Rosacea is a frustrating skin condition and can be confused with acne. It is important to understand the symptoms, ways to differentiate rosacea from acne, flare-up triggers (as there is no known cause) and available holistic treatments.
As the body is known to have more than 1 mysterious condition that may manifest on the skin, rosacea is definitely one of them. Rosacea has a noticeable rate of hereditary predisposition, can be triggered by environmental factors and is usually found in individuals with lighter hair, blond eyes and a Scandinavian/Northern European heritage, although it can be found in other heritages as well.
4 Sub-Types of Rosacea
1. Redness/rudiness of skin, flushing/blushing easily, blood vessels and broken capillaries/telantectangia starts to appear. This subtype is what gives insight to the individual being able to distinguish between rosacea and acne. When inquiring to clients about rosacea, I question if they get red and flush easily from a glass of wine or acute stressful situations, say driving for example. This skin is usually sensitive to touch, sunlight and blushing can cause major heat to rise throughout the face and chest area. (also known as vascular rosacea)
2. Bumps, papules, pustules and consistent redness all prone to blushing cheek area (but can still appear anywhere on the face).
3. Skin thickening, usually starting around nose.
4. Eye irritation, such as cysts or grittiness feeling of the eyes.
Other ways to differentiate from acne (although rosacea and acne can co-exist) is that rosacea usually shows up after the age of 30, there are not many, if any, blackheads present and skin may swell in blushing situations, having a hard time returning back to normal. This results from fluid build up in the area due to the stress put on the lymphatic system of the face via broken capillaries.
The capillaries and blood vessel system of the face are closely intertwined with the lymphatic system. Capillaries enable exchange of water and chemicals between blood and tissue. When these blood vessels become stressed, (blushing, stress, triggers) they tear. The lymphatic system then becomes overwhelmed and cannot properly detox the over abundance over proteins, water and metabolic waste carried by the blood that has seeped in from the broken capillaries.
Individuals dealing with rosacea will notice when skin does return back to normal from any fluid retention, they may be left with more noticeable telectangasia, (broken capillaries that form in clusters) which are the red, thread like spots left on the skin, resulting from loss of elasticity in the walls of the capillaries. When the capillary walls tear, they no longer retract and are left permanently dilated, the blood that seeps out is what leaves the red spots known as broken capillaries (couperose) visible on the skin.
Rosacea breakouts can be described as "bumpy" and under the skin. Often times very frustrating, as these types of breakouts are not advised or always able to be extracted and the surrounding skin is very inflamed. Pustules still occur even though rosacea skin tends to be dry and tight. The breakouts associated with rosacea can be painful and the best way to treat them is through anti-inflammatory and soothing remedies vs. steam and extractions as done in an acne treatment.
Demodex Mites (found normally in skin & hair but found in larger amounts in rosacea skin, causing a high inflammatory response)
Inflammatory skin products (witchhazel, alcohol, AHA acids, salicylic & glycolic acids, menthol, peppermint, rosemary, etc)
Conventional rosacea treatment may include steroids and other topical treatments, which can help for a short period of time initially but unfortunately does not treat the root of the problem. Roscaea should be treated with a holistic approach to mind, body & spirit, as stress is a large factor in flare-ups. By understanding triggers, you treat the root of the problem instead of masking symptoms, which are likely to show back up with a vengeance when they do return.
Learn to Manage Stress | Check out tips below...
Anti-Inflammatory Diet | Diets rich in cooling foods, nutrient dense foods, green leafy vegetables, almonds, healthy proteins such as quinoa, white meat, salmon, omega rich foods, etc. (avoid dairy, sugar, gluten, coffee, processed foods/chemicals, red meat, fried foods).
Food Journal | Try an elimination diet cutting out potential allergens (dairy, gluten, processed sugar, coffee) and evaluate skin after 2 weeks. As you (slowly) add back in any of the eliminated foods, keep track so you are able to discover your triggers.
General Gut Health | Small intestine Bacteria Overgrowth (SIBO) is common in people with rosacea. A quality probiotic will work to restore gut flora and nourish the gut. Be sure to shop for a high quality and potent product, Megafood supplement company carries my favorite probiotics.
Zen Inducing Workouts | Try workouts like Yoga, Pilates, balanced cardio sessions and more yin style exercise. This relieves stress and gets in your daily dose of movement without flushing or over-heating the skin.
Meditation & Breathing Exercises | Manages stress and induces healthy circulation throughout the body. I highly recommend including mediation into every lifestyle for the positive and life improving benefits for the mind, body and spirit.
Avoid Coffee | Caffeine in balanced doses is fine, I don't drink coffee but I love my tea. Caffeine in coffee is more stimulating than tea, which can create irregular blood sugar levels and leave us with potential sugar cravings. The caffeine in tea still exists but tea contains other beneficial constituents that help ease caffeine absorption into your system, avoiding the highs and lows found with drinking coffee. Green Tea is an abundant source of anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory properties so drink up.
Jade Roller | Godsend! Jade rollers cool the skin and assist in lymphatic drainage, both important on one's quest of controlling rosacea. Shop your Jade Roller here.
Soothing & Nourishing Skin Products | Rosacea is not acne and I don't even recommend typical "acne" treatments for people that do have acne. Any products that include drying ingredients, astringents, etc. are much too harsh for rosacea. Stripping cleansers & aggressive exfoliators only aggravate skin further.
Check out my post The Art of Cleansing to learn more about the delicate balance of the acid mantle and why harsh and drying products never work. It is common for rosacea clients to have inflamed skin from the condition itself and also from the use of trying different products in hope of healing their skin, perpetuating the cycle of inflammation further.
Chamomile and Calendula Compress | Two very soothing herbs to help calm and cool the skin. Steep tea bags and once tea has cooled, create a compress with muslin cloth or organic cotton and apply to skin. If you decide to make the switch from coffee to tea, you'll have plenty of compress ingredients at your disposal.
The common meeting place for all tips above is to lead a anti-inflammatory lifestyle. If you are interested in working with me to learn more about your skin, you can book a treatment with me located in Miami or Tampa, Florida or we can work long distance together over Skype. Contact here for all inquires, I look forward to connecting with you.