Everyone has days when we look in the mirror and see things that make it harder to appreciate our skin. One of the more unique skin concerns for the estimated 16 million plus people that have rosacea, is the emotional and physical impact that comes with dealing with chronic redness. Rosacea has been noted throughout history since the 1300’s, but it was only 1988 that the FDA approved a drug to specifically treat it. Even today, there is still a mystery to what causes rosacea. The good news is there are ways to manage it and there are ways to reduce the severity of chronic redness.
For anyone that has any of the four subtypes of rosacea, this means some relief from the emotional aspect of the embarrassment of constantly being asked about it or having assumptions made about why they have the condition. In the years I have worked with clients on addressing the various skin concerns, it is the people with acne and with rosacea that seem to be the most emotionally affected by their condition. The intention of this month’s topic is to help foster more understanding about rosacea for those that don’t have it. For those of you that have rosacea, or chronic redness, my hope is to offer more ideas to minimize the impact it has on your daily life and encouragement to seek continuing management of rosacea with a medical professional.
In preparation for any appointments to seek treatment for skin or eye redness, it may be a good idea to determine what triggers this condition for you. Knowing what causes your skin to react is a good start to manage the flushing. Cold or windy weather, certain skin care products or makeup, stress, getting too warm (from exercise, for example), alcohol, sun exposure, and spicy foods have all been known to cause rosacea flare-ups. The American Academy of Dermatologists created a one-minute video with tips on how to manage these common triggers. Because there isn’t a cure for rosacea, the goal is managing the flare-ups as much as possible. Left alone, rosacea can worsen over time. This could result in more visible blood vessels, acne-like bumps, permanent redness, or even more sensitive skin.
There are different subtypes of rosacea and this condition can also be found in the eyes. Knowing which subtype or subtypes a person has can determine the best treatment. Dermatology PA Rachel Frederickson of Vanguard Skin Specialists shares more about the importance of determining subtypes,
“It is certainly important to diagnose the subtype of rosacea when choosing a treatment regimen. In the last 5 years, the number of effective rosacea treatment options has increased significantly. There are several new topical medications available that address subtype 1 of rosacea that is primarily broken blood vessels and flushing of the skin. There is a new topical medication that is highly effective in treating subtype 2 that appears as acne-like breakouts. I have also found that many of my rosacea patients have an overlap of 2 different subtypes. Therefore, a customized treatment plan from your dermatologist is recommended. Certain subtypes of rosacea are better treated with topical medications, some are better treated with oral medications and some require a combination of both.”
Ocular rosacea may or may not be present with rosacea on the face. The eyes may be red, burn, or feel as if something is trapped in the eye. Sometimes ocular rosacea also causes swelling on the eyelid or along the eyelashes. To learn more about some common treatments for ocular rosacea, a visit to your ophthalmologist is a good idea. “A dermatologist is well-trained to diagnose the cause of your facial redness and symptoms. If necessary, they may consider ordering tests to rule-out other autoimmune conditions, allergies, or rashes,” says Rachel.
Whether your redness is on your face, your eyes, or both, a dermatologist can offer treatment options specific to the unique type and symptoms of redness you experience.
One of the easiest, and most important things, you can do is make use of daily sunscreen with a 30 or higher SPF. The less chemicals the better. Look for active ingredients of zinc oxide and titanium oxide. Not only do these minerals feel better on reactive and sensitive skin, they provide a physical shield that protects skin from the UV radiation that is thought to aggravate rosacea. A bonus to this type of protection is the tint works to minimize the redness without looking like makeup – so it is great for men and women, as well as children who want to lessen the look of the redness while still having a natural skin finish. VanguardMD sunscreens are a good option; two sunscreens to try are VanguardMD Pure-Tinted SPF 44 or VanguardMD Sheer-Tinted SPF 46.
I recently observed a LimeLight (IPL) laser treatment that patient was receiving for treatment of brown pigment and overall redness. In the first picture you can see that the patient has been prepped with an ultrasonic gel that helps make the laser heat more tolerable while also helping to pull the heat into the skin, where its benefits are most optimal. This patient was having her third treatment and I asked why she decided to seek treatment. “I can accept aging. What I was sick and tired of was feeling like I had to put makeup on to leave the house,” she explained.
Mandy, RN at Vanguard Plastic Surgery & Aesthetics, recommends that the first two of three laser sessions be spaced four weeks apart and the last of the series be six weeks apart. She also describes the post-treatment brown spots as taking on a “coffee ground” appearance. The more brown spots that are treated, the more pronounced this can be afterwards. Redness can be more obvious on the day of treatment (see the picture above for an example of how red skin was right after that area was treated). Makeup and sunscreen can be applied immediately after laser treatment. The patient I observed shared that the results have been exactly what she had hoped for – reduced redness and more even skin tone overall. (Mandy reminded both of us that she could also treat any spider veins that may not respond as well with a different type of laser or spot treat spider veins as needed.) Can this beautiful patient go out now without feeling like she needs makeup, the answer is “yes”!
On the topic of makeup, I went to Rebekah, clara Aesthetic Team Lead, for some tips on minimizing the appearance of redness. “It is always good to start with a yellow powder to color-correct some of the redness and then reach for those peach and salmon colors in your makeup pallet. Cream blushes are good as they offer more luminosity and show off your skin’s texture. Also, bronzer is a wonderful way to warm up the skin and minimize the look of redness.” Enjoy Rebekah’s favorite tip for redness in this video.
I know this also, from the years I have asked others to share what they like and what they wish to improve about themselves, we all have something that takes our attention from our own unique and special features. For some it is redness, for others a line or wrinkle. Maybe brown spots, lip lines, or under eye bags are where you see room for improvement. The exciting news is there are a myriad of makeup tutorials and treatment options available for almost every concern that exists! Even as I have built my career around these things that help us enhance outer beauty, I know it is as important to also find and acknowledge those things that are beautiful within myself and others. As the poet, Robert Brault puts it, “Inner beauty, too, needs occasionally to be told it is beautiful.”
The dermatologists at Vanguard Skin Specialists can consult with you about addressing your rosacea with a prescription or laser treatments. The dermatology providers see patients in Colorado Springs, Pueblo, and Woodland Park. Schedule your consultation by calling 719 355 1585.
By Lisa Boness
Lisa is a Skin Consultant with shopclara.com and Vanguard Aesthetics. Lisa can help you develop an effective home skincare regimen or advise on aesthetic treatments to address your cosmetic concerns. Schedule a complimentary consultation with Lisa by calling 719 579 5555.