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The Truth About Rosacea: Why It’s So Hard To Treat

It’s crucial to care for rosacea-prone skin as persistent flare-ups can eventually result in permanent redness and, in some instances, the development of thickened skin, especially on the nose. The challenge lies in the abundance of conflicting information on rosacea. We consulted with two of our Dermal Clinicians to understand why this is the case and to explore potential solutions.

“Treating rosacea can be difficult because every case is so different,” says Senior Clinician Kirsten Tiplady. During a flareup, she explains, symptoms can vary greatly between people, so you may have any one (or more) of the following symptoms; redness, blotchy skin, irritation, itching, burning sensation, dryness, flakiness, pimples and/or mild swelling.

You may read on one website that Vitamin B3 (Niacinamide) can help soothe rosacea, while other experts will advise against going anywhere near it during a flareup. This is because Vitamin B may be soothing for some people with rosacea but irritating for others. “You really have to treat each person differently,” says Kirsten.

Essentially, rosacea is an inflammatory condition, so caring for it means bringing the inflammation down in a way that works for your skin. Kirsten advises that you should keep your skincare simple during a flareup. Use a gentle cleanser and a soothing moisturiser, and don’t exfoliate too often. Products with aloe vera can be soothing, but you have to be careful as some aloe gels you purchase at the pharmacy contain potentially inflammatory ingredients like alcohol.

Serums that contain Vitamin C, Vitamin E, Aloe or Sea Buckthorn can soothe rosacea for some people and help bring down redness. For others, any vitamins can contribute to a flare-up, so proceed with caution. We would advise clients to speak with a Dermal Clinician as they see plenty of cases of rosacea and will have an idea of what to look for when assessing flare-ups and making recommendations.

We may recommend a serum, but it depends on your skin. Products that help some of our rosacea patients include Rejuvaus cleansers or Bright & Correct Niacinamide Serum, which has soothing Vitamin B5 (Panthenol) but these can vary depending on the nature of your symptoms.

Professional treatments will vary between patients as well. “If a client comes in and their skin is very red and angry, or broken out, we’ll usually start them with PhotoTherapy to bring down inflammation and to calm and strengthen the skin,” explains Clinical Manager Ann-Marie Kennedy, “for skin that is very flushed but non-inflamed, we can often treat it with Deep Rejuvenation treatments, i.e. Laser Genesis, which is a cutting-edge treatment for rosacea that employs non-invasive laser technology to address the underlying causes of the condition. The controlled heat stimulates collagen production, promoting skin regeneration and reducing the appearance of redness over time. Laser Genesis not only provides immediate relief but also fosters long-term improvement in skin texture and tone. This non-ablative laser treatment is known for its effectiveness in promoting a rejuvenated complexion while minimising discomfort, making it a promising solution for individuals seeking lasting relief from rosacea symptoms. Then for some patients, a peel can be beneficial, but it really depends on their symptoms.”

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Rosacea has also been linked to gut health, which is known to influence inflammation elsewhere in the body. Ann-Marie Kennedy and Kirsten often discuss diet and probiotics with their patients. Foods with omega-3 fatty acids can help reduce inflammation in the body, including flaxseeds, salmon or anything rich in zinc (such as pumpkin seeds or kale).

Foods that have anti-inflammatory properties include asparagus, blueberries, cauliflower, celery, cucumber, grapes, nuts, turmeric and leafy greens.

Many of us are familiar with probiotic foods (such as yogurt, sauerkraut and kombucha) but we’re also now realising the importance of prebiotics for your skin. Prebiotics are non-soluble fibres that act as food for the healthy bacterial cultures in your gut. You can get them from bananas, leeks, asparagus, kale, lentils and whole grains like oats and barley.

Foods to avoid might include sugar, white flour, processed meats, and for up to half the population of people with rosacea, alcohol.

The most important thing to remember is that you’re unique, so you need to figure out what works for you. The National Rosacea society has a rosacea diary that can be helpful for finding your triggers, and you can always book a complimentary consultation with one of our expert Clinicians, too.

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We are located in Barangaroo, Chatswood and Sydney CBD

The content & media published on our website is for informational purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice and should not be relied on as health or personal advice. Any surgical or invasive procedure carries risks, and results of cosmetic procedures will vary.

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