While some pinch their cheeks for a natural flush or pile on the blush with reckless abandon, others are faced with a very different reality. Rosacea, characterized by chronic inflammation of the skin primarily on the cheeks, nose and forehead, leaves those who suffer from it perpetually seeking relief from redness (not to mention the acne, lesions, dryness and a host of other effects that often come with it). It’s frustrating, and the severity and frequency of flare-ups can range from very mild to extreme (thus making it difficult to get a handle on). In an effort to better understand the basics, we turned to trusted LA aesthetician and skin expert Kat Rudu. Here, she lays out some simple facts and key guidelines to follow for getting redness under control.
"There are four subtypes of rosacea. Subtype one is characterized by facial redness, flushing and visible blood vessels. Subtype two involves acne, breakouts and sensitivity. There can be pustules (small bumps that contain pus) and papules (small bumps that are hard), which are common among middle-aged women. Subtype three may cause swelling, fluid retention (called edema), thickening of the skin (particularly around the nose) and rapid redness of the face. Subtype four is characterized by redness and itchiness around the eyes, which can be very uncomfortable. The eyes get inflamed and swollen above the eyelids. This is called ocular rosacea."
"Look for a face wash with green tea, witch hazel and rose, which are calming. Also, a cleanser with rosemary extract and aloe vera (like my Coco Honey Papaya Enzymes Cleanser) deeply cleans the pores and clears the complexion without stripping or irritating. If your face is extremely itchy and you are experiencing a bad flare-up, you can make your own ultra-gentle cleanser with a few drops of rose or lavender essential oil and a freshly steeped and chilled chamomile tea. Bragg Organic Apple Cider Vinegar is also excellent—drench a cotton pad and gently pat some on your face.
For treating rosacea topically, use only natural, botanical products. Look for healing natural oils to calm and nourish the skin. H-Rosacea Formula is an excellent homeopathic blend of vitamin-rich oils. An organic, all-natural baby cream is also excellent as it is formulated for super-sensitive skin and contains no fragrance or additives. Organic hemp-seed oil is another great moisturizer.
I recommend using vitamin C topically, but it has to be the right formula and mixed with the right ingredients. A blend of hyaluronic acid and vitamin C, as in my Hydra Cell Vitamin C Serum, is beneficial as the vitamin C kills bacteria and the hyaluronic acid reduces itchiness and locks in moisture. It also balances the skin's pH levels."
"Unfortunately there is no instant miracle fix, however if someone is experiencing a bad flare-up, she can gently splash her face with cool water (not too cold) and pat dry for some relief. Also, drenching a cotton pad with Bragg Organic Apple Cider Vinegar and gently patting the face will calm irritation and reduce redness."
"A deep cleaning of the skin and pores is great for people who have rosacea. A treatment with lactic acid is ideal, as it helps kill germs and eliminate dead skin. For my clients, I use a chamomile compress to soothe the skin and give red-light therapy (which reduces inflammation) for 30 minutes. Massage is excellent for those suffering with subtype-one rosacea (not subtype two or three) as it enhances circulation and blood flow to the skin. Anyone with rosacea who is going to the spa should avoid saunas or hot tubs—heat is a tremendous irritant and will aggravate the skin."
"Stay away from skincare products with alcohol, which strips and irritates the skin. This includes [popular cleanser] Cetaphil—there is nothing gentle about it. Look for natural, talc-free mineral makeup that is free of harsh chemicals, parabens, phthalates, mineral oil, animal-derived ingredients, fragrance and artificial additives. Be sure to use only soft brushes when applying makeup."
"It's important to take a holistic approach to your lifestyle if you suffer from rosacea. Eat an anti-inflammatory diet rich in organic vegetables. (Eating organic limits exposure to pesticides and toxins that can cause inflammation.) Amp up your green-vegetable intake, as they are super alkalizing and support detoxification. It may be expensive to buy that green juice or wellness shot at your local health-food store, but if you do it just twice a week, it will help prevent the flare-ups. Ginger, broccoli, kale and collard greens in particular are great. Chlorophyll and turmeric are excellent for reducing inflammation. A daily dose of vitamin C and 800 milligrams of B12 will help to reduce occurrences. Nettle leaf is a plant that flushes out toxins and clears the complexion—300 milligrams three times daily is great for rosacea. Orange and yellow fruits provide carotenoids that ease inflammation and reduce redness. Consume healthy fats, including omega-3 fatty acids from avocado, flax, chia seeds and wild-caught salmon, all of which are anti-inflammatory. Grape-seed oil is another good addition, and be sure to take a daily probiotic.
Avoid butter or other saturated fats and dairy (particularly cow's milk) and instead use cold-pressed coconut oil. I recommend avoiding alcohol and shellfish, both of which cause inflammation. Avoid hot drinks and spicy foods as much as possible, as well as gluten. Stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water.
Stress is likely the number-one cause for flare-ups, especially in women. They have a higher risk of suffering from rosacea at 43 percent, while men have about 26 percent risk. Reduce hot showers, and splash your face with cold water after a shower. This will help reduce or eliminate flare-ups. Always protect your skin with natural, mineral-based sunscreens. Lastly, be sure to get plenty of sleep."