Flushing, dilated blood vessels, redness, swelling and adult acne. Rosacea sure likes to leave its mark, and if you’re one of the 16 million people plagued with this chronic skin condition, you’re certainly not alone. The sad part is that most people suffer in silence and so few people really understand what causes rosacea and what may be done to treat it. Accordingly to the National Rosacea Society, 75% of people with rosacea feel it has affected their self-esteem and made them feel uncomfortable. The only way to change that is to learn what aggravates it and how we can minimize symptoms: rosacea is a manageable condition and life’s too short to let it continue to wreak havoc on your skin.
So what’s there to know?
You’re more likely to have it if you’re Caucasian and a woman.
That’s right. Data reveals that women are one in three times more likely to suffer from rosacea (as if we didn’t have enough to worry about!) primarily between the ages of 30-50. It is most common among those with fairer skin.
There are four sub-types.
Not all rosacea is created equal. Some rosacea sufferers experience simple flushing and redness, others redness combined with pimples, ocular rosacea affects the eye area (stinging, irritation and redness) and a thickening form of rosacea (called phymatous) is more common in men and can lead to a bulbous skin build up around the nose.
So what causes it?
There is no one cause but hereditary factors, immunity health and a strong histamine response are believed to be part of the story. There is also a subtype of the condition that is believed to be aggravated by steroids such as those found in nose sprays.
We should also mention the mites.
Before you run for the hills, know that we all have microscopic parasitic mites living in our hair follicles called demodex. The challenge with rosacea is that the number of mites found on the skin can be up to four times the ‘normal’ range. The result is plugged follicles and sebaceous glands which aggravates acne and other signs of inflammation. So, if your rosacea really bugs you, it’s a valid complaint!
What about rosacea triggers?
You’ve probably heard that rosacea is more likely to be ‘triggered’ by certain lifestyle factors, and that is absolutely the truth. Common culprits include spicy foods, alcohol, caffeine, extreme temperatures and sun exposure. Of course, everyone has different and unique triggers that need to be managed so you may not have to give up on your morning joe. Most physicians will recommend keeping a diary tracking when symptoms flare. It’s the only way to find out what’s impacting you.
The good news?
With the professional help available today there are many amazing treatments available for rosacea. The best approach is generally multi-faceted.
— Good skincare (using mild cleansers and quality ceramide-based moisturizers) can go a long way towards minimizing skin aggravation. Avoid sun exposure as much as possible and always wear a broad-spectrum physical sunscreen (think: titanium dioxide and zinc oxide).
— Some vascular light therapy can help with dilated blood vessels and redness (see intense pulse light treatment, IPL).
— For anyone suffering from the more acne-based rosacea, peels with azelaic acid and the short-term use of antibiotics like tetracycline can have a big impact.
— Ivermectin is known for reducing inflammation and helping to killing those pesky demodex mites from continuing to wreak havoc on your skin.
How can compounding—Bespoke Rx—help?
For those who already know about the beauty of bespoke Rx, compounding allows for medications to be completely catered to you and your needs. A compound may combine all needed medication into one bottle!
For example, an effective compounded medication for rosacea may:
— Include 1% ivermectin (to destroy overabundant demodex mites) PLUS incorporate zinc pyrithione and niacinamide to soothe and restore inflamed skin.
— Be calming and (even) anti-aging to make it tolerable as a topical medication—often without steroids.
— May be less expensive than the out-of-pocket difference you may be paying for commercial medication equivalents.
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