Like rain or bad roads, rosacea is a bit of an Irish problem. But though it occurs so commonly in our skin type, we still don’t know exactly what causes the disorder. Some theories suggest it’s down to an autoimmune response to bacteria, while others point to a mite that we all have in our skin called Dermodex – it’s been seen to occur in larger numbers on rosacea skin types than others. But there’s still no definite answer.
What we do know are its signs, and they are many and varied.
Rosacea generally shows itself around the central panel of the face – down the nose and across the cheekbones – with one or more of the following symptoms: Flushing, persistent redness, pustules and papules, telangiectasica (that’s thread veins!), dryness, burning or stinging.
Note: Red cheeks don’t necessarily mean rosacea! It’s important to have any symptoms properly examined to get an expert diagnosis before considering any treatment.
As with most skin disorders, people experience rosacea at different levels of severity. Some people might just experience mild flushing and dryness, while others can suffer far more extreme symptoms. Here are the different levels or types:
Type 1: Mainly characterised by flushing, with the appearance of telangiectasia also common. Dryness, scaling and burning can be present also.
Type 2: Central facial erythema (swelling) is seen, with pustules and papules (spots) present. It can look like acne, with the main difference being that blackheads are not present. It can also have the same characteristics as Type 1.
Type 3: Thickened skin with an irregular skin surface. Rhinophyma ( a rare skin disorder characterised by a large red bumpy nose) is commonly present. The same characteristics as Type 1 and 2 may also be present.
Type 4: Can have all of the above with the included characteristic of bloodshot or watery eyes, and may even affect vision.
None of the above are particularly pleasant. However, although there’s no definitive cure for rosacea right now, there are plenty of ways to treat it and help keep it under control.
In the most severe cases where infections are common, a doctor will prescribe antibiotics to clear it up. Sometimes people will be put on a long term low dose of antibiotics to help keep flare ups under control, and that can be really effective.
Learning to identify your condition’s individual triggers is key in treating rosacea symptoms. By simply paying a bit of attention to your diet and lifestyle, you can quickly spot what’s causing your flare-ups and start eliminating them!
Of course, the usual suspects will probably be there. Alcohol is never skin’s friend, and can definitely be a trigger in rosacea. Likewise those other demons, acid foods: refined sugar, processed meats, dairy and spicy foods can all cause inflammation and are always worth cutting back on. Other common triggers that can lead to breakouts are stress, excessive heat and intense exercise.
Getting the right skin care can make all the difference, but as always, it’s an individual thing and talking to an expert is key. Book a consultation with your skin specialist to get a full diagnosis, and products that will help deal with the breakouts without being overly aggressive.
At Akina, we’ll give you a full consultation and skin analysis as well as information on lifestyle changes that can help improve and maintain the condition.
I have had enormous success in treating the condition with Laser in the clinic. A course of 6 treatments is usually what is required, they are done once every second week. Cost €1200 for the course of 6.