WHAT CAUSES ROSACEA?
One of the main reasons there have been such problems fnding a cure for rosacea is that no one knows, or at least not everyone agrees on, exactly what causes it. Many researchers think there’s a genetic component to the development of rosacea. Others believe that elevated levels of an inﬂammatory peptide called cathelicidin or high levels of an enzyme known as KLK5 in the skin’s uppermost layers play a role.
Let’s start with the lifestyle issues that can make rosacea worse. Basically, anything that causes a rush of blood to the face can be an issue. All of the following are triggers.
- Sun exposure.
- Hot climates.
- Heavy or strenuous exercise.
- Emotional stress (or just emotions in general).
- Specifc cosmetic ingredients, such as fragrant plant extracts or oils; various forms of mint and citrus; denatured alcohol, and witch hazel.
- Topical steroid creams and other topical medications that can thin the skin.
- Spicy foods, alcohol, coﬀee, or caﬀeinated teas, and hot beverages in general.
- Reactions to certain fabrics that might brush against your face, like wool or
textured, scratchy-feeling fabrics.
Rosacea Treatment Guide
That’s quite the lineup—and it’s not even the entire list. Although some triggers are more obvious than others, it’s hard to know what will spark a rosacea ﬂare-up for you, as it can diﬀer from case to case. What’s on the list above may or may not apply to you and there may be other things that do serve as triggers but that aren’t on our list. The variations of problems someone with rosacea may encounter is one of the stranger aspects of this disorder.
Because rosacea is an unpredictable skin disorder, with just about anything capable of setting it oﬀ or creating extreme sensitivity, it’s critical to assemble the most gentle skincare routine possible so as not to aggravate matters. All skincare products should be fragrance- and dye-free. “Fragrance-free” means avoiding fragrant plant oils, too, which surprisingly, and disturbingly, often show up in products labeled as being safe for sensitive skin. For example, lavender oil and citrus oils are definite no-nos due to the volatile fragrance components they contain!
A skincare routine for anyone with rosacea must do the following:
» Eliminate irritating or sensitizing ingredients, which may include otherwise benign ingredients not known to be irritating (but they are for your skin).
» Include calming products that reduce redness and soothe skin.
» Improve cell turnover to remove the buildup of dead skin cells.
» Protect from sun damage without causing irritation.
» Fight wrinkles with products containing antioxidants and skinrepairing ingredients.
» Absorb oil if skin is oily, but not to the point where skin becomes dried out.
» Provide a steady stream of barrier-repair ingredients to help skin become
more resilient, less reactive, and have a smoother surface.
As is true for everyone on the planet, using sunscreen is one of the most important steps in your skincare routine! Unprotected UV exposure makes rosacea worse, so be sure to apply a sunscreen every day that’s rated SPF 30 or higher to keep those damaging rays from harming your delicate skin.
Generally speaking, those with rosacea or sensitive skin should check the ingredient label when selecting a sunscreen. Ideally, you should use only sun-protection products whose active ingredients are titanium dioxide and/or zinc oxide. These mineral sunscreens are gentle and are the least likely to cause a stinging or burning sensation, both of which can worsen the redness and irritation you’re trying to minimize.
When it comes to enjoying time outdoors, don’t forget that sunscreen can’t do it all on its own. Consider sunglasses and wide-brimmed hats to further shield your face from UV radiation.
Here’s a step-by-step routine you can follow to try to get rosacea under control:
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