Redness and Rosacea Explained

Redness can affect everyone although is more common on those with fairer skin tones and/or those who are a little older. It’s one of my personal concerns and appears, as it does with many, on my cheeks.

What it is

Redness of the skin is exactly that: red, inflamed colouration on the skin. As well as looking red and inflamed, it can often feel irritated, hot, prickly and sensitive. Redness can either be occasional or persistent but should always be treated in the same way. Redness, although not exclusively so, is a presenting symptom of Rosacea. There are other causes and if you’re concerned, it’s always best to consult with your GP and seek a referral to a dermatologist.

Why it happens

Redness occurs when the skin becomes damaged and capillaries burst. The capillaries then heal and are larger and closer to the surface of the skin than they were before. As the blood flows through the capillaries, it’s more visible. This blood flow gives the feeling of heat, prickliness and sensitivity. The surrounding skin becomes dryer however the capillaries are inflamed and irritated by oil.

The cause of redness can either be genetic, environmental or diet. I’ve had flushed cheeks since I was a toddler and therefore like many, it’s hereditary. Redness can also be caused by sun damage or drinking alcohol, which increases the blood pressure and leads to more burst capillaries. A common symptom of alcohol abuse can be seen in the nose which can become very red and inflamed.

Rosacea

Rosacea, as well as presenting the symptoms described above, can also create under the skin spots. These spots are known as papules and are a collection of white blood cells under the skin that are due to the increased blood flow. They aren’t spots that can be squeezed out of the skin without the use of special tools.

How to treat it

Moisturise

This is a tough one and finding the right products is the key. Although the redness causes dryness and often depletes oil levels in the skin, it also reacts when you use products containing oil. I know right!

So, look for products that have a water base and contain fatty-acid, but oil-free ingredients such as shea butter (not in oil form) which has fabulous healing and soothing properties. Also actives such as red-algae extract, aiding in skin repair, as well as caffeine, a powerful anti-inflammatory. Make sure the products you use are hypoallergenic and fragrance free; removing any possible extra irritants.

Exfoliate

Don’t be alarmed by the title. Yes, you should exfoliate, but my word you need to be so ultra-gentle. Don’t use any manual exfoliators (beaded and grained) as these will only help to further stimulate blood flow to the skin’s surface. Instead, use very, very gentle chemical exfoliation but then immediately replenish any lost moisture. This should only be done a maximum of once a day, but depending on the severity of your concern, possibly less.

Professional Treatments

I’m not going to go into too much depth with this as the treatment route will differ depending on the nature and severity of your concern. Instead, book in with a reputable skin clinic where they’ll do a thorough skin analysis and recommend an appropriate treatment course. For many, this is often the best route.

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