What Causes Rosacea And Other Inflammatory Skin Conditions?
The term “dermatitis” simply means inflammation of the skin, and these conditions have that characteristic in common; they also are aggravated by the sun and further inflammation. The exact cause of all these inflammatory skin conditions remains unclear. Rosacea often starts as temporary flushing that evolves into chronic, abnormal redness of the nose and cheeks. Eczema may be caused by an allergy and is characterized by itchy and scaling patches. Seborrheic dermatitis is similar to eczema, and stress may play a role in its eruption.
How To Prevent Rosacea And Other Inflammatory Skin Conditions
Rosacea has a genetic component and is a chronic condition that is managed, rather than cured. Prevention involves avoiding the aggravating factors such as sun overexposure, using sunscreen, and otherwise avoiding things that “traumatize” the face. For example, in those with rosacea, the skin looks more red after being in a hot environment or drinking alcohol because in both cases, the blood vessels dilate and more blood goes to the surface of the face. By themselves, however, heat and alcohol do not cause rosacea.
If your face is always red I suggest you see a dermatologist who can diagnose you with rosacea or some other inflammatory skin condition.
Topical And/Or Oral Treatments
Those with proneto dermatitis, or red blemishes, should avoid irritating topical preparations, especially those with fragrances and astringents or with heavy botanical content.
Since these conditions are characterized and aggravated by inflammation and sun, anything that can reduce inflammation will be helpful. Topical anti-inflammatory products that also moisturize and contain ingredients such as green tea, aloe vera, allantoin, and niacinamide may provide some relief in any of the above conditions. If seborrheic dermatitis or eczema is diagnosed, then topical prescription–strength steroids to reduce the redness can be helpful.
With rosacea, an underlying bacterium is responsible for or at least aggravates the condition, and a prescription topical antibiotic gel is frequently used and seems to work to a degree in a majority of patients. However, we’ve found that the improvement is modest and I end up treating all my rosacea patients with lasers. When used as a topical serum rubbed on the skin’s surface, Vitamin C has shown some impressive results in reducing inflammation in the skin. However, the Vitamin C must be delivered to the skin in the exactly right format to be effective. In addition, Vitamin C, even the effective form, may be deactivated to an impotent version if exposed to light, which makes it inappropriate to package a Vitamin C product in a clear bottle. This vitamin is fragile in other ways, too, so packaging must be considered to make sure it is not deactivated. Some of these concerns may be overlooked, even in the high-end cosmetic lines.
On the other hand, some brands, including a widely available product called Cellex C, have been used in studies and showed effectiveness in reducing inflammation and perhaps even aging. They may be an appropriate treatment for some people.
Procedures and Other Treatments
Currently, the treatment of choice for most red blemishes, including rosacea, is light-based therapy, including lasers and intense pulse light devices (See Part IV, Lasers). These treatments bring fast, impressive results, but in the case of rosacea need to be repeated. Most of my patients go through a series of treatments – usually three separated by one month each – before experiencing extended relief for periods as long as a year.