If you have rosacea, you're not alone—some 14 million Americans between the ages of 30 and 60 are afflicted with this inflammatory skin disease that causes redness and pus-filled facial bumps. Researchers are still learning about the causes of the condition, but some theories are beginning to evolve. You may be able to reduce the symptoms of rosacea by avoiding the common triggers of the disease and by making a few lifestyle changes.
Schools of Thought
Research suggests that rosacea is due to both environmental and genetic factors. One school of thought is that the condition is caused by a disorder of the blood vessels that causes them to swell, while another school holds that rosacea is caused by chronic infection with the H. Pylori bacterium, which attacks the gastrointestinal system. Yet another theory revolves around the belief that small mites live inside the hair follicles of the face and clog up the oil glands. While none of these theories can as yet be proven, it appears that most rosacea sufferers have incurred sun damage to their facial skin, so getting too much sun is at least a contributory factor in contracting the condition.
Some people think that drinking alcohol causes rosacea, but this is a proven myth. While a few drinks can cause your skin to flush and can make your rosacea worsen, teetotalers can and do get rosacea. In general, anything that increases the blood circulation to the outside layer of the skin can bring on a bout of rosacea. Here are some of the most common culprits:
Medications that dilate blood vessels, for instance, drugs used to control blood pressure
Drugs in the corticosteroid family
Eating very spicy foods
Hot tubs, saunas, very hot baths
Exposure to sun
Exertion, such as arduous exercise
Hot beverages and foods
Anger, embarrassment, or stress
Keeping a journal in which you record your daily activities and your symptoms may help you to pinpoint your personal rosacea triggers. Here are some tips on preventing an eruption of rosacea:
Protect your face from extreme cold by wearing a scarf or balaclava
Never rub or scrub your face
Don't use facial products containing alcohol or salicylic acid
Allow topical rosacea medication to dry before applying moisturizer or makeup.
Read labels and use noncomedogenic products that won't clog your pores
Wear layers to avoid becoming overheated