Rosacea (roh-ZAY-shuh) is an inflammatory skin disorder that affects an estimated 14 million people in the U.S. While many people don’t even realize they have this skin condition, rosacea appears as red and acne-like on the skin. It is most commonly found on the face. This is one reason why it is so important to address rosacea early—before it worsens, impacting both your self-esteem and self-confidence.
How to spot rosacea? Flushing, redness, and bumps across the nose, cheeks, chin, and forehead are all indications that you may have rosacea.
The first step in healing rosacea is to stop what causes flare-ups. Here are the 5 most surprising causes of rosacea inflammation.
1. Specific Foods
If you are chowing down on some late-night Thai food, you may want to reconsider. It is well-known that spicy dishes can case flushed cheeks, but it is clinically validated that hot sauce and other spicy foods cause flare-ups of rosacea.1
According to a survey of over 500 rosacea patients, these are other foods known to aggravate this troublesome skin condition: sausage, black pepper, barbeque, MSG (Monosodium glutamate), vinegar, mustard, garlic, onions, citrus, chocolate, (some) nuts, papaya, beans, tomatoes, and wheat germ. Additives, including benzoate, sulphites, nitrites, glutamate, and food dyes have also been linked to rosacea.2
Snow bunnies beware! That windy weather can really take a beating on dewy skin. Dry, windy weather conditions are known rosacea triggers, and cold temperatures only worsen it. If you suffer from regular bouts of wicked rosacea, invest in a gentle but powerful daily moisturizer to keep your skin hydrated.
One of the best ways to protect rosacea-prone skin when you are outdoors is to use a hyaluronic acid moisturizer. HA is a compound that keeps each skin cell hydrated to protect your skin from the inside out.
The sun is also something to protect yourself from, especially if you experience bouts of rosacea. Both UVA and UVB rays can trigger a short-term flare up and aggravate the condition. Always pack protection from inclement weather, especially if you have sensitive skin.
It smells oh-so-good – but that sweet perfume you’re spritzing may be triggering rosacea. And if you are using fragranced skin care products, stop! The United States Food and Drug Administration allows all types of chemical ingredients into products under the title of “fragrance” or “parfum.” However, the FDA does not regulate what those chemicals are because the exact ingredients are protected as trade secrets and therefore do not have to be disclosed on the label. (3)
That means there could be any one of over 3,000 chemicals like phthalates, parabens, and synthetic musks. Any one of them could be triggering your rosacea.
A run can cause flushing and redness that lasts for weeks. This is challenging news for people with rosacea who also enjoy vigorous exercise. During a breakout, follow these essential dos and don’ts of exercising:
· Do low-intensity or moderate workouts
· Don’t perform high-intensity workouts
· Do drink plenty of water
· Don’t exercise for more than 45 minutes
· Do break up your workouts into 15-minute segments
· Do exercise in well-ventilated room
5. Demodex Mites
These tiny little mites live on the skin of 20 – 80 percent of adults. They are so small, they cannot be seen by the naked eye. Until recently, scientists thought they were harmless. But now, researchers suggest that as they feed off of the sebum on your skin, they may be causing rosacea.4
The demodex mites are associated with a variety of microbacteria including Bacillus oleronius and Staphylococcus epidermidis, and it’s these tiny buggers that have been linked to rosacea. While antibiotics have always been used to treat this skin condition, no role for bacteria had previously been established. However, the results of new research suggest the possibility that rosacea is a bacterial disease resulting from an overgrowth of demodex mites.
Antimicrobial Peptides (AMPs).5,6
These antimicrobial agents are naturally produced in the body, and are hypothesized by researchers to be the first line of defense from your immune system in response to pathogens.
With an estimated 5,000 AMPs already discovered, scientists believe that these tiny proteins are the key to reducing the inflammation of rosacea. (7,8)
However, these can only be procured with a prescription. See your doctor or dermatologist. Rosacea is an irritating skin condition that affects millions of people. No matter what the cause is of your skin troubles, there are simple remedies that could be already inside of your kitchen cabinets. Some of the best DIY remedies for rosacea include flaxseed oil, zinc, probiotics, and Vitamin C. If the problem persists, check with your doctor for a more permanent solution.
1. Lynn Drake, M.D. Hot Sauce, Wine and Tomatoes Cause Flare-ups, Survey Finds. Rosacea Review. Fall 2005.
2. Lynn Drake, M.D. Survey Says Pack the Picnic Basket Without the Spicy Foods. Rosacea Review. Summer 2003.
4. Potential role of Demodex mites and bacteria in the induction of rosacea. Stanisław Jarmuda, Niamh O’Reilly. J. Med. Microbiol., November 2012 61: 1504-1510.
5. John Jesitus. Knowledge of pathways key to developing new rosacea therapies. Dermatology Times. January 31, 2013.
6. James Q. Del Rosso, DO, Ted Rosen, MD. Status Report from the Scientific Panel on Antibiotic Use in Dermatology of the American Acne and Rosacea Society. J Clin Aesthet Dermatol. 2016 Jun; 9(6): 17–24. 2016 Jun 1.
7. Zhao X., Wu H., Lu H., Li G., Huang Q. Lamp: A database linking antimicrobial peptides. PLoS One. 2013;8:e66557. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0066557.
8. Radek K, Gallo R. Antimicrobial peptides: natural effectors of the innate immune system. Semin Immunopathol. 2007 Apr; 29(1):27-43.