A gym class, a hot curry, or one too many glasses of red wine, can sometimes leave you a little bit red in the face. But there’s a significant difference between the occasional blush and permanent flushing.
If your cheeks and nose are chronically red, you might have rosacea.
Rosacea is an extremely common inflammatory skin condition. According to the American National Rosacea Society, 415 million people worldwide suffer from it.
Rosacea (pronounced row-zay-sha) presents as a persistent, homogenous red flush to the cheeks, visible blood vessels on surface of the skin, or visible red blood vessels that branch across the face. (many of these superficial little blood vessels in one area are known as telangiectasia)
The inflamed skin can become pustular, often being mistaken for adult acne.
In addition to redness, the skin can also be hypersensitive and display itching, burning, stinging, sensitivity, tightness, tenderness, and general discomfort.
The exact cause is unknown, though genetics, as well as sensitivity to mites and bacteria that live on our skin, can play a role. It is believed there is a complex interplay of hereditary, vascular, immunologic, and environmental factors, including possible ‘neurovascular dysregulation.’ (the regulation of blood flow that is not adapted to the needs of the respective tissue.)
Some research into rosacea suggests that a type of bacteria in the gut known as helicobacter pylori, triggers the immune system to expand blood vessels and cause swelling and redness beneath the skin, thereby causing rosacea. So, gut health is something to monitor and maintain!
UV exposure may also play a role in triggering the skin condition.
Rosacea most often involves the central face (nose, cheeks, forehead, chin) but can also spread to the ears, neck, chest, and back.
Women and men can be affected, but it is more commonly seen in women with lighter skin types. It usually develops after the age of 30.
Many rosacea sufferers report significant social, occupational, and psychological concerns as a result of the condition, affecting their self-confidence and self-esteem, especially in social and professional circumstances. This resulting stress and anxiety can also serve as a trigger, thereby increasing the severity of flare-ups.
The good news is that, while the cause of rosacea is undetermined, we do know many triggers that can exacerbate the flushing. Common triggers include sun exposure, alcohol, spicy foods, temperature fluctuations, and stress. The manifestation, triggers, and treatments vary widely from person to person, so working out the best possible treatment and lifestyle changes is important.
Rosacea can be treated through various methods, ranging from topical treatments to laser therapy. All treatments need to have anti-inflammatory, anti-allergic, antibacterial or anti-parasitic properties.
Sometimes short term oral medications such as antibiotics are required, especially when the rosacea becomes pustular.
Laser and light therapies have become very successful using vascular lasers and intense pulsed light devices. (IPL) They target the haemoglobin in the blood vessels that are responsible for the flushing and reduce redness and damaged capillaries.
If rosacea symptoms become severe and unmanageable, it’s advised to seek medical advice.
In terms of topical medical preparations which are effective, there are a whole host of suitable actives to use such as niacinamide, azelaic acid and sulphur.
We know that topical steroids are regularly prescribed for inflammatory skin conditions which help with symptoms, but they often cause longer term skin damage and thin the skin. They are appropriate for short term emergencies!
Soothing skincare is always ideal to compliment any medications and other treatment. Topical CBD, for instance, in a face cream, is usually the preferred method for addressing skin irritation. The product is immediately absorbed and reacts with the cannabinoid receptors in the epidermis.
CBD inhibits enzymes that cause inflammation, specifically an eicosanoid enzyme called COX2.
It helps to target inflammation and discomfort at the source, thereby providing the quickest and most effective relief. The Goodleaf skincare products also include other nourishing and soothing ingredients that can help to protect and strengthen the skin barrier for increased comfort.
Overactive oil glands and bacteria can build up to product acne and exacerbate rosacea pustules. CBD is a natural compound which has antimicrobial, anti-acne and antipruritic qualities.
CBD binds to the vanilloid receptors on sensory nerves to moderate the sensation of pain. One of the characteristics of rosacea is a burning, stinging sensation on the skin, making it incredibly uncomfortable. CBD therefore works as a powerful pain reliever.
As anxiety and stress are suspected triggers of rosacea and common symptoms, many people reach for CBD for its calming and relaxing benefits. The CBD effects on managing stress not only supports symptoms from flare-ups but can also be a viable preventative treatment.
A study published in 2015 found that CBD can be used as a potential treatment for anxiety-related disorders by increasing levels of a neurotransmitter in the brain called GABA. GABA counteracts the physiological stress response and promotes relaxation.
Consuming CBD products such as the Goodleaf CBD oil drops would be an ideal way to treat stress and anxiety. Consuming CBD oil sublingually (under the tongue) allows it to bypass the digestive system and enter the bloodstream faster through the network of micro-capillaries.
So whilst rosacea remains a complex inflammatory skin condition with numerous unknowns, we do know that CBD ingredients continue to calm, soothe and repair many of its symptoms. Rosacea often requires life-long management and CBD remains your go-to!
Sarah Daly is a dermal aesthetic therapist and salon owner with over 20 years experience in treating every skin type and skin concern.