April is Rosacea Awareness Month (designated by the National Rosacea Society) and our doctors have been posting information on social media sites this month to help patients understand what rosacea is and how to deal with it. Along with what they can do for you, we, as medical estheticians provide the key to removing the visual effects rosacea has left behind.
Rosacea Awareness Month may only be 30 days long, but if you have rosacea, then you know it is a life-long struggle in coping with the effects that rosacea has on your skin. Mild symptoms such as easy flushing and a few broken capillaries are annoying but tolerable, whereas intense symptoms such as skin sensitivity, stinging and burning, or broken vessels across the face, or pimples and pustules, are often more intolerable and can play havoc not only on the skin, but on your mental and emotional health as well.
While mild cases can be treated with a topical prescription medication (several good options from your dermatologist), a quality moisturizer and proper sun protection, the more intense cases may need all of the above and a whole lot more. Active moisturizers such as ZO Rosatrol actually help to calm the skin as well as hydrate. SkinMedica carries an amazing sunscreen that helps to lower the temperature of the skin to prevent flushing, as does the Phyto mask from Skinceuticals. A cream or milk cleanser is ideal to prevent water loss and exfoliators have to be very specific in order for a rosacea skin to tolerate them well.
But here’s the thing: medications, moisturizers and sunscreen will help to calm the skin and reduce flare-ups, but they won’t remove the redness if the capillaries are already broken. That is where we come in. Once the vessels are visible on the skin, the only way to remove them is through laser or light therapy. We are talking about lasers or BBL (IPL) photorejuvenation and sometimes a combo of them.
After a proper assessment with your medical esthetician, and under the supervision of your dermatologist, we choose the best means to treat the visible vessels and reduce flushing. For most patients it can take approximately 6 treatments about a month apart to get the best results, along with proper home skincare, of course. Because rosacea is something that you have for life, we also suggest 1-2 treatments every year to prevent accumulation of new vascularity. On the plus side, it has been clinically proven that both BBL and lasers stimulate collagen production. So, while treating the redness and vessels of rosacea, there is the added benefit of anti-aging effects as well. In fact, many patients who don’t even have rosacea will do exactly the same treatments just for the collagen stimulation benefits alone.
And keep in kind that those who suffer from rosacea are lacking a proper moisture barrier, which prevents the skin from holding onto water. With new collagen being created, not only are we reducing the current vessels, but we are preventing a surge in new broken vessels because the skin will be more hydrated and therefore less sensitive and reactive.
If you have, or feel you may have rosacea, the first step is to come and see one of our dermatologists for assessment. It is important to determine what type of rosacea you have as well as its severity. It is important to know that topical or oral medications will calm and help to prevent new flare-ups, but understand that to clear up the damage that has already taken place, your medical esthetician is the key to recovery.
While we are not in the clinic at this time (but very soon), you can still be assessed by our derms, as they are seeing patients virtually (just email us at firstname.lastname@example.org). After that, please feel free to contact the clinic and we can determine the proper care for you. Send pics and any information you feel is relevant. One of our medical estheticians will guide you along until we are back in the clinic. When we are able to meet in person, we can guide you along to the best laser or BBL option to address your rosacea.
We will be back in the clinic seeing and helping our patients soon. Meanwhile, stay safe, enjoy this time with your family, and try to stay stress free!
~ Sheri Roselle, Medical Esthetician at Toronto Dermatology Centre