Characterised by facial flushing, telangiectasia, oedema and often accompanied by papules or pustules, Rosacea is an inflammatory skin barrier disorder that affects around 10% of the Australian population, with recent research indicating this number is on the rise.
Those experiencing rosacea may not be aware of the pathophysiology of the disorder nor the individual triggers which may lead to regular and prolonged ’flares’. These flares can oftentimes be uncomfortable, embarrassing, and can significantly affect one’s self-esteem. Let’s take some time to explore this skin barrier disorder and learn how we can ‘take the red out of Rosacea’.
Thought to have a genetic component, rosacea most often affects those with fair skin, however, may still affect those higher on the Fitzpatrick Skin Type scale. Genetic vascular reactivity results in increased blood vessel density within the papillary dermis (upper dermis) and with increased blood flow leads, to flushing or transient erythema. While flushing may start in early childhood and continue throughout one’s life, rosacea typically peaks between the ages of 30 and 50 years, with females more commonly affected. For males, although the incidence may be slightly reduced, the severity of the skin barrier disorder is increased, with males typically experiencing Grade 3 or Phymatous Rosacea which can result in increased and prolonged inflammation and hyperplasia (an enlargement of the skin tissue predominantly affecting the nose).
Understanding the cause
The exact cause of Rosacea is unknown however, there is a significant link to the health of the first lines of skin barrier defence. The upper layer of the skin (stratum corneum) is made up of layers of corneocytes embedded in lipids that provide protection to the underlying cells and systems of the epidermis and dermis. When this protective layer becomes compromised, due to a variety of internal and external factors, including stress, hormones and cosmetic chemistry, the skin barrier does not serve to provide adequate protection. The flow-on effect is an increase in inflammation, erythema, burning and stinging (which is the body’s immune system’s response to help fight allergens), pathogens and bacteria from entering the skin. This increased activity leads to the reddened appearance that so many experiencing rosacea are accustomed to, but it doesn’t have to be that way! Becoming aware of some of the leading triggers can be the defining factor in managing this inflammatory skin barrier disorder.
How to prevent your flare-ups
There are many preventative measures that can be put in place to help minimise the risk of a flare and these include:
- Protecting the skin from UV radiation
- Avoiding extremes of heat and cold
- Reducing alcohol intake
- Managing psychological and emotional stress
Additional preventative measures may also support by improving skin health while repairing and rebuilding the first lines of skin barrier defence and these include:
- Using skincare formulations free from perfume and essential oils
- Reduce the use of skincare formulations containing alcohol in concentrations more than 10%
- Eliminate skincare that contains emulsifiers, particularly polyethylene glycols (PEG)
- Mineral oils should be avoided, and other lipid-rich substances should be applied sparingly
- Use lukewarm water for skin cleansing instead of hot or cold water.
In addition, the use of corneotherapeutic skincare formulations, rich in skin-identical ingredients, will help to support the formation of a competent skin barrier while protecting the skin from further damage. Look for anti-inflammatory and skin-repairing ingredients such as:
- Liposome Concentrate Plus: A powerful anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial ingredient proven to reduce erythema and strengthen the skin leading to reduced flares.
- EGCG Liposome Serum: Designed to provide support to the integrity of the corneocyte while also providing additional building blocks to strengthen the skin barrier function.
- Boswellia Nanoparticles: A major anti-inflammatory that works to inhibit specific enzymes responsible for increasing inflammation within the skin.
- Echinacea Extract: Antiseptic and anti-inflammatory effects that help to stabilise the skin while reducing telangiectasis (couperosis).
Rosacea can be a challenging skin barrier disorder to manage, but with the help of your local practising corneotherapist and an individual approach in customising the perfect solution your skin needs, you are in the right hands to help take the red out of your Rosacea.
Written by Lisa Paone