organisms can be detected on the skin of a healthy person as well but they do not cause problems until the immune system or skin structure is damaged. Under favorable conditions (eg humid air, sunshine, stress), these mites proliferate to which the skin reacts with inflammatory, rosacea symptoms. However, they can be eliminated by treatment with special prescription drugs, which usually results in a significant improvement in rosacea symptoms, explains the dermatologist.
– A certain Helicobacter pylori infection may also be a trigger. This bacterium can multiply in the protective layer of the stomach wall, causing micro-injuries. In addition to proliferation leading to peptic ulcer, gastritis and other inflammatory diseases, it may be accompanied by rosacea. The exact relationship is unknown, but after the cure of gastrointestinal disease, rosacea may progress. The presence of the bacteria in the stomach can be detected by a simple exhalation test and then killed by targeted antibiotic treatment.
KEY: REDUCE IRRITATION
– If you suspect you have rosacea, I recommend you to see a dermatologist who can actually diagnose the skin problem. From the initial stage of mild, intermittent flushing, not everyone gets to the most severe condition when only a plastic surgeon can help. However, in order to do this, it is important to recognize the disease in time and reduce the provocative factors. What you should do?
- Avoid hot water, steam, sauna, tanning beds
- Avoid too cold water
- Wear a face mask in cold, windy weather
- Do not use cleansing brushes and sponges
- Eliminate foaming, face washes with sulphates (SLS/SLES) and drying soaps
- Protect your skin against sun with a hat, clothes, daily sunscreen use (minimum 30 SPF optimally mineral)
- Use gentle chemical exfoliation (BHA, PHA) instead of grainy physical scrubs
- Avoid irritants in cosmetics eg. alcohol, fragrances, essential oils, activated carbon, sulfates (SLS, SLES), witch hazel, urea etc.
ONLY use products suitable for sensitive skin, that are formulated without fragrances, essential oils (!!) but have calming, soothing, anti-inflammatory ingredients (eg, panthenol, green tea, aloe vera, azelaic acid.) – advises Reka Szandányi.
SUPER ACTIVE INGREDIENT: AZELAIC ACID
One of the most excellent active ingredients for rosacea skin is azelaic acid. This compound, a so-called. carboxylic acid is also found naturally in wheat, rye and barley. However, unlike its name, it is not a classical exfoliating acid such as AHA (glycolic acid) or BHA (salicylic acid). However, it is able to regulate the process of cell division and regeneration in the upper layer of the skin, thus preventing excess epithelial cells from accumulating. It also has antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, sedative, sebum production and pigmentation-suppressing effects. It is a true multifunctional ingredient. Azelaic acid is mostly found in prescription formulations, but it is also available in non- prescription form.
CHANGE YOUR LIFESTYLE!
– External care is not enough if you want to keep the rosacea under control. It is important that you also change your lifestyle. Avoid excessive consumption of hot, overly spicy, smoked foods, citrus fruits, alcohol and caffeine-based beverages that increase blood flow and vasodilation. Repair your gut flora, reduce stress, or learn some stress relieving techniques (meditation, yoga).
– While less severe rosacea can be treated well with proper home care, and laser treatments, the advanced stage requires the use of antibiotics or other drugs (eg isotretinoin), which may take several months. Radiofrequency treatment can also produce good results with larger vasodilatations. However, the final symptoms of thickening of the skin can only be alleviated by plastic surgery.
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Hope this helped some of you!
Have a beautiful day and week my lovelies! 🙂
The article was also published in the November 2019 issue of the Hungarian Women’s Health Magazine.