3 expert ways to treat rosacea
The massively under-diagnosed skin condition can be a living nightmare for the estimated 1 in 10 UK sufferers. Our top 3 expert tips for treating it can help – redness be gone!
1 Avoid your triggers
‘I don’t drink hot drinks or eat spicy food and I avoid alcohol,’ says former Vogue beauty director Calgary Avansino, who has written extensively about living with the condition. ‘Rosacea is a cyclical problem and once it gets worse it’s hard to make it calm down. For me, it’s important not to have those triggers in your diet.’
But, as with any condition – it’s about what works for YOU. ‘GPs often suggest avoiding certain triggers such as exercising outside, hot showers or spicy food, but this can be demoralising. Be mindful of your triggers, but they shouldn’t rule your life,’ says Dr. Patterson.
2 Follow the light
Sound extreme? The logic is that if the veins are visible in the face, blood will flow into them and the redness will continue. ‘Intense Pulse Light therapy (IPL) is a physical treatment to remove inflamed blood vessels in the face, and therefore the blood supply,’ says Patterson. How does it work? ‘It sends a short pulse of light through the skin, which hits the red blood vessel and kills the vein, which is then reabsorbed by the body.’ It’s a relatively new option – unfortunately rarely prescribed on the NHS.
3 Smarten up your skincare
Your cleansers, toner and moisturizer could be making your rosacea worse. If you think you could be a rosacea sufferer, it’s essential to follow Dr. Patterson’s skincare rules.
Buy: Lipid-rich solutions: these repair the skin barrier and reduce sensitivity, which controls the inflammatory response causing the redness. Look for products rich in anti-inflammatories like azelaic acid and invest in an SPF you can wear daily, sun damage causes the blood vessels to form more branches and exacerbate the problem.
Bin: Glycolics or retinoids found in many ‘anti-ageing’ skincare lines. These worsen the skin’s already-poor barrier function. Avoid exfoliators, too; they rub away at the skin’s protective surface layer, disrupting the lipid membrane.
Dr Mervyn Patterson is a leading UK dermatologist and expert in the field of rosacea. He is a pioneer in the use of IPL laser therapy for treating rosacea at Woodford Medical.