Facial Redness & Rosacea
At various times in our lives most of us suffer from some form of unwanted facial redness either in the form of overall reddening of the skin over the nose and cheeks or patches of broken veins around the cheeks and sides of the nose. It can affect both men and women and can range dramatically in its severity. There are various causes of this but the most common ones are sun damage, skin sensitivity and the most difficult of all, Rosacea.
Rosacea is a skin condition that is extremely common particularly in the fair skin type and is now so common that in certain parts of the country it is almost considered normal.
It is very important that we recognise when it is present as certain treatments can exacerbate the problem and some fairly simple steps can significantly reduce its progression and severity.
Hall marks of Rosacea in the early stages are a tendency to flushing and blushing, facial and neck redness that comes up easily and takes an annoyingly long time to subside. Gradually a more persistent redness starts to appear after the flushing should have subsided. A common story is that after a summer holiday when the tan has faded the skin has a lingering redness that just doesn’t go away. In some individuals surface thread veins may develop but in others it simply appears as a diffuse pink or red colour to the skin. Areas that are commonly affected are the cheeks, nose, forehead, chin, ears, and neck. Spots may or may not be present and can be red or white and often linger for months. A few unfortunate sufferers develop a thickening of the skin and a common area to see this is the nose. A large number have eye symptoms with redness of the whites of the eye and an irritable crustiness along the edges of the eyelids.
Probably the commonest symptom of all with Rosacea is the complaint that their skin is dry or dry sensitive.
What are the underlying causes of Rosacea?
Our knowledge is not complete as to the causes but certain things are known. There is often a strong family history and its high incidence in the pale Celtic skin type suggests there is a genetic predisposition making it more likely to develop. Some studies have shown a clear link to the development of the vascular form and the amount of UV exposure that has occurred. More recent work has established that there is a deficiency in the production of one of the key lipids in the surface of the skin which may contribute to increased penetration of external environmental agents. Certainly the receptors deeper in the skin are at a heightened level making the skin of Rosacea sufferers more responsive to the penetration of things like UV. Certain pathways of inflammation when triggered then induce the formation of blood vessels and increased blood flow to the skin. The skin mite has also come under scrutiny but it is as yet unclear whether this is a contributing factor or just an organism that coincidentally flourishes in Rosacea skin.
How to prevent facial redness and Rosacea
Clearly early recognition of the condition is important. Given that we know that the protective external skin barrier is deficient it is wise to limit UV exposure and avoid skincare routines that are too harsh or involve steps such as physical exfoliation. Microdermabrasion, a popular treatment in skin clinics and salons should be avoided or only be performed mildly and with care. Adopting a rigorous approach to UV protection all year round is a simple step that requires discipline. A good example of a pleasant to use UV protector is Epionce Daily Shield SPF 50. Here is a product that is entirely physical protection with zinc and titanium and thus avoids the potential for chemical irritation. The use of cleansers and moisturisers that are proven to repair the skin barrier and dampen chronic inflammation such as Epionce Gentle Foaming Cleanser and either a Renewal or Intensive Nourishing Cream are sensible products to build into your skincare routine. Most will see a dramatic improvement in the quality and health of their skin with these simple easy to follow steps. The addition of a Lytic product adds ingredients such as salicylic, azelaic and multiple anti inflammatories to deliver a smoother less blemish prone skin without the need to physically scrub the skin. This approach avoids the need to use agents such as glycolic, serums with vitamin C and the higher strength retinoids which in many simply add irritation and sensitivity with little benefit.
Using Intense Pulsed Light (IPL) to reduce redness
A cornerstone of treatment is either IPL to significantly reduce visible red veins and diffuse redness. In our clinics we prefer the response with IPL and call the treatment a Fotofacial where the entire area of skin that is affected is treated. Side effects are generally kept to a minimum so that people can continue their daily routine uninterrupted. Courses of treatments are generally recommended and follow up occasional treatments are advised to maintain results.
It is never too early or too late to take action against redness and Rosacea - our advice is to make an appointment with one of our doctors, nurses or our highly trained therapists who are experienced and knowledgeable in the latest treatments and management of facial redness and Rosacea.