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Are You Having Acne Rosacea?

When our skin is sensitive and reacts poorly to anything it comes in contact with, it’s only natural to want to get to the root of the problem. While identifying pimples can seem like a piece of cake, there’s a good chance you could be mistaking the red breakouts around your cheeks and chin as acne vulgaris instead of acne rosacea – a more serious, persistent, and chronic skin inflammatory condition. 

In this article, we cover the basics of this skin disease, its potential triggers, and treatments that may help you maintain remission. Let’s dive right in! 


What Is Acne Rosacea?

Most people think rosacea is simply redness. While this is true, there’s a little more to this condition that can present itself in varying ways depending on the individual. Besides facial redness, rosacea can also sometimes entail bumps and broken blood vessels on the nose, chin, cheeks, as well as forehead. When not properly treated, it can become more noticeable in the form of cysts, dilated blood vessels, eye irritation, and small red bumps containing pus – which is otherwise known as acne rosacea. However, unlike acne vulgaris, rosacea is not accompanied by blackheads or clogged pores. The redness associated with acne vulgaris is also contained to the area around the pimple while rosacea typically covers a larger area on the face. 

It is more common among females, but typically more severe in men. While fair skinned individuals are more likely to be diagnosed with this skin disorder, persons of colour have also been known to experience it. Acne rosacea generally presents itself following the age of 30 and grows to become more prevalent with age. While there is no known cure for this skin disease, treatment of rosacea begins with first identifying any environmental, dietary, or lifestyle triggers that may be causing flare-ups.


What are some Acne Rosacea triggers?

Essentially, triggers are anything that causes your skin to flare up. Ignoring your triggers or refusing to treat rosacea leads to worse – and often more painful, outcomes. So, if you’re wondering why you experience persistent blushing or flushing in the central part of your face along with pus-filled bumps, the answers to your question could very well be any of the following; 

  • Emotional stress, anxiety, or fear
  • As one of the more well-known and largely documented triggers leading to flare ups, stress, anxiety, and other emotions that activate the sympathetic nervous system can often also increase your skin’s inflammation. More severe flares can sometimes be attributed to long-term stress or an extremely stressful life event.

  • Genetic
  • In most situations, rosacea is caused by genetics. When the sufferer has family members with this condition, they are much more likely to develop it as well. While this is not always the case, studies imply that people with rosacea are four times more likely to have someone in their family tree with the same disorder

  • Environmental factors (E.g., coldness, wind, dust, heat, and sun exposure)
  • Another more common trigger includes exposure to extreme temperatures. A humid environment, heat, chill, and strong winds can easily result in flare-ups, bringing a flushed appearance to the surface of your skin. Unprotected sun contact is especially known for its rosacea-inducing abilities. This is because heat is capable of raising your body’s temperature, which then causes its blood vessels to dilate, leaving you with inflamed skin. 

  • Alcohol, spicy foods, hot drinks, and dairy
  • It's true that alcohol makes rosacea symptoms far worse for some people, but it's not a definite cause for every rosacea sufferers. However, if your skin is prone to inflammation and redness following a couple cups of liquor, you might want to be particularly watchful of red wine. While looking flushed after a glass or two can happen to even the best of us, those with this skin condition are likely to be more susceptible to the negative effects of alcohol.

    Spicy foods and hot drinks that warm up the body may also trigger a flare-up. The reason why these foods aggravate your symptoms is because of a compound called capsaicin which gives food heat. Reducing the intake of certain spices like pepper in your diet can limit food-related flare-ups. 

    Dairy is a good source of vitamin D and calcium, but it's also an inflammatory food. If you start noticing increased facial redness and swelling with dairy consumption, you might want to try limiting quantities of yogurt, milk, and cheese. Reducing or removing milk-based foods from your diet may lead to lesser outbreaks.

  • Demodex mite
  • Demodex folliculorum is a type of parasitic mite commonly found on our skin. As alarming as that sounds, it is in fact quite normal.  Most of the time, these mites are harmless and even go unnoticed. However, larger numbers of these creepy crawlies can result in unwanted symptoms and skin problems, like rosacea.


    How Is acne rosacea treated?

    Depending on the severity of your condition, there are many ways to support your skin in order to control as well as reduce the signs and symptoms of rosacea.

    Here are some of our top recommendations;

  • Gentle skincare
  • Those with rosacea typically have more sensitive skin. This is why it’s recommended to keep your daily skincare routine as simple and gentle as possible. Avoid overusing your AHAs and BHAs such as salicylic acid, glycolic acid, as well as lactic acid. The last thing you want to do is further aggravate your skin. So, make sure to also steer clear of using too much witch hazel. Exfoliate once a week and always keep your skin hydrated. Skipping your moisturizer is more likely to lead to flare-ups rather than not! 

  • Azelaic acid 15% gel
  • This ingredient is a well-liked over-the-counter product for its ability to clear the bumps, lesions, and swelling caused by rosacea. Dermatologists often prescribe a medicated dose of this antibacterial in severe cases of this skin disorder due to its suitability for sensitive skin. This FDA-approved ingredient is also safe for daily use and doesn’t cause any of the dryness or irritation rosacea patients often associate when using other acne topicals like retinoids. 

  • Soolantra and KYLN Maskne Toner
  • Soolantra is brand-name prescription medication with dual anti-inflammatory and anti-parasitic properties. This cream contains an active drug called ivermectin that is effective at not only reducing inflammation, but also killing Demodex mites. Applying a thin layer of this FDA approved cream to your entire face, once daily can help improve papule and pustule breakouts. 

    Alternatively, you could also try our KYLN Maskne Toner. Free of alcohol and fragrance, this all-natural product has antibacterial properties that contribute both to its acne-fighting capabilities and its efficiency at calming distressed skin to prevent inflammation. This anti-inflammatory benefit is also what makes the KYLN Maskne Toner useful for those with rosacea. Gentler than many other active ingredients, this NZFSA-certified product offers you 24-hours protection against the overgrowth of bacteria or yeast in your pores that lead to acne, and in some cases, rosacea. Also, if you’re looking for a pregnancy safe option, this organic toner is the better bet among the two options presented. 

  • Antibiotics and low dose Doxycycline
  • Prescribed oral antibiotics such as tetracycline, minocycline, and erythromycin tend to provide quicker anti-inflammatory results than topical ones. In fact, users report fewer acne-like breakouts within just one month. Once the worst of your symptoms are under control, you can then opt for another treatment such as a low-dose doxycycline to maintain these results and prevent antibiotic resistance. 

  • Brimonidine and Oxymetazoline
  • Both these topical treatments work to constrict blood vessels. They are used specifically to reduce the redness from rosacea, but can only last for a limited period. Possible side effects include rebound erythema, which are cases where your redness worsen and is accompanied by a burning sensation. If this happens, stop using the products immediately and contact your dermatologist.

  • Isotretinoin (Accutane)
  • This oral medication is commonly used to treat severe acne or rosacea inflammation. As a powerful drug that inhibits the production of oil by the sebaceous glands, Isotretinoin is also particularly effective at slowing down rhinophyma (red, bumpy, and bulbous nose as a result of severe rosacea), especially among younger people with less advanced versions of the skin disease. Side effects may include birth defects, so this option may not be suitable for females who are or may become pregnant during medication usage.

  • Lasers
  • Laser treatments are a good alternative to the medications doctors usually prescribe for rosacea. They are effective in fighting the inflamed patches on your skin – but only if you’re willing to pay a fair price for it. Costs for these treatments can be expensive and often require multiple sessions at monthly intervals, with each one varying in cost. You may even need to repeat the treatment once every year or couple of years for maintenance. 

    With other more affordable options out there, make sure to first try them before scheduling for a laser appointment. Keep in mind that more expensive may not necessarily mean the best choice. There could be other solutions or combinations of treatments that could work just as well for your skin at a more reasonable price tag.

  • Facial treatment
  • If you wish to avoid prescription medication and lasers, certain facial treatments can help provide relief from the constant redness and inflammation that comes with rosacea. Anti Rosacea Facial is one such option that utilizes natural ingredients such as French rose, seaweed, green tea, and licorice to help ease all microcirculation problems ranging from Couperose, to Erythrose, Erythrocouperose, as well as Rosacea. Along with the ability to deliver vaso-constricting and excess sebum production results, this facial will leave your distraught skin visibly soothed after a session and your rosacea can be put under-controlled after few sessions. 


    Dealing with acne rosacea can often be difficult and even confidence crushing – especially when nothing seems to be working or when the flushes and redness return with a vengeance after months of absence. But remember to always treat your skin with respect and love – you deserve nothing less! 

    [updated 1 April 2022]

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