Whether you’re dealing with mild or severe redness, rosacea can be hard to treat. Although it’s chronic, that doesn’t mean it’s unbeatable. When redness, bumps, skin thickness and irritation have got you down and over-the-counter redness-reducers aren’t cutting it, experts say it’s time to take a combination approach.
Know Your Triggers
Recognizing what causes flare ups is step one to getting rosacea under control. “The list of things that can cause rosacea to flare is very long with some of the most common things being hot foods, spicy foods, caffeinated beverages, alcoholic beverages, including red wine, exercise, and emotional changes,” says Eagan, MN dermatologist Charles E. Crutchfield III, MD.
Knowing what to skip is crucial to keeping redness and inflammation at bay. To help you navigate triggers, visit the National Rosacea Society for an extensive list of foods that can cause flare ups and helpful skin-care guidelines to follow.
Try a Home-Grown Approach
According to Bloomfield Hills, MI dermatologist Linda C. Honet, MD, over the counter topical skin-care ingredients containing extracts of green tea, licorice and feverfew (daisy) can be soothing for their anti-inflammatory effects.
“Try growing aloe vera plants in your home if you’re prone to redness and rosacea. Aloe vera is very hardy and easy to care for, even if you do not have a green thumb,” adds cosmetic chemist and aesthetician Elina Fedotova. “It will provide you with a clean, hydrating, soothing, and free daily face mask. Cut a piece of the leaf in half, open it, and massage the gel onto your skin for five minutes at night before going to sleep.”
Do This When You Exercise
“Exercise is the only homeopathic/at-home treatment to ameliorate rosacea,” says Montclair, NJ dermatologist Jeanine Downie, MD. “Because it makes your face red, I tell my patients to drink ice water while they’re exercising to avoid another flare up.”
Try an FDA-Approved Prescription Topical
If you haven’t made the jump from OTC solutions to prescribed ones, Austin, TX dermatologist Ted Lain, MD says while there are many topical creams on the market, the recently FDA-approved Epsolay cream is one frustrated rosacea sufferers should try. “It’s 5% benzoyl peroxide that is micro-encapsulated, so it’s not irritating because it’s slowly being released onto the skin over 24 hours,” he explains. “The oil or sebum in your skin helps dissolve the micro-encapsulated benzoyl peroxide which then kind of seeps back out.” According to Dr. Lain, in two weeks you can expect 40 percent fewer blemishes on the face and by eight weeks there’s 70 percent fewer blemishes.
Get an IPL or BBL Treatment
“For redness and rosacea, it’s IPL, IPL, IPL,” says Baton Rouge, LA dermatologist Ann Zedlitz, MD. Intense Pulsed Light can be effective for treating the redness and flushing component by targeting blood vessels, which diminishes the vascular response. “I recommend three sessions of IPL to start and then depending on how severe it is, another treatment every four to six months.”
Boca Raton, FL plastic surgeon Jonathan Cook, MD also recommends Broadband Light (BBL). “Like IPL it targets dilated and broken blood vessels that cause flushing. They use whole range of wavelengths which is like turning on a flashlight and then putting on a filter that only allows certain colors or certain wavelengths of light to reach the skin. A series of treatments will reduce the redness of the affected area over time.”
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