Tone down rosacea with the latest treatments.
By Jennifer Weatherhead
An estimated four million Canadians suffer from rosacea – a chronic, progressive skin disorder that predominately affects fair-skinned people of European descent. “Rosacea is characterized by skin redness that results from an increased blood flow to the skin through dilated facial blood vessels,” explains Dr. Lisa Kellett, a Toronto-based dermatologist. It ranges from mild flushing across the nose and cheeks to more severe symptoms like ruddy, bumpy and uneven skin.
Rosacea is hereditary, but it is exacerbated by dietary and environmental factors. “Spicy foods, excessive exercise, extreme temperatures, sun and wind stress, are all common culprits,” notes Kellett. If you suspect you have rosacea, visit a dermatologist to get a proper diagnosis. “There are many crossover symptoms between rosacea and other skin disorders like acne, including sensitivity, breakouts and redness, so it’s easy to misdiagnose yourself,” she adds. A dermatologist will correctly identify your condition and prescribe the proper course of treatment. The onset of rosacea occurs for most people around the age of 25, and is more common in women than men. Also, if you were prone to blushing growing up, you are at greater risk of developing rosacea later on. But even though rosacea is not curable, it is treatable.
A dermatologist will likely recommend a combination of light therapy, or intense pulse light, which uses wavelengths of light to repair broken blood vessels, calm inflammation and smooth uneven skin, as well as laser therapy, which treats overall redness. If regular dermatologist visits aren’t financially feasible for you (each session ranges between $200 and $600 and usually 20 sessions are required), there are over-the-counter-skin-care regimes designed to calm inflamed skin. A gentle cleanser and moisturizer containing chamomile and bisabolol will nourish calm skin. And because water can cause flare-ups in some people, many skin-care ranges offer cleansers that you can tissue off without having to use water. “No topical skin-care product is proven to get rid of rosacea, but some will diminish the appearance of redness, especially if they are tinted with a green cast, which helps to mask a ruddy complexion,” says Kellett.