Understanding Rosacea: Signs, Symptoms, and Treatments

Understanding Rosacea: Signs, Symptoms, and Treatments

Rosacea is a chronic inflammatory skin condition that causes redness, facial flushing, breakouts, and swelling on the face including eyes and other parts of the body that has an impact on almost 10 to 50 percent of the world’s population. Rosacea flare-ups are often seen lasting from weeks to even months and can be a life-long skin condition.

While the precise etiology of rosacea is unknown, it is believed that this skin condition can occur due to several factors like genetics, hormonal imbalance, and poor lifestyle management. These factors can affect your blood vessels, and immune and nervous systems, triggering inflammation, and leading to rosacea.

Some of the active ingredients can help control the symptoms and prevent the condition of rosacea from developing further. Let's look at this skin condition in detail to understand the triggers, signs, and treatment options.

Key Triggers and Causes of Rosacea

Rosacea is caused by a variety of reasons. These comprise not just genetic variables but also immune system-influencing factors that include:

Environmental and lifestyle triggers like:

  • Spicy foods
  • Cinnamaldehyde (found in cinnamon, chocolate, tomatoes, citrus, etc.)
  • Hot beverages
  • Caffeinated beverages
  • Dairy products

Microbial factors like:

  • Helicobacter pylori (an intestinal bacteria)
  • Demodex, the skin mite, and Bacillus oleronius, the bacterium found in Demodex

Skin and Environmental factors like:

  • Cathelicidin (a protein that protects the skin against infection)
  • High humidity
  • Sun exposure/ UV rays
  • Stress or anxiety
  • Irritating skin care products
  • Damaged skin barrier
  • Imbalanced skin pH

Understanding Types of Rosacea There are 4 types of rosacea:

  • Erythematotelangiectatic Rosacea (ETR): This category of rosacea is characterized by redness and discoloration and can exhibit a long-lasting effect on the skin. The visibility of broken blood vessels (spider veins) under the skin gets higher in these cases and can even become permanent and unmanageable if not given proper attention.
  • Papulopustular (or acne) Rosacea: This particular type of rosacea is often confused with acne. Pus-filled white heads in the form of red, swollen bumps on your foreheads, cheeks, chin, scalp, chest, neck, etc. are the indications.
  • Phymatous rosacea: Although rare, this kind of rosacea causes thick, scarred skin. This skin ailment can lead to swollen lumps that often turn discolored on the nose (rhinophyma).
  • Ocular rosacea: Eyes, being the area of infection, ocular rosacea affects your eyes, giving them a bloodshot and watery appearance. When affected, ocular rosacea causes possible irritation, dryness, and sensitivity in the eyes. Cysts also appear as a sign and the vision gets diminished too. 

Rosacea common Symptoms

Signs and Symptoms of Rosacea Rosacea typically shows multiple signs such as:

  • Persistent redness, the unfading blush: Long-lasting redness at the center of the face is one of the most common signs of rosacea. This redness often resembles a make-up blush or sunburn that won’t fade away.
  • Visible blood vessels, the spider vein effect: The blood vessels under the skin may appear red and broken in texture, creating a spider-like pattern, when affected by rosacea.
  • Bumps and pimples, the acne confusion: Small, red bumps or pus-filled pimples appear on the skin which is often mistaken for acne.
  • Eye irritation, the ocular impact: When rosacea affects the eyes, they become watery or bloodshot, causing irritation.
  • Thickened, dry skin and texture change: In severe cases, particularly in men, rosacea causes the skin to thicken and enlarge in the nose and center of the face. The skin may even appear dry, rough, and scaly in some cases.

Mastering Rosacea: Tips for Effective Management

Effective management of rosacea involves a combination of medical treatments and lifestyle adjustments. Understanding and avoiding triggers is as important as seeking medical help in the case of rosacea. 

  • Sun Protection: Use a broad-spectrum sunscreen of at least SPF 30 that provides strong protection from the sun.
  • Avoid Triggers: Avoid heat, sunlight, spicy food, and humidity to minimize flare-ups. 
  • Winter Protection: During winter or cold weather, remember to guard your face.
  • Gentle Skincare: Opt for gentle exfoliants and skincare products if you have sensitive skin
  • Eye Care: While cleaning your eyes, make sure that you clean your eyelids as well to protect yourself from ocular rosacea.
  • Stress Management: Implement stress-reducing techniques into your daily routine to manage rosacea.

Rosacea Treatment Options

Although there is no perfect cure for rosacea, the symptoms can be managed effectively. The right treatments can manage rosacea symptoms like redness, bumps, and others. Seek medical attention if the symptoms persist. The topical cures for rosacea that target inflammation include:

  • Azelaic acid: Azelaic acid clears up bumps, inflammation, and redness. Its therapeutic properties can be a great solution for rosacea-prone skin. Azelaic Acid helps reduce any redness, inflammation, and acne flares by soothing the skin and gently exfoliating at the same time to refine the pores. Azelaic Acid works to reduce the appearance of melasma, dark spots, and acne scarring.
  • Brimonidine: Brimonidine is available as gels, to tighten blood vessels in the skin to get rid of redness. These are available as drops as a medication for ocular rosacea.
  • Niacinamide: This variant of vitamin B3 is an effective anti-inflammatory agent.
  • Calcineurin inhibitors: Pimecrolimus and tacrolimus creams can reduce inflammation.
  • Antibiotics: Clindamycin (an antibiotic that kills bacteria on your skin), Erythromycin, Metronidazole and doxycycline
  • Ivermectin: Reduces inflammation and fights certain mites.
  • Oxymetazoline: Reduces redness and inflammation 
  • Sodium sulfacetamide and sulfur: Antibiotics to treat bacterial infection
  • Oral medication: Isotretinoin, an acne drug, is sometimes prescribed for rosacea by medical experts. It is not advised during pregnancy as it affects the health of the unborn child.
  • Cosmetic treatments: Cosmetic treatments like lasers make the blood vessels less visible. This intense light also removes the thick skin. The side effects of this include blistering and scarring on the skin.

Nature's Soothers: Top Natural Remedies for Rosacea Relief

As said, nature’s way is the best. Here are some beneficial natural remedies for rosacea: 

  • Aloe vera: The core product in several beauty products including moisturisers, Aloe vera gel is an effective topical healer of rosacea. The gel from aloe vera leaf can be directly applied to the skin to soothe the skin. But, it's recommended that you do a patch test before proceeding with it if you have sensitive skin.
  • Burdock root: Burdock root is an excellent purifier that can clear up your skin from within.
  • Chamomile: Chamomile, known for its calming properties, is used to treat inflamed skin as it cools the skin and provides a soothing effect. Chamomile is available in the form of oil and can be applied directly on the skin or diluted and applied.
  • Coconut oil: Holding top rank in the category of natural moisturizers, coconut oil can bring down inflammation with its anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Even though coconut oil is not a proven cure for rosacea, it can be applied to the skin to calm and hydrate it. 
  • Feverfew: Recognized as a natural rosacea remedy, Feverfew can protect your skin from UV rays, acting as a mild sunscreen to control rosacea.
  • Green tea: The herbal supplement known for its anti-oxidant properties is an effective remedy to bring down inflammation. It can help with most skin conditions, including rosacea.
  • Raw honey: Raw honey helps the skin retain moisture, thus reducing dryness, a factor that adds to rosacea.
  • Turmeric: Best known for its anti-inflammatory properties, turmeric is the easiest go-to option to reduce redness and inflammation. It will clean the skin and bring it back to its healthier version.

Radiant Relief: Skincare Tips for Managing Rosacea

Choosing the right skincare products is crucial for effectively managing rosacea. Rosacea flare-ups can differ according to the type of rosacea. Here are some tips for skincare for rosacea:

  • Gentle Cleansers: Avoid cleansers that contain alcohol, fragrance, and other harsh ingredients. Use mild, pH-balanced cleansers that do not irritate the skin. After cleansing twice a day, gently pat your skin dry with a soft, cotton cloth.
  • Moisturizers: Hydrate the skin with rosacea-friendly moisturizers after cleansing which will keep your skin hydrated. Go for a non-comedogenic moisturizer enriched with niacinamide, ceramides, oatmeal, chamomile, etc. to soothe the flare-ups caused by rosacea.
  • Sun protection: A broad-spectrum sunscreen with SPF 30+ can be used to protect yourself from the sun. Always use hats and sunglasses for better protection.
  • Cold compress: Apply a cool cloth on the face to reduce the redness, swelling, and irritation caused by rosacea.

Conclusion: Rosacea is a complicated skin condition with an unclear cause that can be simplified by managing lifestyle and avoiding triggers. A proactive approach can be taken when choosing products for your skin that are gentle yet effective in treating rosacea. However, if prolonged symptoms occur, consulting a dermatologist would be the best option to treat rosacea effectively. You can control rosacea and keep your skin looking young and healthy by making smart choices!