Almost everyone goes through bouts of acne while growing up. But while most people will eventually move on to clearer skin as they out-grow their raging teens, a significant few will continue to suffer from acne almost throughout their whole lives. For these individuals, constantly living with acne can have a profound effect on their self-esteem and can even lead to isolation and depression. But surprisingly, what we often consider as acne is actually a skin disease known as rosacea.
What is rosacea?
Rosacea is a common and chronic, relapsing skin disease that is often characterized by transient or persistent redness of the face, the prominence of blood vessels in the skin, and the presence of numerous papules and pustules. The term ‘rosacea’ comes from the Latin word for roses. While acne and rosacea can have similar appearances and can often co-exist, they are actually caused by entirely different processes. It is estimated that around 2-10 percent of the population has rosacea, with women being more commonly afflicted than men. Rosacea also occurs more often among people of Celtic descent with fair skin, blue eyes and red hair, than among Asians and African-Americans.
What causes rosacea?
There is still a lack of clear consensus among the medical community as to the exact causes of rosacea. However, a number of factors have been identified as responsible for triggering the condition. These include: UV light, stress and emotionality, physical exertion, extreme variations in temperature, humidity, strong winds, spicy food, red wine, topical steroids, and skin care products that contain alcohol. Because different people have different triggers, they are encouraged to maintain a rosacea diary for them to monitor and identify potential triggers.
What are the symptoms of rosacea?
Rosacea can be diagnosed based on the existence of its primary characteristics, which are as follows:
- Transient erythema – the patient has a tendency of excessive blushing or flushing
- Non-transient erythema – the patient often experiences persistent redness in his or her facial skin
- Papules and pustules – there are crops of red and dome-shaped papules and pustules throughout the skin
- Telangiectasia – tiny dilated vessels can be seen on the skin
In addition, rosacea can also exhibit secondary features that can either co-exist with the primary features or occur independently. These secondary characteristics include:
- Burning or stinging sensation, with or without scaling and dermatitis
- Elevated red plaques
- Rough, scaly, dry central facial skin that looks like eczema or dermatitis
- Oedema, often accompanying or following facial erythema or flushing
- Ocular symptoms ranging from burning or itching eyes, bloodshot eyes, eyelid inflammation, and corneal damage
- Occurrence of rosacea at sites other than the face, such as the neck, scalp, ears and back
- Overgrowth of sebaceous glands, open skin pores and skin thickening
Natural treatment of rosacea
Because of the murky causes of rosacea, the therapeutic approach consists largely of skin care management and symptomatic treatment. Proper skin care can help repair and maintain the function of the epidermal barrier and can reduce the signs and symptoms of the disease. On the other hand, treatment is aimed at:
- Alleviating the signs and symptoms of rosacea, such as skin reddening and irritation, and reducing papules and pustules
- Delaying or preventing the progression of rosacea from its milder form to its more severe stages
- Promoting the remission of the condition and avoiding exacerbations
- Maintaining the skin in as good a condition as possible
- Improving the patient’s quality of life
An integral part of rosacea treatment is the adoption of a total skin care regimen that minimizes the skin barrier dysfunction and reduces skin irritation. Among the products recommended by dermatologists are:
- A high-SPF (15) sunscreen product to protect against ultraviolet light-induced epidermal and dermal abnormalities that further worsen rosacea and photo-protectants with at least SPF 5 to prevent chronic photo-damage due to dermal matrix degradation from UV exposure. An ideal sunscreen is the ZENMED® SPF 40 Mineral Sunscreen, which is a dual-action sunscreen that provides broad spectrum protection from UV rays that induce flare-ups and redness and delivers anti-aging benefits from hyaluronic acid, CoQ10 and antioxidants.
- Gentle foaming face washes, lipid-free cleansers and non-soap-based skin cleansers that have a pH that is more compatible with natural skin acidity, which causes less epidermal damage, irritation and dryness. A good example is the ZENMED® Gentle Cleansing Cream, which has a balanced pH and vegetable-based formulation that removes impurities without drying or stripping the skin of vital oils.
- Moisturizers with humectant and occlusive agents that replenish the depleted lipids within the impaired epidermal barrier and restore its ability to retain moisture. The ZENMED® Oil-Free Day Lotion is a water-based, moisture lotion with micro-mattifying agents to help control oil levels and high concentrations of Vitamins B5 and E to leave the skin feeling and looking supple and nourished. Another ideal product is the ZENMED® Nutrient Boost Spray, which is a soothing spray that contains Vitamins A and E, Willow Bark Extract and Licorice Root Extract to moisten the skin and lessen irritation after exposure to heat, cold, wind and UV rays.
- Cosmetic camouflage to conceal and control erythema and telangiectases and serum base to nourish the skin. A perfect cosmetic camouflage is the ZENMED® Anti-Redness Mask is a nourishing gel mask that contains Willow Bark Extract, a highly effective anti-inflammatory agent; Green Tea and Cucumber for fast control of skin redness; and Licorice Root Extract and Certified Organic Aloe Vera Gel as additional anti-redness agents. Meanwhile, the ZENMED® Support Serum uses Vitamin C to reduce swelling, redness and inflammation associated with rosacea and provides restorative strength to protect healthy skin tissue and promote curative cellular regeneration.
When using cosmetic and skin care products, make sure that they do not contain alcohol, witch hazel, fragrance, menthol, peppermint and eucalyptus oil, all of which can exacerbate rosacea. To check out the dermatologically-certified natural formulations of ZENMED® complete skin support systems for oil and dry skins, visit us here.