Rosacea is a chronic inflammatory disease, which has a major impact on the quality of life of people suffering from this disease, though it is often underdiagnosed. It presents with a centrofacial reddening that is initially transient (flushing), which later becomes persistent with the onset of telangiectasias (the so-called vascular spiders, small red veins in the cheeks and the nose), sometimes even with papulo-pustules (red spots with pus) similar to acne. Rosacea is often characterised by a chronic remission and relapse cycle.
What are the characteristics of rosacea?
One of the characteristics of rosacea is that it usually alternates between periods of improvement and periods of worsening (so-called outbreaks). It usually occurs in people with fair skin, and it affects between 0.5% and 10% of the population. It usually occurs from 30 to 50 years of age and is more common in women than in men.
Although its pathophysiology is uncertain, there is some individual susceptibility and different factors involving chronic inflammation and vascular response. Some factors that can stimulate or aggravate outbreaks are solar radiation, exposure to heat or the cold, stress, spicy or hot foods, chemical irritants, and microorganisms.
Rosacea is a chronic and persistent dermatosis. Since there is no cure for this disease, treatment consists of avoiding its triggers and taking medication that will act to reach remission, prevent flare-ups and hide the signs of the disease, such as flushing and redness.
Skin care for rosacea
Skin care for rosacea should be undertaken following a series of guidelines.
Hygiene should be a daily routine for rosacea-prone skin. In general, it is advisable to use mild cleansers such as soaps, refreshing tonics and face masks and to avoid astringent and abrasive products. You should also do away with aggressive sponges or brushes for daily hygiene.
Hydration is a very important part of the treatment, since rosacea-prone skin presents an alteration of the epidermal barrier that makes it hypersensitive and extremely intolerant. Therefore, it is advisable to use products specifically formulated and tested for sensitive skin. Moisturisers rich in emollients and humectants help to maintain the stratum corneum and prevent the imbalance of the skin's barrier function.
One of the factors associated with rosacea is solar radiation. For this reason, the applying a sunscreen formula for sensitive skin daily is highly recommended, such as those for paediatric use, for example. The protection factor must be equal to or above 50.
And lastly, outbreak triggers should be avoided as much as possible:
- Exposure to the sun.
- Exposure to heat (wearing too many clothes day and night, long showers, saunas, etc.).
- Hot and/or spicy foods and drinks.
- Strong or cold winds.
- Chemical irritants.
- Intense physical exercise.
- Stress, anxiety.
- Some drugs: niacin, antihypertensives and topical corticosteroids.