10% of adults in the UK suffer with rosacea and during the winter months their symptoms often get worse.
Rosacea can be easily confused with other skin conditions such as acne, even though rosacea occurs most frequently for suffers mid-life. Most concerning is that, if left untreated, rosacea will undoubtedly worsen.
So how do you tell if you or someone you know has rosacea?
People with fair skin are more prone to rosacea which makes it a common problem in Scotland.Visual signs include:
- Flushing. Usually the earliest sign is a recurring fire-red facial complexion that looks as though you’ve just completed an intense workout.
- Intense redness. May resemble a blush or sunburn on nose, chin, cheeks, and forehead that does not subside.
- Bumps and pimples. Small red or pus-filled bumps develop that may resemble acne without the presence of blackheads. May burn or sting.
- Visible blood vessels. Small blood vessels become visible on the skin.
What causes rosacea?
The exact cause of rosacea is unknown, but several triggers have been identified that may make rosacea worse. These include:
- exposure to sunlight
- strenuous exercise
- hot or cold weather
- hot drinks
- alcohol and caffeine
- certain foods, such as spicy foods
Coping with rosacea symptoms
There is no cure for rosacea, but the symptoms can be controlled. If you potentially have visible signs of rosacea, don’t delay in seeking help – as early invention can prevent the condition from becoming worse. Long-term treatment is usually necessary, although there may be periods when your symptoms improve and you can stop treatment temporarily.
For most people, treating the visible signs involves a combination of:
- avoiding known triggers specific to you
- gentle skincare which prevents flare-ups
- Dermalux phototherapy: Red and Near Infra-Red light has an anti-inflammatory and healing effect for rosacea suffers which can offer immediate relief from the chronic symptoms
- Intense Pulsed Light (IPL) treatment can help. This involves beams of light being aimed at the visible blood vessels in the skin to shrink them and make them less visible
Tips for coping during the winter months
During the winter months protect your face with scarves, avoiding wool and other materials that may further irritate your skin. Try not to spend too much time near dry heat such as beside a fireplace or radiator. If you like to crank up the central heating during the winter then consider purchasing a humidifier to help moisturize the air and keep your skin hydrated. And tempting as it may be - avoid hot baths.
In a survey of 1,066 patients compiled by the American National Rosacea Society the following common triggers were identified, which you are more likely to encounter during the winter months:
- Wind 57%
- Hot baths 51%
- Cold weather 46%
- Indoor heat 41%
Of course never forget sun exposure, which is the top trigger at 81%. Even during the winter months use SPF, particularly if in a snowy environment where the reflected sun's rays will have a greater impact.
Taking back control
I have personally suffered from rosacea since my late twenties so I have a total understanding of the effects it can have socially, emotionally and physically. The stress felt living with rosacea can be reduced with the right advice, support and treatment. I no longer take antibiotics and with the right skin care my skin has never looked and felt so well.
At Face & Body the journey to taking back control starts with a 30-minute consultation during which we will work out an individual treatment plan to reduce the visible signs of rosacea and re-occurring flare ups.
Start your journey, or help someone start theirs, by calling 0131 226 9610 to arrange a consultation.
Taking back control can make a big difference to your life as this video story tells...
You can read my next blog on the emotional impact of rosacea here.