#RosaceaCommunity ? One of you lovely people on Instagram asked me to create this hastag, so that she, along with those of us suffering from rosacea, are able to follow each other, share experiences, recommendations and hopefully that way feel more comfortable in our own skin.
However, the hastag has been around on Instagram since the end of 2018, so I certainly can take credit for it. Nonetheless, it’s such a great initiative and I’m happy to be able to spread the word.
April is Rosacea Awareness Month, so the timing couldn’t be better.
The global Rosacea Consensus Panel recommends “general skincare” as a fundamental management strategy for rosacea and it consists of the holy trinity:
1) Sun protection 2) Gentle skincare 3) Trigger avoidance (see my previous post on Rosacea Triggers)
SUN PROTECTION – SUN PROTECTION – SUN PROTECTION Exposure to sun is believed to be both an initiating and aggravating factor of rosacea ☀ And there seems to be a dose-response correlation between sun exposure and rosacea severity:
The severity of the erythemato-telangiectatic subtype correlates with the degree of sun exposure. In other words, the more you’re exposed to the sun, the worse your rosacea gets.
UV light sparks inflammation and oxidative stress leading to defects in the tiny blood and lymph vessels in the skin, which is what we see as telangiectasias (also called thread veins), chronic redness and the swollen skin.
I prefer to wear a hat as much as possible, stay in the shadow and use inorganic sunscreens (aka physical filters), SPF 50+ with a tint to knock back my chronic redness ?
What’s your preferred sun protection?
REFERENCES: 1) Schaller et al. “Rosacea treatment update: recommendations from the global ROSacea COnsensus (ROSCO) panel” Br J Dermatol 2017; 176:465–471 DOI 10.1111/bjd.15173
The mechanisms behind what triggers the development of rosacea are still poorly understood, however an unfavorable inflammatory immune response to the demodex mite (normally present in our skin) is considered to play a key role.
However, when rosacea is first present in the skin certain triggers can worsen the symptoms.
FLUSHING Specific triggers (see below) can lead to rosacea flushing, which is a transitory intensification of the redness, due to dilation of the tiny vessels in the skin, with a simultaneous burning and stinging sensation. An episode of flushing can last from minutes to hours, be painful and leave the skin sore.
I’ve divided potential triggers into external and internal triggers. What triggers flushing is different to each individual. And identifying them can be a lifelong quest.
EXTERNAL TRIGGERS Sun exposure (UV light) Alcohol Hot beverages Spicy foods Tobacco Certain skincare ingredients Friction on the skin (cleansing, applying products) Season changes (especially summer/winter) Heat, cold, wind
What are your triggers and how do you manage your flushings?
REFERENCES: 1) et al. (2018). Rosacea Triggers: Alcohol and Smoking. Dermatologic Clinics, 36(2), 123-126. DOI 10.1016/j.det.2017.11.007 2) Tan et al. Updating rosacea diagnosis to improve treatment strategy: Recommendations from the Global ROSacea COnsensus (ROSCO) panel. (2017). Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology, 76(6), AB275-AB275. DOI 10.1111/bjd.15122
Traditionally rosacea has been divided into 4 subtypes (listed below) but over the past 15 years significant new knowledge of the causes of rosacea, disease development and mechanisms have emerged. Thus, the global ROSacea COnsensus (ROSCO) panel concluded in their 2017 recommandations that classification of rosacea should be based on phenotype (= the present symptoms in the patient).
Some patients present only predominantly one or two features (e.g. redness, flushing and occasional papules) and others are affected by all the symptoms across the four subtypes during their life, but common for everyone with rosacea is the chronic central redness of the face.
DIAGNOSTIC FEATURES To set the diagnosis either of two has to be present 1) “Persistent centrofacial erythema associated with periodic intensification by potential trigger factors” (e.i. flushing) 2) “Phymatous changes” (skin thickening of the nose) Based on this new insight rosacea should be considered a spectrum of symptoms that can be present in varying degree in each individual, rather than classified as 4 fixed subtypes.
What symptoms are you mostly affected by?
REFERENCES: 1) Gallo RL, Granstein RD, Kang S et al. Standard classification and pathophysiology of rosacea: the 2017 update by the National Rosacea Society Expert Committee. J Am Acad Dermatol 2018; 78:148–55.
2) Tan, J & Almeida, L.M.C. & Bewley, Anthony & Cribier, B & Dlova, N.C. & Gallo, Rich & Kautz, G & Mannis, M & Oon, Hazel & Rajagopalan, Murlidhar & Steinhoff, Martin & Thiboutot, D & Troielli, P & Webster, G & Wu, Y & van Zuuren, Esther & Schaller, M. (2016). Updating the diagnosis, classification and assessment of rosacea: Recommendations from the global ROSacea COnsensus (ROSCO) panel. The British journal of dermatology. 176. DOI: 10.1111/bjd.15122
Rosacea is a common chronic inflammatory skin condition affecting the face primarily cheeks, nose, chin, central forehead and includes eye symptoms. It’s believed to be highly under-diagnosed, as mild to moderate cases can go on untreated without consulting a doctor.
SYMPTOMS It’s characterized by redness, flushing, inflammatory papules and pustules, telangiectasia (dilated blood vessels) and phymatous changes (thickening of the nose). Read more about subtypes here.
SENSITIVE SKIN People with rosacea often have inherently compromised skin barrier with increased transepidermal water loss and decreased epidermal hydration leading to dryness and sensitive skin.
IN NUMBERS 5.46% of adults are estimated to suffer from rosacea. Women & men are affected equally (contrary to previous knowledge). Typical onset age 30 to 65. Fair skinned people and familial disposition are more likely to get rosacea.
CAUSES The exact pathogenesis of rosacea is still unclear, however we know: Microorganisms, like the skin mite Demodex folliculorum and staphylococcus epidermidis, may contribute to development of rosacea by stimulating the innate immune system driving the inflammatory response causing the papules and pustules. Neurogenic dysregulation of the vessels in the skin may contribute to rosacea symptoms such as flushing and burning. Genetic heredity also plays a role.
REFERENCES: Gether. L et al. Incidence and Prevalence of Rosacea: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Br. J. Dermatol 2018 DOI: 10.1111/bjd.16481
Two AM et al: Rosacea: part I. Introduction, categorization, histology, pathogenesis, and risk factors. J Am Acad Dermatol. 72(5):749-58 DOI: 10.1016/j.jaad.2014.08.028
Gallo RL, Granstein RD, Kang S et al. Standard classification and pathophysiology of rosacea: the 2017 update by the National Rosacea Society Expert Committee. J Am Acad Dermatol 2018; 78:148–55.