Rosacea: the skin condition you might not know you have
Up to 10 per cent of the population has rosacea, but it's one of the most undiagnosed skin conditions - why seek medical help for something you can simply smother with make-up? But if you dream of the day where you can leave the house without foundation (imagine!) and add sheer, dewy products to cart instead of industrial-strength cover-up, help is at hand - you just need to know where to look.
Hypoallergenic, non-irritating and non-comedogenic skincare is a must for anyone plagued by facial redness, but there are specific ingredients you can call on to tone down the problem too. Take the new Ultraceuticals Ultra RedAction moisturiser, $79, which contains redness-reducing wonder ingredient Niacinamide (aka vitamin B3) to combat blotchiness and restore skin barrier function; Ella Bache's SensiBeautics Intense Recovery Serum, $105, which reduces the size of blood capillaries in sensitive and rosacea-prone skin; or the new Dermalogica Redness Relief Primer SPF 15, $70. We asked Dr Geoffrey Heber, cosmetic physician and the founder of Ultraceuticals, for the lowdown on rosacea symptoms, treatment and how to best keep it under control.
Are certain skin types more prone to rosacea than others?
The cause of the condition is not known, however, it occurs mostly in female Caucasians with fair skin over the age of 30. Most people with photoageing have facial redness due to new and enlarged blood vessels in the dermal layer of the skin. Rarely there are some skin diseases that might mimic rosacea - this is why it is a good idea to initially see a doctor to have it diagnosed.
What are the symptoms?
Rosacea manifests with facial redness mostly in a butterfly distribution across the cheeks and nose. The redness tends to come and go with facial flushing. The flushing might be triggered by such factors as alcohol, hot spices and a sudden change of temperature. Papules and pimples might occur where the rash shows. Some people experience rosacea on the eyelids, making them feel fry and irritated.
What should people with rosacea avoid?
Rosacea sufferers should avoid products that dry or might irritate the skin. For example, strongly foaming moisturisers can dry the skin and aggravate rosacea. AHA products are also not a good idea.
What products are great for soothing redness/rosacea?
Niacinamide (vitamin B3) has been reported to decrease the redness of rosacea. Vitamin C has also been reported to help. Other than that there are some prescription and pharmacy medications that may be useful.
Skincare aside, is there anything else rosacea sufferers can do to relieve symptoms?
Avoidance of alcohol and hot, spicy foods may help. IPL and some types of laser treatment can reduce the redness of rosacea and photoageing.
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