Did you know that close to 10% of our population suffers from rosacea? Until recently, I was not aware. That’s why we’ve dedicated our last three podcasts to help everyone gain a greater understanding of this chronic skin condition. Our resident skin expert Brooke Mojet talks to Simone Vescio to unpack the rosacea story.
If you haven’t heard the episodes, we share a little introduction here on our blog to get you started. Once you are ready to start listening, the first two episodes in the series will explain the condition in depth before you launch into the third episode, which will provide a greater understanding of treatment pathways and how dermaviduals can help!
What is it?
Rosacea is a non-contagious, inflammatory skin condition that mainly affects the central portion of the face. It is characterised by the appearance of facial flushing and erythema (redness) due to the enlargement of superficial capillaries (blood vessels) in the the skin. There are four subtypes of rosacea that are classified based on the individuals symptoms.
Typically, the condition will appear between the ages of 30 – 50 years with the incidence occurring more commonly in females. Over time, many so-called causes of rosacea have been explored, however recent science indicates that the exact cause cannot be pin-pointed. There is no cure, but the good news is that symptoms can be managed and flare-ups controlled by identifying the patients triggers. Keep in mind, triggers may vary from person to person.
What are the symptoms?
- Dilated capillaries known as telangiectasia
- Facial flushing (redness) across the central region
- Papules (raised lesions) and pustules (pimples) on the forehead, cheeks and chin
- Transient oedema (facial swelling) may be present
- Flaking, dryness
- Plaque-like lesions
- Frequent blushing
- Burning, stinging and tingling sensations
Check out the links provided above for more information regarding the subtypes and symptoms associated with these.
What are the causes?
The causes of rosacea are multi-factorial, involving a combination of:
- An overactive immune system
- Genetic disposition
- Environmental factors including UV
What can we do to treat it?
Firstly, we need to understand the importance of having an intact skin, otherwise known as the skins barrier function. Here are some of my ‘ah-ha’ moments that I was hit with whilst listening to the rosacea series and that I found eye opening:
Our skin is the first tissue that comes into contact with the environment, so protecting your skin is the first step in managing rosacea. As corneotherapists, we all know and understand how imperative the skins barrier function is. For those that may be new to skin, the very top layer of our skin is called the stratum corneum. It’s this particular layer that comes into contact with our environment hence why we call it the skins barrier function as it’s apart of our first line of defence (immune system). The stronger and more resilient our skin is, the more it can protect us.
Identify and avoid known triggers to prevent a rosacea flare up. Some examples include certain lifestyle factors such as diet, harsh climates, extreme temperatures, excessively warm environments (think wind & heat), hormones, certain medications and UV exposure. Did you know that UV is the cause of 81% of flare-ups as it activates inflammatory pathways in our skin?
Emotional stress is also a huge factor and is the second most common trigger following UV exposure at 79%. Stress hormones have the ability to break down the cohesion between our skin cells in the stratum corneum, leading to what we call a ‘leaky and permeable barrier’. Can you imagine what would happen if irritants, allergens, perfumes and fragrances landed on the surface of our skin? Rosacea patients are already at an immense risk to flare-ups as their skin is extremely vulnerable. We need to be conscious of this as our first priority is always to protect the skins barrier function.
The gut microbiome plays a big part in our skin’s health. For example, we need to be aware of the impact of diet and how the relationship between our gut and skin interact quite closely. If we nourish our bodies with all the right foods, this will be reflected from the inside out.
Rosacea skins age at a faster rate compared to those that don’t have rosacea. Ageing is a an inevitable process that involves certain enzymes which over time degrade and break down the skins natural collagen and elastin. This process is sped up in rosacea and results in loose and lax skin. We must work on strengthening the skin by using some hero ingredients.
Sleep is also such an important aspect in our overall health and wellbeing and is reflected in your skin. When we sleep our body regenerates & heals, it’s when our cells undergo what we call cellular division and renewal.
The podcast series are a great reminder of the fact that:
HEALTHY CELLS = HEALTHY TISSUE = HEALTHY SKIN BARRIER FUNCTION!
So, what can we do to ensure a healthy barrier function? Here are my key takeaways from the advice shared between Brooke and Simone:
- STOP googling and shopping online for the latest and greatest off-the-shelf products! Having a thorough skin consultation, with a skin expert, in clinic, is your most valuable ally in managing rosacea. Rosacea friendly skincare will boost your skins overall health by ensuring your skin cells receive the right nutrients. Many of the readily available skincare products on the market do not have a delivery system. This means they are sitting on the surface of the skin and their ingredients are not getting delivered to where we need them to go (our skin cells) and are possibly contributing a rosacea flare up (depending on the ingredients). Be mindful of these ingredients and learn to read your labels.
- AVOID – Perfumes and fragrances, these are the number one sensitiser and irritator to our skin and are simply not needed, so go fragrance-free.
- AVOID emulsifiers that bind to the skins natural lipids causing what we call a ‘wash out effect’. We need to leave these lipids intact as they form apart of the skins barrier function and by having healthy, adequate amount of lipids will then help with water retention (water-proofing), hydration and forming apart of our acid mantle (skins pH).
- AVOID silicones, mineral oils and paraffins as they form a coating on the skin, which will only exacerbate the inflammatory response.
- DON’T exfoliate or use AHA’s/BHA’s that remove the outer layers of the skin. This includes avoiding implements, loofahs, harsh granular scrubs or anything else that may cause unnecessary friction to the skin. Remember, the skin is already on overdrive from an overactive innate immune system, you do not need to send it into RED ALERT!
- Use minimal products and remember less is best. Properly selected skin care products improve and maintain the integrity of the stratum corneum (skin barrier) to reduce skin sensitivity. DMS (Derma Membrane Structure) in dermaviduals mimics the natural structure and function of the skin with a direct affinity to the composition of your natural lipids. In other words, DMS will improve the overall health and function of our skin by delivering physiological ingredients and ultimately tissue repair.
- Reduce visible redness with mineral makeup and green sticks to help counteract the redness such as using our specialised, mineral make-up dermaviduals deco. This is perfect for rosacea skins as it’s anti-inflammatory, contains antioxidants, increases hydration, collagen production & overall strengthens the skin, literally everything a rosacea skin needs!
- Lastly, by incorporating healthy lifestyle habits such as managing stress levels, eating a nutritious, well-balanced diet, developing a fitness program, practicing yoga, trying meditation, gratitude journalling and getting enough, quality sleep can all help to manage rosacea and its symptoms.
Your dermaviduals skin care clinic will be able to assist you with minimal products to make a real difference and manage flare ups. Please visit our ‘clinic finder’ to locate your nearest skin clinician.
The Rosacea series episodes 1, 2 & 3 can all be found by here!
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