“Rosacea does have a hereditary element,” says EV expert and Editorial Panel member, Dr Anna Hemming, who is a rosacea sufferer herself. “But there’s also a lifestyle link too.”
The condition is characterised by periods of remission and flare ups and, while some people can identify that certain things — stress, exercise, cold weather, alcohol, spicy foods, and even chocolate — can trigger flare ups, for others it just feels random.
Quite what causes it is not yet well understood. One school of thought associates it with auto-immune conditions, while another believes that it’s associated with an excess of a certain type of mite that lives on the skin. What we do know is that it’s something that affects you for life, so management is key.
That management may involve prescription creams including antibiotics, or ingredients designed to help clear oiliness, congestion and the resulting inflammation. Appropriate skincare — whether a daily routine that can try to help prevent a flare up, or fast-acting, soothing products that you can use to tackle a flare-up — is essential; there are also in-clinic treatments that can help manage some of the symptoms.
The best advice is to seek out a dermatologist who has experience of treating patients with rosacea.
“Professional and knowledgeable management is essential,” says Dr Hemming. “Intense treatment programs can irritate the skin terribly if your skin is not desensitised first. I prefer to treat barrier function before initialising rosacea treatment to control the oil in the skin and manage redness.”
Here are some of the solutions that your practitioner might recommend...
SKINCARE FOR ROSACEA
Avene AntirougeursThis Avene range is targeted at people who suffer from visible redness, whether or not that’s caused by rosacea. The key ingredient in the range is a patented active known as TRP-Regulin, which has been shown to be able to reduce stinging and burning sensations in the skin. The range, which starts at around £15, includes a cleanser, moisturisers, a mask and a serum.
CeraVe Moisturising Cream“Improving the barrier function of the skin can help minimise inflammation,” says Dr Hemming. That’s why a good daily moisturiser is essential. You want something that contains gentle but effective hydrating ingredients, such as glycerin and hyaluronic acid, and also something that is fragrance-free and so is less likely to cause further irritation. CeraVe ticks both those boxes, and also contains a ceramide complex specifically designed to help repair the skin barrier. From around £10.
Heliocare Mineral Tolerance FluidMost dermatologists would advocate that sun protection should be a cornerstone of any skincare regime, but as sunlight can be a trigger for rosacea, it’s particularly important for rosacea sufferers. Again, a fragrance-free option is preferred as fragrance can cause irritation or sensitivity, which is why Heliocare is a good option. Mineral-based sun creams are also less likely to aggravate the skin, so this lightweight lotion, which has been tested on sensitive skins, is a good pick and the manufacturers claim that it’s invisible, even on the darkest skins.
ZO Skin Health RozatrolDeveloped by a dermatologist with more than 35 years of experience in the industry, this medical grade skincare range (available through clinics and medical practitioners) is highly rated by experts. Rozatrol, designed especially for red and sensitised skin, is a favourite of Dr Hemming. “I love this soothing redness relief cream,” she says. “It increases exfoliation sensitively, calming the skin with advanced amino acid complexes and antioxidants that work to reduce inflammation and damage caused by daily oxidative stress.”
Exuviance Anti Redness Calming SerumThis scientifically-proven range of products created by two cosmetic dermatologists has products designed to tackle a range of skincare issues. This serum is recommended for daily use on rosacea-prone skin, because of its combination of ingredients which aim to soothe inflammation and reduce flushing, while helping to reinforce and strengthen the skin barrier to make it less sensitive and more resilient.
IN CLINIC TREATMENTS
HydrafacialAccording to Dr Anna Hemming, while she approaches each patient’s rosacea according to their presentation and expectation, she finds that often a combination of professional skincare (such as the ZO Skin Health products mentioned above) can be very effective in tandem with other in-clinic treatments, such as a HydraFacial. This treatment works by simultaneously cleansing the skin and nourishing it with specific actives. It’s a very gentle treatment and can help soothe some of the redness caused by rosacea.
ThermaVeinThread veins or spider veins often accompany rosacea, and they can exacerbate the redness that appears. However, they can be relatively easily treated with something like ThermaVein, which Dr Hemming often uses on suitable rosacea patients. Quick and painless, the treatment uses heat delivered via a tiny probe, to seal the walls of the thread vein, causing it to disappear. Results can be seen immediately and there is no downtime.
Laser Genesis and Excel V+Laser treatments can be a very effective way of treating the redness associated with rosacea. Dr Hemming uses these non-invasive lasers, which work by delivering heat to the lower levels of the skin where they can shrink blood vessels, break down scar tissue and stimulate collagen production, all of which can help improve the appearance of skin in rosacea patients. A small amount of initial redness can be expected but this usually subsides very quickly, and it’s considered a relatively quick procedure that doesn’t necessarily require numbing cream.
Anna Hemming, Aesthetic Doctor
Dr Anna Hemming MBChB BSc DFFP MRCGP is a highly respected and skilled aesthetic doctor working in London. Conference...Book with Anna Hemming