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What is Rosacea? Natural Treatment Alternatives that work

Rosacea is a chronic, inflammatory skin condition that is characterised by patches of red and sometimes bumpy skin on the face. You’ll notice a persistent, pink to red flush over the nose and cheeks, and the skin may become sensitive, often reacting strongly to internal or external changes in temperature. Left untreated, rosacea will eventually worsen, until for some people there is almost constant inflammation and red to bluish-purple surface increases hugely, reacting to almost anything that touches it. Skin can be oily or dry, with persistent flaking. Acne-like bumps may also develop, leading some doctors to describe the condition as ‘acne rosacea’.

Useful Facts

  • You’re not alone. Rosacea affects approximately 10% of the population.
  • Rosacea affects more women than men, although in men the condition tends to be more severe.
  • Diagnosis is typically between 35 and 50 years of age, however the fundamental sign of rosacea — persistent flushing— can occur from as early as the teenage years, where early treatment is thought to reduce the likelihood of the disease becoming progressively worse in later years.

What causes Rosacea?

No one knows, or can agree on, exactly what causes the condition. Many researchers think there is a genetic component to the development of rosacea. Others believe that elevated levels of an inflammatory peptide called cathelicidin, or high levels of an enzyme known as KLK5 in the skin’s uppermost layers play a role. Another theory is that a mite commonly found on human skin, Demodex folliculorum, triggers the inflammation that leads to rosacea. Research has shown that those with rosacea tend to have a finer layer of superficial blood vessels in their facial skin, and these vessels are hypersensitive to internal and external factors.

Lastly, some researchers believe that those with rosacea have a much thinner, more delicate surface barrier. Think of the skin’s layers like the layers of an onion: on rosacea-affected skin, the barrier is akin to the onion’s paper-thin skin; on skin that is not affected by rosacea, there are more layers (literally thicker skin) which provide improved barrier protection.

Regardless of the cause, there are plenty of factors that can make rosacea worse! Basically, anything that causes a rush of blood to the face is an issue. All of the following are triggers:

  • Sun exposure
  • Wind
  • Hot climates
  • Heavy or strenuous exercise
  • Emotional stress
  • Certain cosmetic ingredients
  • Topical steroid creams and other topical medications that can thin the skin
  • Spicy foods, alcohol, and caffeine (especially from hot beverages like coffee)

That’s quite the line-up – and it’s not even the entire list! Although some triggers are more obvious than others, it’s hard to be certain exactly what will spark a rosacea flare-up; even something that seems extra gentle could potentially cause an issue.

Will I grow out of Rosacea?

Rosacea is a condition that shows up in adults, usually between the ages of 30 and 60. It affects all segments of the population, but is most common in people with fair skin tones, especially those who tend to blush easily’ in fact, it’s thought to affect as much as 30% to 50% percent of the Caucasian population. Women are diagnosed with rosacea more frequently than men, but men tend to experience more severe symptoms, such as a swollen, distended nose area and more broken capillaries.

What triggers it?

There is no specific single trigger for rosacea; it is critical that you eliminate the parts of your normal skin-care routine that increase inflammation, and make the skin redder.

Common triggers are:

  • Harsh cleansers such as bar soap, bar cleansers, and cleansing scrubs
  • Drying liquid or lotion cleansers
  • Toners with alcohol and fragrance
  • Abrasive scrubs
  • Rough washcloths or facial brushes
  • At-home facial peels
  • Using too many products at the same time

It has been found that retinol products are generally considered fine to use, but it can disrupt your skin’s pH levels.

Signs and symptoms?

What makes rosacea even trickier to address is that it doesn’t manifest itself in just one way: there is more than one type of rosacea! In its earliest stages, rosacea can be so subtle that many people don’t even know they have it, they tend to think they just have an uneven skin tone instead of an actual skin disorder. However, the sooner you catch and treat rosacea, the easier it will be to control and prevent its progression. From subtle beginnings to more advanced cases here these are the primary signs of rosacea,

Primary Signs of Rosacea

  • Flushing – Many people with rosacea have a history of frequent blushing or flushing. This facial redness may come and go, and is often the earliest sign of the disorder.
  • Persistent Redness – Persistent facial redness is the most common individual sign of rosacea, and may resemble a blush or sunburn that does not go away.
  • Bumps and Pimples – Small, red, solid bumps or pus-filled pimples often develop. While these may resemble acne, blackheads are absent and burning or stinging may occur.
  • Visible Blood Vessels – In many people with rosacea, small blood vessels become visible on the skin.

Other Potential Signs and Symptoms

  • Eye Irritation – In many people with rosacea, the eyes may be irritated and appear watery or bloodshot, a condition known as ocular rosacea. The eyelids also may become red and swollen, and styes are common. If not treated correctly, severe cases can result in corneal damage and vision loss.
  • Burning or Stinging –Burningor stinging sensations may often occur on the face. Itching or a feeling of tightness may also develop.
  • Dry Appearance – The central facial skin may be rough, and thus appear to be very dry.
  • Plaques – Raised red patches – known as plaques – may develop without changes in the surrounding skin.
  • Skin Thickening – The skin may thicken and become enlarged as a result of excess tissue, most commonly on the nose. This condition – known as rhinophyma – affects more men than women.
  • Swelling – Facial swelling – known as edema – may accompany other signs of rosacea, or occur independently.
  • Signs Beyond the Face – Rosacea signs and symptoms may also develop beyond the face, most commonly on the neck, chest, scalp or ears.

Here are the four different types of rosacea:

  1. Erythematotelangiectatic – This long and hard-to-pronounce name is the most basic type of rosacea. It’s characterised by flushing and persistent redness, often in a butterfly pattern on a person’s nose, cheeks, forehead, and chin. Blood vessels under the skin may also be visible, and are often referred to as broken capillaries or spider veins. The affected skin may feel warmer than the surrounding skin, and often reacts strongly to stimuli.
  2. PapulopustularThis form includes bumps and pimple-like eruptions in addition to redness, with some of the bumps becoming infected with bacteria that can cause acne. This is what people mean when they say they have acne rosacea.
  3. Phymatous – Most common in men, this type of rosacea involves a thickening of the skin and hyper-growth of facial blood vessels, which can result in a bulbous nose from the excess growth of tissue in this area (legendary comedian W. C. Fields, famous for his large nose, had this disfiguring type of rosacea).
  4. Ocular – This type of rosacea affects the eyes. Symptoms include dry eyes, tearing and burning, a gritty sensation, swollen eyelids, recurring styes, and even potential vision loss. Ocular rosacea often exists with another type of rosacea, so you’re battling skin symptoms as well as itchy, irritated eyes.

What can I do- now and in the future?

Rosacea is an unpredictable skin disorder, and just about anything can set it off or create extreme sensitivity, which means it is critical to assemble the gentlest skin-care routine possible so as not to aggravate it. All skincare products should be fragrance and dye-free. ‘Fragrance-free’ means avoiding fragrant plant oils, too, which surprisingly – and disturbingly – often show up in products for sensitive skin. For example, lavender oil is a definite no-no.

First things first: use sunscreen. UV exposure makes rosacea worse, so be sure to apply a sunscreen with SPF 15 or higher, daily, to keep those damaging rays from harming your delicate skin.

Also, be sure to check the labels when you’re picking out a sunscreen: you should be using a sun protection where the only active ingredients are titanium dioxide and/or zinc oxide. These minerals sunscreens are gentle and are the least likely to cause a stinging or burning sensation, both of which can worsen the redness you’re trying to minimise.

Familiarise yourself with ingredients that can be irritants, including alcohol (SD – or denatured), menthol, mint, citrus, lavender, and any fragrant as well as any inflammation and sensitivity of the skin. It’s really important for anyone with rosacea to eliminate irritants from their skincare routine. It’s also important that you have a good moisture with barrier repair properties that can help the skin build healthy collagen.

Green makeup or green-tinted foundations can be used to counter redness. This can be followed by a skin-tone foundation with natural yellow tones, avoiding those with pink or orange hues.

5 Tips for Looking after your Rosacea

Here are 5 top skincare tips for looking after rosacea:

1) Cleansers should be soap free. Remove with wet cotton pad
Apply products gently with your fingers

2) Choose sunscreens that protect against ultraviolet A and ultraviolet B light.

3) Choose a light foundation that is easy to spread and can be set with powder. Foundations that contain ultraviolet A–ultraviolet B sunscreen are encouraged

4) Green-tinted makeup or sunscreen can provide extra coverage of red areas

5) Avoid waterproof cosmetics and heavy foundations that are harder to apply and remove without irritating solvents

Can Rosacea be cured?

Rosacea is a chronic condition with no known cure, and you’ll need to see a doctor to get it under control; in most cases, skincare alone isn’t enough. A good dermatologist should know the latest treatments and techniques for dealing with rosacea, and can properly diagnose what type you have. While our products do reduce the redness on the skin it will not remove it entirely.

Our Manuka  Biotic recommendations

Our Face Cleanser bathes your complexion in a delicate blend of botanical extracts (Manuka oil,  Kanuka Oil, Witch Hazel, and Green Tea extract) known for their potent antibacterial, antifungal, antioxidant, and anti-inflammatory properties that gently draws out and removes impurities from sensitive and problematic facial skin without stripping it of  its natural oils, visibly helping to reduce pore size and age spot formation – this rich, indulgent cleanser deeply cleanses to instantly remove daily grime, pollutants, and makeup, even stubborn mascara, to leave skin feeling thoroughly soothed, balanced and exceptionally clean.  It specially formulated for those of you with sensitive skin, acne, or clogged pores: makeup and impurities wash away without residue or dryness. Leaves skin feeling beautifully nourished.

Our Light Day Cream is one of our most popular products. A hydrating blend of manuka oil, camellia oil, shea butter, vitamin e, and totarol extract (is three times stronger than vitamin E, and a potent force that neutralises the free radicals linked to skin aging. Its high levels of antibacterial agents make it very useful against acne bacteria).  This lightweight formula intensely hydrates without oiliness to leave skin feeling instantly soft and smooth.

Why Manuka Biotic®?

  1. We use the worlds only certified organic Manuka oil.
  2. All our products contain potent antibacterial, anti-fungal, anti-inflammatory properties to help soothe and repair the skin.
  3. Our products are 100% New Zealand made.
  4. Our products are made using natural ingredients and are FREE from:
    • Parabens
    • Sodium Lauryl Sulfate & SLES
    • PEGs, PABA, EDTA
    • Added fragrances & colouring
    • Petrochemicals
    • Mineral Oils
    • Phenoxyethanol
    • Propylene Glycol
    • Phthalates
    • Animal testing or animal derivatives

Manuka Biotic® is natural skincare for the whole family, giving you access to the potent power of Manuka Oil.

Please read the full ingredient list for any known irritants or allergies. We advise trying new products on a small patch of skin and waiting 24 hours to make sure there is no reaction. Any natural product on the market could contain an ingredient that won’t agree with your skin.

Read Our Manuka Mum’s Experiences

Hear directly from a few of our lovely Manuka Mum’s sharing their experiences of using our products on their Rosacea.  While our products do reduce the redness on the skin it will not remove it entirely.

Want to know more?

There’s a lot you can do the relieve symptoms if your rosacea gets worse. Check out the following websites for further information and support groups on how you can treat and prevent rosacea.

Remember, your health provider will also be able to treat you with assessing and treating your symptoms.

New Zealand & Australia  New Zealand Dermatological Society

http://www.dermnetnz.org/acne/rosacea.html

DermNet NZ provides authoritative information about skin diseases, conditions and treatment for patients and their health professionals.

United Kingdom The British Skin Foundation

http://www.britishskinfoundation.org.uk/SkinInformation/AtoZofSkindisease/Rosacea.aspx

Dedicated to the needs of people with rosacea, the organisation is an excellent source of support and information.

United States of America The National Rosacea Society

http://www.rosacea.org

An excellent website designed to give you the most up to date information on rosacea, treatment, research and educational webcasts.

For further information talk to your doctor.

Information displayed on this site is intended for Australian and New Zealand residents only and is not designed to replace the advice of your healthcare professional. Use of and access to the information on this site is subject to the terms and conditions set out in our Terms of Use.

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