Red Faced? Rosacea Is Nothing To Be Embarrassed About
We all get a little red in the face from time to time – maybe you blush easily when you get embarrassed or you get a little flushed after doing some exercise. But for a lot of Irish people – me being one of them – that redness is caused by a skin condition called rosacea. Rosacea is a chronic inflammation of the skin that can show up in several ways. One might experience redness that runs down your nose and across your cheeks, red blood vessels that appear on the cheeks and nose, pimple like bumps that don't go away in these same areas (this is called acne rosacea) and in some cases an overall feeling of sensitivity that might even sting.
There are a number of triggers that can cause rosacea to flare up. Your favourite curry dish is right at the top of the list, as spicy foods are known to be among the worst rosacea triggers. Alcohol (red wine especially), too much sun and taking very hot showers are also known to trigger rosacea. Environmental factors like stress, heat, cold wind and frosty weather will also spike a flare-up. Genetics also play a part so if Dad or your Granny have rosacea, then you can practically count on having it too.
Although primarily diagnosed in women, more severe symptoms tend to be seen in men because men (being men) tend to delay seeking treatment until their rosacea reaches an advanced stage or just ignore it altogether. An NRS survey in the UK found that while rosacea may occur up to three times more frequently in women than in men, men are more than twice as likely to experience a condition called rhinophyma (an enlarged nose), also known as phymatous rosacea. Symptoms of rhinophyma include excess tissue, thickening of the skin and irregular surface nodules. Unless you're known for delivering gifts on Christmas night, a big red, inflamed nose can be rather unsightly and can lead to an unfair assumption of heavy drinking. Although drinking can aggravate rosacea in some cases, even those with their pioneer pins intact aren't immune.
Unlike women, who can hide their rosacea symptoms with makeup, most men will not consider cosmetics to be a viable option. In addition, men face another facial skincare challenge that women don't need to account for – shaving. Dulled razors can aggravate sensitive skin, so it's recommended that male rosacea sufferers switch to an electric razor or grow a beard.
Fortunately, there are some treatments available. The first thing to do is head to a dermatologist or skin care professional to determine whether you have rosacea or just red irritation. Factors like triggers, family history and sun damage are all considered when making a diagnosis. Figuring out what triggers make your rosacea worse and avoiding is the first and most basic line of defence and as with all issues that affect the skin, strong sun exposure can increase your risk as well as worsen symptoms so it's essential that you wear an SPF moisturiser every day to prevent flare-ups from the sun. Using gentle skincare products will also help keep your skin calm. Choose cleansers and moisturisers that are fragrance-free and contain natural hydrators like ceramides, hyaluronic acid and glycerin to help reinforce the skin barrier, replenish moisture and keep your skin feeling calm and comfortable. Other treatment options include creams and oral antibiotics that your GP can prescribe and for more moderate to severe cases, laser treatment can achieve significant results and that's the route that I've chosen to take.
A year ago I visited Complete Laser Care for some laser hair removal sessions on the nape of my neck. It was during these visits that the lovely Catherine Waters diagnosed my rosacea. In the last year, my skin has gotten worse due to stress, sun damage and not using the right products for my skin so I have decided to zap away the redness at Complete Laser Care. The lovely people at Complete Laser Care once again would like me to stress that they are a private discreet clinic for anyone who is thinking of having laser skin treatment, especially men who hate the thought of going to a salon. they offer a wide range of treatments specialising in advanced skincare and laser and will be in business 12 years this year. Complete Laser Care always advises a free consult with a patch test for any new client. Head over to www.completelasercare.ie for more information or call 061 481620 to book a consultation. I will give an update on my own laser treatments in the weeks to come.