7 proven treatments that can help improve your rosacea

7 ways to improve rosacea

Imagine a middle aged person who has numerous spidery appearing areas of redness, intermixed with small bumps that look like acne on his or her cheeks. You may have been exposed to this appearance on a personal level or have seen it on others. The person I have just described is someone with the chronic inflammatory skin condition known as rosacea. Rosacea is a common, yet incurable disease with many types of characteristic presentations. Some of the different ways that rosacea presents itself is through reddening of the face with small blood vessels that are easily visible (erythrotelangiectatic rosacea), bumps that look like acne (papulopustular rosacea), bumpy enlargement of the nose (rhinophymatous rosacea) and redness, burning and itchiness of the eyes (ocular rosacea). The pustular form of rosacea can sometimes be confused with Acne. If you have been diagnosed with or think you may have acne, 4 acne myths that could change your day is a great educational article available on our website regarding the disease. Most people have a combination of the four different types of rosacea. However, fear not, there are many ways in which the symptoms of rosacea can be managed.

1. What triggers rosacea?

The first thing that should be explained to anyone diagnosed with rosacea is the importance of avoiding certain triggers to the disease. It has been well documented that extreme hot or cold temperatures, spicy foods, UV radiation (aka the sun) hot drinks stress and even alcohol can worsen rosacea symptoms. In addition, certain foods such as red wine and cheese can cause flares in some people. Each person will react differently. As with anything, it is important to know your body and analyze what your specific triggers are, in order to avoid them. 1)Schaller, M., Schöfer, H., Homey, B., Hofmann, M., Gieler, U., Lehmann, P., Luger, T., Ruzicka, T. and Steinhoff, M. (2016), Rosacea Management: Update on general measures and topical treatment options. JDDG: Journal der Deutschen Dermatologischen Gesellschaft, 14: 17–27. doi:10.1111/ddg.13143

2. Proper skin care to improve rosacea

It is thought that individuals with rosacea have a defect in the most superficial layer of their skin known as the stratum corneum leading to unintended water loss. Because of this, it is important to keep your skin moisturized, and to only use cosmetic products that are non-oily, without soap and free of additives such as alcohol, formaldehyde, menthol, camphor and astringents.2)Schaller, M., Schöfer, H., Homey, B., Hofmann, M., Gieler, U., Lehmann, P., Luger, T., Ruzicka, T. and Steinhoff, M. (2016), Rosacea Management: Update on general measures and topical treatment options. JDDG: Journal der Deutschen Dermatologischen Gesellschaft, 14: 17–27. doi:10.1111/ddg.13143

3. The sun affects your rosacea

Ever present, the sun can have a profound negative impact on your rosacea. This is because it has been shown to increase the amount of inflammatory substances that worsen the appearance redness and flushing. Also, being out in the sun causes physical, oxidant damage to certain proteins and fats in your skin which in turn can trigger a further inflammatory response leading to increasingly annoying symptoms. For more information on how you can decrease the suns oxidizing damage check out 4 antioxidants for younger looking skin. In order to protect yourself, you should use a physically blocking sunscreen containing zinc oxide or titanium dioxide to cut off the inflammatory response before it begins. The sunscreen you use should be SPF 30 or greater, this is the typical recommendation by dermatologists even in those individuals without rosacea. Thought you knew how to put sunscreen on? Think again, check out our post 4 tips on how to apply sunscreen to brush up on your skills. Not only will sunscreen help improve rosacea, it can also protect you from the most common type of cancer in the world, skin cancer. Check out our article 5 ways to tell if you have skin cancer in 2017 to learn more!

4. Brimonidine gel can limit redness in your rosacea

It is important to work hand in hand with your dermatologist to in order to best treat your rosacea. Brimonidine is a medication that has been shown to directly constrict the abnormally dilated facial blood vessels leading to decreased redness. In addition, it has been shown to decrease your body’s natural inflammatory response. This medication can help decrease the redness associated with rosacea but it is still uncertain whether it actually assists in preventing the actual root cause of the disease.3)Schaller, M., Schöfer, H., Homey, B., Hofmann, M., Gieler, U., Lehmann, P., Luger, T., Ruzicka, T. and Steinhoff, M. (2016), Rosacea Management: Update on general measures and topical treatment options. JDDG: Journal der Deutschen Dermatologischen Gesellschaft, 14: 17–27. doi:10.1111/ddg.13143

5. Ivermectin cream can treat the demodex mites

The demodex mite, a normally occurring parasite that can be found on the surface of your skin is thought play an important role in the development of rosacea. Ivermectin cream has anti-parasitic properties as well as anti-inflammatory properties. In this way, it helps to get rid of the demodex mites which in turn improves your rosacea. Ivermectin 1% cream applied once per day can cause rosacea symptoms to significantly subside. Ask your dermatologist about this prescription option.4)Schaller, M., Schöfer, H., Homey, B., Hofmann, M., Gieler, U., Lehmann, P., Luger, T., Ruzicka, T. and Steinhoff, M. (2016), Rosacea Management: Update on general measures and topical treatment options. JDDG: Journal der Deutschen Dermatologischen Gesellschaft, 14: 17–27. doi:10.1111/ddg.13143

6. Metronidazole for the treatment of rosacea

Available in a gel, lotion and cream, metronidazole is one of the first treatments ever used to combat rosacea. Most of the time it is prescribed for twice daily application. The reason why metronidazole works to improve rosacea isn’t exactly clear, but it is thought that the anti-inflammatory characteristics as well as antioxidant effects (decreasing the damage cause by the sun) have a positive role.5)Schaller, M., Schöfer, H., Homey, B., Hofmann, M., Gieler, U., Lehmann, P., Luger, T., Ruzicka, T. and Steinhoff, M. (2016), Rosacea Management: Update on general measures and topical treatment options. JDDG: Journal der Deutschen Dermatologischen Gesellschaft, 14: 17–27. doi:10.1111/ddg.13143

7. Azelaic acid is naturally occurring in your body

Azelaic acid is the preferred treatment for rosacea and acne patients that are pregnant. It has a small side effect profile and has been shown to be non-teratogenic (fancy word meaning it won’t hurt your baby). The gel form has anti-inflammatory (your body attacking itself), anti-oxidant (sun damage) and anti-microbial (anti-bacteria and parasites) activities useful in the treatment of rosacea. This treatment has been proven to successfully treat papulopustular rosacea, but it is pretty useless in helping patients with erythrotelangiectatic rosacea. This is why it is important to tailor your treatment depending on your presentation. Work as a team with your dermatologist!6)Schaller, M., Schöfer, H., Homey, B., Hofmann, M., Gieler, U., Lehmann, P., Luger, T., Ruzicka, T. and Steinhoff, M. (2016), Rosacea Management: Update on general measures and topical treatment options. JDDG: Journal der Deutschen Dermatologischen Gesellschaft, 14: 17–27. doi:10.1111/ddg.13143

This is just a small sample of useful treatment techniques and education for patients with rosacea. Always remember knowledge is king. Keep reading evidence based advice in order to learn more about your condition.

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