What Factors Cause Rosacea?
It is estimated that one in ten people is afflicted with Rosacea, and while it is not a dangerous condition, it can be uncomfortable and very frustrating. Rosacea is a lifelong condition that tends to ebb and flow over the course of a person’s life. Rosacea has gathered more attention in recent years as dermatologists begin to understand more completely what triggers rosacea and how it can change over a person’s lifetime. In fact, it has become known that celebrities and famous figures, like Princess Diana and Bill Clinton, have dealt with the skin condition.
The first and most common sign of rosacea is when a person blushes or flushes faster or more severely than most people. This isn’t a guaranteed sign of rosacea (some people really do just blush more!), but it may be a symptom. Only a dermatologist can diagnose rosacea, even though there is no definitive test for it.
It’s Not All Rosy
Contrary to popular belief, rosacea isn’t always confined to the face. It’s most common in the cheeks, nose, forehead, and chin but can also impact the ears, chest, and back. Rosacea can come and go, or it can be chronically present. There are four types of rosacea:
Erythematotelangiectatic rosacea: Common signs include redness, blushing, and obvious blood vessels.
Papulopustular rosacea: Identified by redness, breakouts that look like acne and swelling in the affected areas.
Phymatous rosacea: With this type of rosacea, skin becomes bumpy and thick, especially around the nose.
Ocular rosacea: This form of rosacea is often initially misdiagnosed as a sty, as it shows primarily on the eyelids and around the eye area. Swelling and redness are common.
It’s best to learn how to manage rosacea so that symptoms do not become uncomfortable or problematic. When left untreated, a person can develop permanent redness of the skin. Knowing what causes rosacea is the first step in its management.
Are You Accidentally Irritating Your Rosacea?
People with English or Irish heritage over 30 years old are most likely to be afflicted with rosacea, but it can affect anyone of any age. Although there is no definitive cause of rosacea, dermatologists have a much better understanding of the condition and how to manage it thanks to better research in to the effects of lifestyle and diet on our skin.
One of the most common causes of rosacea is sun damage. Wearing sunscreen whenever you are outdoors and re-applying it every two hours is key in protecting your skin. Choose a product with at an SPF of at least 30, formulated to protect against both UVA and UVB rays. Dr. Lancer formulated his Sheer Fluid Sun Shield SPF 30 as a broad-spectrum sunscreen that also hydrates the skin without any heaviness or greasiness.
Skin with blood vessels very close to the skin’s surface is another common cause of rosacea. The likelihood of experiencing this type of rosacea is largely dictated by genetics and ethnicity. However a non-invasive laser therapy can help to reduce the appearance of broken blood vessels and overall redness. There’s no cure for rosacea, but educating yourself, making lifestyle adjustments, and finding the right products can make a big difference.
Avoid Unhealthy Cycles
About 14 million Americans have rosacea, and while it technically cannot be “cured,” it can be treated. It is well known that certain foods, especially dairy and spicy foods, are major rosacea triggers. Cutting these foods out of your diet one at a time can help patients trying to diagnose rosacea help to identify what may be causing their symptoms. In some cases, a dermatologist might prescribe antibiotics, which can offer relief from symptoms and improved aesthetics, but it’s not a permanent solution.
It’s common for patients dealing with rosacea to try to cover up their symptoms with thick foundations and powders. If you choose to cover your symptoms, Dr. Lancer recommends seeking a foundation that’s alcohol free or mineral-based. It’s also important to follow a skincare regimen formulated for sensitive skin to avoid stripping the skin of its protective moisture barrier.
Getting to the Nitty Gritty
There are a few other, more rare factors that can be contributing factors to rosacea. One such cause is the microscopic mite called Demodex folliculorum. These tiny parasites are a part of our naturally occurring skin biome, and they’re actually helpful in the shedding of dead skin cells. However, those with rosacea may be sensitive or even allergic to them.
A bacteria found in the gut, H. pylori, is also understood as a potentially antagonizing rosacea symptoms. It creates a protein called bradykinin, which causes blood vessels to dilate, which is thought to cause the flushing seen in skin. This is thought to be a potential cause of some rosacea cases.
Rosacea symptoms can also be caused by a variety of lifestyle triggers: There are also a number of potential triggers, hot foods and drinks, hot baths and steam rooms, caffeine, humidity, excessive exercise or stress, and corticosteroids are all known triggers. Alcohol can also exacerbate the symptoms as well as certain medications. Dr. Lancer recommends that patients seeking relief from their rosacea symptoms keep a journal, recording what you eat and do during the day to help discover potential triggers. Keeping a record of your skin’s symptoms can be helpful for patients visiting a dermatologist so that they can devise the best possible treatment plan for each individual patient.
If you do have rosacea, do not worry, you’re not alone. There are many approaches to managing the condition and addressing uncomfortable symptoms. If someone in your family has rosacea, you’re more likely to have it, too. Start considering triggers and making lifestyle changes—like improving your skincare regimen—to battle the condition. We recommend The Lancer Method®: Sensitive Skin as a way to work your way back to a natural, healthy, and rosy Lancer glow that you can be proud to show the world.
Dr. Lancer. Younger: The Breakthrough Anti-Aging Method for Radiant Skin. p. 127-144.
National Rosacea Society staff. “Demodex folliculorum.” National Rosacea Society. Web 15 Feb. 2016.
Nordqvist, Christine. “Rosacea: Causes, symptoms and treatment.” Medical News Today. 4 Feb. 2016. Web 15 Feb. 2016. <http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/160281.php>
Wheeler, Regina. “The H. Pylori-Rosacea connection.” Everyday Health. Web 15 Feb. 2016.