Get to grips with rosacea

While people don’t tend to talk about it much, the skin condition rosacea is a problem for more people than you would think.

The acne-like inflammatory condition tends to affect the cheeks, forehead, chin and nose, and while symptoms come and go, it can be a real pain, on many levels.

This is classified as a chronic condition that predominantly affects fair-skinned women between 40 and 60, but men can suffer too and for them it could be more severe as well as harder to talk about.

Typically, rosacea begins with the skin turning red and flushed for a short time. This isn’t the end of things, as this can be followed by uncomfortable stinging, ongoing dryness, blemishes plus increased visibility of the blood vessels which makes skin look almost bruised. There is also the chance of small bumps, pus-filled spots and uncomfortable inflammation on the eyes and eyelids.  Rosacea can persist for a long time and the severity tends to fluctuate from person to person.

While no one really knows what causes rosacea, certain triggers such as stress, excessive light exposure, being out in extreme weather, drinking alcohol and caffeine,  and eating spicy foods, can make it worse.

To date there are no tests to diagnose rosacea, but anyone who has persistent symptoms should talk to their GP because the sooner it is identified, the sooner treatment can start. GPs examine the skin, as well as considering lifestyle factors and the impact it is having on the patient, and then looks for the best approach to get things under control.

Topical creams and gels can be prescribed and if the affected skin is really bad, it might be that a course of antibiotics is needed. In some cases, laser and intense pulsed light (IPL) treatment that involves beams of light being aimed at the visible blood vessels in the skin so they shrink and become less obvious.

For many people, lifestyle changes can help manage the condition and many patients find that avoiding their known triggers, be that alcohol, coffee, wine or the midday sun, they feel better and their skin improves. By taking control of your lifestyle you are taking control of the situation and over time hopefully your skin will become calm and healthy once again.

We would suggest writing a record of your flare-ups and see if they match up to anything you have done differently – maybe had more curries, been really stressed at work or had one or two glasses of wine more than usual.

Skincare is also important, so forget soap and water, as they won’t cut it. Go for products designed for sensitive skin and more importantly, ones that works for you. Make sure you cleanse, tone and moisture twice a day and use a good quality sunblock all year round.

For many people, it’s not just the irritation that’s the problem, but the physical and mental impact too. For people who really do struggle with their appearance, counselling and support can be an option worth considering. It is hard sometimes, but try not to let your thoughts and worries take over, and remember what you see in the mirror probably won’t be what others see as they talk to you and they won’t even notice it.

What we would say is, that millions of people around the world suffer with this condition, and while it isn’t fun, you aren’t alone. We know that it can cause embarrassment and insecurity, and would suggest checking out the British Skin Foundation who offer more information.

Team Pure Beauty

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