By Janet Thompson
Approximately 35% of my clients either have rosacea or are exhibiting the early stages of rosacea, known as prerosacea. Many of them don’t even realize they have it – sometimes I don’t either until we get into the service and I observe the way their skin reacts. I can always tell a few minutes into a facial massage because their skin becomes “pinkish”. Massage stimulates blood flow and engorges the blood vessels under the skin, resulting in a flushed look, almost like light sunburn. Early detection can help control flare-ups if you know what to look for and you understand what aggravates this condition.
For those of you who are afflicted by rosacea, you’re not alone. An estimated 16 million people have it. I’m one of them – I have rosacea on my chest, neck, ear lobes, a little on my cheeks and I’m convinced I have it in my eyes (Ocular Rosacea). Although not officially diagnosed, I fit all the symptoms.
When I have a flare-up, it looks like I have severe sunburn on my chest, but my face is three shades lighter! It can be freaky looking at times, but I’ve learned to live with it. I did a really poor job of protecting my skin from the sun in my earlier years. I was the person who thought that sunburn looked good on my face and chest. It gave me color, and I didn’t have to wear foundation or blush. I'm paying the price for my ignorance now.
What is Rosacea?
Rosacea is a chronic inflammatory skin condition. Rosacea is more common among fair-skinned people and women, though it can affect all skin types and ethnicities. If you “blush” or “flush” easily, you have a higher susceptibility to rosacea. Common characteristics of rosacea include flushing and redness of the skin, facial skin hyper-reactivity, spots, papules, pustules, inflamed blood vessels and facial swelling.
It typically begins any time after age 30 (although I’ve seen it as early as 24) as a redness on the cheeks, nose, chin or forehead that may come and go. In some cases, rosacea may also occur on the neck, chest, scalp, eyes or ears. Over time, the redness tends to become ruddier and more persistent, and visible blood vessels may appear. Left untreated, bumps and pimples often develop, and in severe cases the nose may grow swollen and bumpy from excess tissue. In many rosacea patients, the eyes are also affected, feeling irritated and appearing watery or bloodshot.
If you have rosacea, here are some ways to prevent or reduce the severity of flare-ups:
- Protect Your Skin from the Sun. UV rays can seriously agitate rosacea, as well as worsen and intensify the appearance of it.
- Skip the Alcohol & Spicy Foods. Unfortunately, alcohol can be one of the number one offenders when it comes to rosacea flare-ups. Red wine seems to be the worst redness-enhancer. Choose tequila, vodka or gins — which don’t seem to have as much impact on the sensitive skin of people with rosacea. Stay away from spicy foods – they can exacerbate rosacea and induce flare-ups.
- Keep Your Face Covered in the Winter. Cold, dry air will irritate and worsen your symptoms. Keep your face covered up with a big collar or scarf in the winter.
- Limit Your S-T-R-E-S-S. For people who have rosacea, stress can also be a trigger for their skin condition. A study by the National Rosacea Society (NRS) found that 69 percent of rosacea patients said they experienced a flare-up related to emotional stress at least once a month.
- NO Hot Showers on Your Face! I know it feels good but letting the hot water in the shower run over your face is a recipe for disaster. It causes instantaneous swelling of the tissues and blood vessels. This is a definite no-no. You want to constrict the vessels, not dilate them.
An extensive article on Rosacea can be found on my blog, spalavie.info, with excerpts and statistical data obtained from the National Rosacea Society (NRS). Other information provided is based on my professional experience as an Esthetician and is solely my opinion.
Janet Thompson is a licensed Esthetician and owner of Spa La Vie Organic Skin Spa, located in Wasco, IL. www.SpaLaVie.info. Janet loves helping people achieve their skin car goals – the natural way.