I can picture myself sitting at an SDA (Skin Disease Anonymous) meeting saying ‘Hi everyone, my name is Willene and I have Rosacea’ with the crowd responding ‘Hi Willene, we welcome you and your rosacea’. Jokes aside, I was about 27 when I started seeing changes happening in my skin – oiliness, sensitivity, enlarged pores, reactive skin, and deep nodular breakouts. Being in the skincare industry, I couldn’t understand what was happening to my skin since I had always taken care of it. When I tried to introduce traditional acne products, I felt that it was making my skin worse. What was happening, and why couldn’t I treat my own skin?
Welcome the new type of acne, or at least new to me, Acne Rosacea. Many people think of ‘normal acne’ called Acne Vulgaris when they think of pimples, oiliness, and scarring. There is however another type of acne on the block and the treatment is very different than with Acne Vulgaris.
Rosacea, referred to as the ‘strawberry field of Dermatology’ is a common but poorly understood chronic skin condition that you will have to learn to manage. There is no cure for rosacea, but it can be controlled with the correct products and treatment protocol. Rosacea affects everyone differently and it can take time to figure out how to manage your condition.
The main difference between Acne Vulgaris (‘traditional’ acne) and Acne Rosacea is that Rosacea mostly affects the central face (nose, forehead, cheeks, and chin). Blackheads are usually not seen with Rosacea but persistent redness and inflammation can be seen. An enlargement of the nose, called rhinophyma, can also be seen. Your skin may feel exceptionally sensitive, and you may even experience stinging and burning. Your skin may also move between stages of feeling very dry to feeling very oily, it is said that a Rosacea skin a confused skin.
Rosacea is caused by a combination of hereditary and environmental factors. Common triggers include spicy foods, foods that contain cinnamon, chocolate, tomatoes, and citrus. Hot drinks can flush the face with redness and sun exposure, or allergies can trigger rosacea to worsen. There is a specific intestinal bacteria called Helicobacter Pylori that can play a role in the flare-up of Rosacea. An overgrowth of Demodex, a nasty little mite that is naturally found on the skin but overgrows, can also cause flare-ups.
Your acne specialist will be able to prescribe the correct homecare, in-clinic, and lifestyle routine to effectively manage this chronic skin condition. Skincare ingredients should be anti-inflammatory and hydrating, including niacinamide, beta-glucan, liquorice root, ceramides, and hyaluronic acid. In-clinic treatments include deep cleanses, intense pulse light therapy (IPL), micro needling, Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) and very superficial chemical peels. Oral or topical medication, as prescribed by your doctor may also be needed to treat flare-ups quickly and effectively.
Even with the occasional flare-up, I have been able to manage my Rosacea effectively for over 6 years. Having healthy, beautiful skin is possible with the correct attitude and getting the right professional team behind you to educate and support you all the way.
Always remember – behind the redness is something even greater – You!
Team Skin Deep SA
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