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Rosacea is a common skin condition with undesirable symptoms like facial redness, spots, flushing and noticeable blood vessels. Order Mirvaso gel online from Dr Felix by filling in a simple Rosacea consultation and one of our doctors wil

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What is Rosacea?

Rosacea is a skin condition which affects the face, causing flushing, redness and small pus-filled spots and bumps. While it can affect anyone, it's more commonly seen in fair-skinned individuals aged 40-60. Women are more likely to suffer from it but the symptoms tend to be more severe in men.

What causes Rosacea?

The exact causes of rosacea are still not known. Some evidence suggests the redness and flushing may be caused by blood vessels with a tendency to dilate too easily. Recent research has also revealed additional potential contributors:

The different types of rosacea

There are four different types of Rosacea: erythematotelangiectatic, papulopustular, rhinophyma and ocular. Type one, erythematotelangiectatic, is the most common form of rosacea and is characterised by facial flushing and redness. Papulopustular rosacea is where acne-like spots break out on the face. These are small, pus-filled pimples. Rhinophyma is rare, affecting the nasal area and causing the skin to thicken. Ocular rosacea is found in the eyes, causing redness, burning and stinging. While these are four different subtypes of rosacea, it is possible to experience more than one, or all, at once. 

Symptoms

What are the symptoms of Rosacea?

The symptoms of rosacea are: 

  • Facial flushing 
  • Redness 
  • Red, bumpy skin
  • Small clusters of pimples 
  • Visible blood vessels 

It may also cause increased skin sensitivity such as burning, itching and irritation or dry, rough patches. 

How is Rosacea diagnosed?

Your GP will be able to diagnose rosacea by taking a look at your symptoms and examining your skin. They may ask you about your lifestyle and if you experience any other skin complaints, including allergies. A blood test or biopsy cannot diagnose rosacea but it may be used to eliminate the possibility of other conditions. 

Rosacea Triggers

There are numerous everyday factors which are known to trigger rosacea. The condition is chronic and can fluctuate, often flaring up in response to a trigger. Common rosacea triggers include: 

  • Stress
  • Sunlight 
  • Hot weather
  • Cold weather
  • Hot drinks
  • Caffeine
  • Alcohol 
  • Strong winds
  • High intensity exercise 
  • Hot water
  • Spicy food
  • Dairy products
  • Menopause
  • Emotional responses-mainly blushing when embarrassed.

While these are a list of possibilities, they won't necessarily affect every individual with rosacea. It may be that only a few of these things will trigger your symptoms but it can take some time to figure out which triggers affect you.   

How long does rosacea last for?

Rosacea is a long term condition. It can result in regular flare ups in between periods of invisibility. Many sufferers will have rosacea for life.

Treatment

Rosacea treatment options

There are a number of different options for treating rosacea. Many of them are long term methods given the chronic nature of the condition. These include Mirvaso Gel; Metronidazole, which comes as a cream or gel; azelaic acid cream or ivermectin cream. The creams are applied directly to the skin and will have a gradual effect. For more severe or persistent rosacea oral antibiotics can be prescribed for a 4-6 week course to treat the inflamed skin. If your symptoms are triggered by stress or worry then anxiety medication or beta blockers can be prescribed to help ease the redness and calm the physiological symptoms of stress and anxiety. 

How to prevent rosacea

It is not always possible to prevent rosacea, however once you gain a better understanding of your condition and your triggers, it is very manageable. Getting treatment such as Mirvaso Gel soothes the redness and helps to eliminate the visual symptoms of rosacea. While treatment is effective for rosacea, it is a chronic skin condition which is likely to come back. However, with a combination of medication and lifestyle changes it is possible to manage the condition and prevent flare-ups from occurring regularly. Identifying what is triggering your rosacea is the key to learning to control it. There are many different factors which can result in inflamed skin. Keeping a symptom diary is a useful way to narrow down which triggers are a problem for you. Common triggers include: 

  • Caffeine 
  • Alcohol
  • Spicy food
  • Dairy 
  • Cold and hot weather 
  • Hot water 
  • Stress
  • Embarrassment 
  • Exercise 
  • Direct sunlight

Dietary changes to help rosacea

Avoiding foods which are known to trigger rosacea will help to prevent your skin from becoming inflamed. Spicy foods, dairy products, refined sugars and white flour are common culprits. Cutting down on processed foods is also recommended as they commonly trigger rosacea. These triggers may not affect everyone in the same way. Keeping a food diary to track what you're eating and logging when your rosacea flares up will identify specific foods that are potential irritants. Certain foods have anti-inflammatory properties. Including these in your diet can help to maintain your condition. Nuts, spices like turmeric and cardamom, asparagus, cauliflower leafy green vegetables and sweet potatoes are some examples.  

Home treatments for rosacea

There are several home remedies which can help to ease the skin inflammation caused by rosacea. Aloe Vera gel is a natural moisturiser with emollient qualities and feels soothing on the skin. Chamomile has a similar calming effect. A simple way to reap the benefits of it is to apply a cold chamomile tea bag to areas of inflamed skin. Green tea can also be used in this way. Rich in antioxidants, research has shown that its antioxidant properties are effective against rosacea. Additional household ingredients that can help are lavender oil, honey, oatmeal and turmeric. 

What skincare products to use and avoid if you have Rosacea

If you have rosacea, using skincare products which contain SPF protection, soothing ingredients and are designed for sensitive skin is recommended. Avoid anything that's heavy, oil based or abrasive as this can make rosacea worse. 

Make-up tips for rosacea

Treatment for rosacea will usually take weeks to begin to take effect. Makeup provides an instant solution to disguising the redness caused by rosacea. Start by cleansing and moisturising with light, gentle products, carefully applying, rinsing and drying to avoid aggravating the skin. A green tinted base will balance out the redness and leave a smooth, clear complexion to work from. Look for foundations and concealers that are oil-free, applying with a good quality brush as using your fingers can transfer excess oils to the face. Mineral makeup is a suitable option as it does not contain any potentially harsh or aggravating ingredients.  

Living with Rosacea

While rosacea is not harmful to your health, it is a long term condition and can be distressing in the way it affects your appearance. Treatments are available to help you to reduce the appearance of rosacea. These include topical creams, which usually take up to 8 weeks to take effect and oral antibiotics which may be given for more severe rosacea. If this doesn't work then you may be referred to a dermatologist for more specialised advice. 

There are steps you can take to help reduce rosacea or avoid exacerbating it further. Wearing factor 30 sunscreen when going out in the sun, using gentle face cleansing products and methods and avoiding perfumed products are all factors which can help. Acne treatments can irritate your skin further and adjusting your lifestyle to avoid triggers will go a long way in managing the condition.   

Should I continue to use Mirvaso after the symptoms have disappeared?

Mirvaso Gel should be used continuously to reduce and soothe redness and other symptoms of rosacea. If you stop using it your symptoms may return.

Q&A

Can rosacea be contagious?

Rosacea is not contagious and cannot be passed from one person to another.

Is rosacea genetic?

There is research to indicate that rosacea may be genetic but this is not known for definite. The exact cause of rosacea is not known and there are many factors which can contribute. 

Is rosacea infectious?

Rosacea is not infectious. It is an inflammatory skin condition caused by dilated blood vessels. You cannot pass on rosacea by coming into close contact with someone. 

Who suffers from rosacea?

Rosacea is more common in women, people with fair skin and those over the age of 40. However, it can affect anyone at any age. If you have sensitive skin, allergies or an existing long-term condition then you may be more likely to suffer from rosacea.

What is ocular rosacea?

Ocular rosacea affects the eyes. It causes redness, stinging, burning, itching and dryness of the eyes. Typically you would also experience blurred vision, swollen eyelids, a sensitivity to the light and a feeling that resembles having something in your eye. Ocular rosacea often accompanies facial rosacea or can arise first before it spreads to the face.

Does rosacea get worse with age?

Rosacea can get worse with age, particularly if it is not identified and treated early on. It is also more likely to develop between the ages of 40-60.

Can rosacea lead to other conditions?

Studies have found that people who suffer from rosacea are more likely to develop systematic conditions later down the line. These may include illnesses of a cardiovascular, gastrointestinal, neurological or autoimmune nature. However, more research is needed to determine a solid link.

Is rosacea painful?

Rosacea is not normally painful. Your skin may feel sensitive, irritated or dry during bouts of rosacea but it should not be painful unless you experience ocular rosacea. This is a type of rosacea which affects the eyes and can feel very uncomfortable.

Can children develop rosacea?

It is rare for children to develop rosacea. It may appear as facial flushing that lasts longer than it should but it can also be mistaken for a different type of rash. If you suffer from rosacea it may be a good idea to monitor your child for signs of the skin condition. 

Can you have rosacea with acne?

Rosacea can be mistaken for acne but the two conditions are different. One subtype of rosacea produces acne-like spots. These are clusters of small pimples which often accompany redness of the skin. Acne spots are usually bigger and produce whiteheads and blackheads. A GP will be able to diagnose which skin condition you have so that you can be treated for it effectively. 

How does menopause affect rosacea?

Women going through the menopause may notice their rosacea getting worse. This is due to the hot flushes and hormonal changes going on in the body. If you experience changes to your mood then SSRI antidepressants can help to both regulate your mood and calm the inflammation associated with rosacea. 

Is Rosacea linked to other conditions?

A study published in the American Journal of Dermatology found evidence that people with rosacea are more likely to develop an autoimmune condition, however the results didn't provide any clear evidence or links to specific conditions.  

Do allergies contribute to rosacea?

If you have an allergy that causes a skin reaction this can make rosacea worse as it will have an affect on your immune response, causing additional symptoms and inflammation. Avoiding coming into contact with an allergen will help to avoid this. 

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