If you have skin that is easily irritated, red, bumpy, or flushes easily, you may suspect that you have sensitive skin or a condition called rosacea.
What is rosacea?
Rosacea is a chronic skin condition that affects the face, and causes redness, visible blood vessels, flushing, acne-like bumps, and dry flaky skin. In severe cases, there can be swelling, thickened skin, and bumpy bulbous growths especially on the nose or chin.
It often occurs in adults older than 30 years, and is more common in people of Northern European or Irish descent, although people of other ethnicities can also suffer from rosacea. Many will also have a family member with the same condition.
What is sensitive skin and how is it different from rosacea?
People with sensitive skin may also have redness and dry, flaky skin; however, sensitive skin is different from rosacea. Sensitive skin may feel itchy or stinging, but will not usually have visible blood vessels, flushing, or acne-like bumps as seen in rosacea.
Sensitive skin is often triggered by certain items such as skincare, makeup, or fragrances, which can cause itch and/or redness. The symptoms usually ease once the trigger is removed.
For rosacea, the redness is usually persistent for more than 3 months, but can also be triggered by things such as sun exposure, hot weather, exercise, spicy food, alcohol, or stress.
What can I do to treat sensitive skin or rosacea?
Although the two conditions are different, the basic philosophy of treatment is similar.
It is important to choose skincare that strengthens the skin’s intrinsic moisture barrier and that does not trigger sensitivity. In general, non-fragranced products are recommended. Use mild non-foaming cleansers, and hydrating moisturisers which soothe the skin and create a protective barrier. Mineral sunscreens containing zinc oxide are recommended over chemical sunscreens.
Some skincare ingredients for brightening – such as vitamin C, glycolic acid, and retinol – may make the skin more sensitive, and may not be suitable for people with rosacea or already sensitive skin. If your skin condition does not improve despite following this skincare advice, you may wish to consult a doctor as medication may be prescribed to treat your condition. Certain aesthetic treatments such as BBL and Pro-yellow laser can also aid in reducing redness and visible blood vessels in rosacea.