Dermatology series: Rosacea
Many skin conditions don't threaten your health, but they can still be upsetting for sufferers and even cause deep-rooted emotional problems. One that is particularly problematic is rosacea, which is what we're tackling in this week's look inside the dermatologist office.
Rosacea is a common skin condition which affects one in ten people in the UK, but it can still be hard to diagnose. In fact, it's estimated that 30 per cent of people don't realise they have it or that it can be treated.
"Rosacea is an inflammatory skin condition that mainly affects the face. It causes the skin to flush and in more extreme cases to produce small, red pus-filled pustules. The exact cause of rosacea is unknown but it tends to affect fair skin people with Northern European ancestry and worsens with time if left untreated," Dr Gabriela at Aesthetics Lab (aestheticslab.co.uk) told Cover Media.
Usually the redness flares up across the cheeks, nose and forehead and it's especially prevalent in people over 40.
It's normal to blush sometimes, or have a red face if you've been exercising. But if your redness doesn't fade, you find you have visible blood vessels or your skin is thickening it's time to head to the dermatologist for help.
One of the best other things you can do is keep a diary to log when you are experiencing symptoms. This might help you identify triggers, and it's a case of the more information the better when it comes to seeing a doctor.
Dr Johanna Ward also advises being gentle with your skin - so effective cleansing and moisturising with products which are for sensitive skin. Also make sure you wear SPF at all times, even if it doesn't seem that sunny outside. This will help ensure your collagen doesn't start breaking down and stop your blood vessels getting inflamed, which can worsen the condition.
"Avoid harsh chemicals – products containing alcohol, fragrance or ingredients like sodium lauryl sulfate can irritate sensitive skin. Try a natural alternative like Dermalex Rosacea which is steroid, fragrance and paraben free and can be used in combination with other treatments," she explained.
"Go mineral – mineral make-up is breathable so that the skin’s pores don't get clogged and congested, helping to prevent flare ups."
On top of this, try cutting alcohol, caffeine and spicy food from your diet as these are known to contribute to the condition in some people.
"Although it is not an infection, dermatologists often use antibiotics (tablets and creams) to treat the condition with good results," Dr Walayat Hussain, Consultant Dermatologist, Nuffield Health Leeds Hospital, explained. "If the persistent redness associated with the condition is a major concern then lasers targeting the blood vessels may be used to help treat this."