Rosacea is a common chronicskin condition that begins with a tendency to flush easily. As it evolves sensations such as stinging and burning are common and prolonged redness becomes morepronounced. While rosacea typically displays on the central areas of the face, redness may spread to the ears, neck and even the back as the condition develops.
It’s a complicated condition that has no cure, but which can be managed. Self-management strategies can be effective because in many cases, rosacea flares are triggered by extrinsic influences or environmental conditions.
Although doctors aren’t sure exactly what causes rosacea, there are some common factors that have been observed. Rosacea is more likely to occur in people with fair skin and in those who have a family history of the condition. Twice as many women experience rosacea, however, males tend to have more severe symptoms.
Many patients with rosacea have high numbers of skin mite called Demodex folliculorum. The Demodex mite lives within the follicle and feeds off sebum produced by the sebaceous gland. This can lead to a vicious cycle of inflammation and worsening of the condition, as the levels of sebum are reduced the skin barrier function becomes impaired leading to increased inflammation.
The bacteria H. pylori, which is found in the human gut, may also play a role, as it stimulates a substance called bradykinin that causes blood vessels todilate. Typical symptoms include flushing, persistent redness, pimples or pustules, blotchy facial skin, inflamed blood vessels, thickening of the skin on the nose and facial swelling.
The Rosacea Cycle – Triggers and Flares
Rosacea is a cyclic condition. A rosacea flare occurs when the skin is exposed to something in the environment, fluctuations in hormones, as in the case of menopause, or in something that is eaten or applied to the skin.
Redness becomes worse and problems like pustules or pimples become larger or more numerous. Things may then becomebetter for a while and then another flare occurs. Each flare tends to make the condition worse over time.
If you can identify the triggers, there are things you can do to help prevent flares of rosacea. Keep a notebook or diary for at least two weeks, for example. Note what you ate, how well you slept, whether you were stressed, the weather, your exercise patterns and what hair, skin or makeup products you used. Document your symptoms as well. Then start looking for patterns. Here are some common triggers and possible strategies to combat them:
Sunlight – Stay out of direct sunlight, wear a broad-brimmed hat and use a fragrance-free broadSPF-30 sunscreen year round.
Stress – Try meditation, deep breathing or a form of exercise that encourages mindfulness, such as yoga or tai chi.
Heat – Try to regulate your temperature and avoid being too hot or too cold. Rather than taking hot baths and showers, use air conditioning, wet cloths and fans in the summer. Daily use of hairdryers may exacerbate the condition. In the winter, avoid sitting in the direct flow of heating. Drink cool drinks, rather than hot or ice cold ones.
Alcohol, especially red wine and spicy foods – Moderation is useful, but avoidance is usually the best policy.
Skin and hair care products – Avoid anything that increases your symptoms, or has done so in the past. Use a gentle moisturiser on your skin and focus on ingredients that repair the barrier.
Wind and cold – Protect your face and neck with a scarf when outdoors.
Exercise – Gentle exercise such as walking is often better than something more strenuous and exercise such as hot yoga is not recommended for those with rosacea.
Nutrition and Rosacea
There is increasing evidence that what you eat has an impact on many chronic conditions, including rosacea. Even when eating a highly a nutritious diet, you may want to consider how an extra boost of certain nutrients can have an impact on the skin microbiome.
For example, an anti-inflammatory diet that includes healthy fats from olive oil, fatty fish and avocados is high in Omega-3 fatty acids, which are good for the skin and promote blood vessel health. Choose fruits and vegetables that are highly coloured, as they contain more nutrients and substances such as polyphenols, which can help to combat UV light skin damage from the sun.
Carotenoids – found in leafy greens and yellow or orange fruits and vegetables – fight damage from sun exposure. You might also want to consider an elimination diet to pinpoint foods that cause flare-ups of rosacea. Phytonutrients found in broccoli, collard greens and green tea, as well as ginger, onions and turmeric, can have anti-inflammatory effects. Phytonutrients can also have antioxidant effects to help combat free radicals that damage skin and other tissues.
Vita-sol Infinity and Purity wholefood powders are the perfect compliments to topical skin care and clinic treatments when addressing rosacea. Ingredients high in antioxidant compounds, phytonutrients and gut supporting blend to assist in reducing inflammation and supporting