Starting your rosacea journey and where to get help
Finding out that you have rosacea can be both stressful and relieving. I know what you’re thinking. The words rosacea and relief don’t really go hand in hand. I say it can be a relief in the sense that at least you’ve figured it out and know what you’re working with now. This is best confirmed with a diagnosis from a doctor or a dermatologist.
Realising you have rosacea is stressful for most people. If you’ve looked into it you probably know that there isn’t a “cure” exactly. It’s something you will need to manage and stay on top of. That can be an overwhelming thought.
I have been there myself in my mid twenties and in the beginning I felt quite helpless. Why me? Well, if this resonates with you, don’t worry. You’re absolutely not alone! There are more people dealing with it than you think. Sometimes you’ll hear people calling it “The Curse of the Celts” as it affects mainly fair skinned people of Northern European descent. It also has a high prevalence in those of British and Irish descent.
A rosacea diagnosis isn’t all doom and gloom though. These days, it’s a very manageable condition and there are tons of helpful resources out there. This is the good thing about having the condition now in comparison to, say, 50 years ago. A lot of research has gone into rosacea the past few years.
We now know there are 4 main subtypes and also know what are the best treatment options for each. From breakthroughs in medicine and plant based skincare, to laser treatments, antibiotics and lifestyle changes, we have more ways to cope than ever before.
But it doesn’t mean that we have an easy path to navigate and find what works best for ourselves. Rosacea has its subtypes, but is a very individual condition. What triggers and works for one person, won’t for the next. It takes patience, perseverance and strength to get to a point of controlling your rosacea, rather than letting it control you.
The typical journey when you have rosacea
The first part of your journey with rosacea is noticing that there’s something wrong. Whether you're suffering with facial redness more than the average person, finding pimples and pustules on a regular basis or flushing and blushing often, you know something’s up.
Once you’ve noticed there’s an issue, you’ll most likely turn to your good old friend. Google. After a bit of a search you might come to the conclusion that rosacea is in fact the culprit.
Once you get immersed into the world of rosacea online, that’s when many people get overwhelmed. You’ll find almost everything you want or need to know about the condition. But where does it start and where does it end? You want to make sure you’re looking at good sources as well. From this point of self diagnosis, it’s important that you go to a doctor or dermatologist to confirm that it’s rosacea. It’s an important step as there are other conditions which can initially look like rosacea, such as acne and dermatitis for example.
Once you’ve visited the doctor and they’ve given you an official diagnosis, the trial and error of products and lifestyle changes can begin. It’s good to note though that there are of course pitfalls along the way in this journey. Doctors can get it wrong sometimes (they are human after all). You can go through misdiagnoses before you get to the bottom of your condition.
Also, some doctors won’t explicitly tell you which form of rosacea you have. They might not go into the same level of depth as a dermatologist specialised in the condition. Also, doctors are usually most concerned with which is the best medicine or pharmaceutical product to prescribe. They mightn’t necessarily also mention complimentary routes.
It is through the process of your own trial and error and keeping a rosacea diary where you’ll discover what actually works best for you. Usually what works for a lot of people is a mix of medication for short periods, a solid skincare routine and the avoidance of personal triggers.
Resources that can helpThere are thousands of websites which you’ll find information and support around rosacea. When you’re dealing with rosacea you want two things: facts and support. I’ve put together a short list of websites you can look at if you’re looking for factual information or simply to find other people dealing with the same thing. Here’s a list of some websites I find good below:
- Rosacea.org - This is the official website of the National Rosacea Society. Here you’ll find information around most rosacea topics such as subtypes, treatments, triggers, causes, FAQ’s etc.
- Aad.org - This is the website for the American Academy of Dermatology Association. They have a useful rosacea resource centre which I have linked directly. Its also the first place where I read subtype 1 rosacea is underlying dry and subtype 2 rosacea is underlying oily.
- NCBI. If you search “NCBI Rosacea” on Google, this is where you will find a lot of peer reviewed journal articles if you’re interested in the more academic studies related to rosacea.
- Rosacea-support.org and Rosaceagroup.org are two forums where you will be able to find a community discussing a whole range of different rosacea topics and questions.
- Changingfaces.org - This is a charity support group for those with physical skin conditions, scarring or marks. They also offer a peer support chat function.
- A lot of Facebook and social media groups also exist where it is the same idea as rosacea forums, you can join and find a community you can ask questions to and gain different opinions and perceptions.
- Finally, our very own Rosacea Advice section on our website is a great resource covering many topics from my perspective as a rosacea sufferer.
A quick guide to treating subtypes 1 & 2These are the most common subtypes and in case it’s your first time on our website, here’s a quick synopsis. I’ll also link out to our more in depth posts on each one in case one applies to you more and you’d like some more detailed information.
Rosacea subtype 1 treatments
Prevention of flare-upsThere are measures you can take yourself to reduce your redness to some extent. For starters, redness can be reduced by losing weight (this only applies if you are actually overweight). Carrying too much excess weight isn’t particularly helpful for your rosacea. Another thing you can do is maintain a good (rosacea friendly) diet.
Rosacea friendly foods
Understanding what foods can help your rosacea is a great thing to know. Leafy greens in particular like kale, asparagus and lentils are really beneficial. Studies have shown that healthy fats might help manage rosacea symptoms. See our full post here for more detailed information.
Probiotics and prebiotics have also grown in popularity in those with rosacea. They’re popular due to their soothing effects and ability to reduce inflammation. Probiotics can be found in certain foods and you can also buy them in tablet form if you feel you don’t get enough naturally.
Prescription MedicationsWhen it comes to treating subtype 1 rosacea, you’re usually prescribed a topical drug rather than an oral antibiotic. This comes in the form of a cream or gel. Brimonidine (Mirvaso) and oxymetazoline (Rhofade) reduce flushing by constricting blood vessels. These are what I would consider quick fixes - meaning you can see results in as little as 12 hours but the effects are temporary.
Laser TherapyLaser therapy can be an option to treat your rosacea if you have visible blood vessels (spider veins) or thickened skin. This treatment can reduce and sometimes totally get rid of the spider veins. In addition to that, it can also reduce redness. It is recommended mostly though for the treatment of spider veins with the redness reduction being an added benefit. It’s probably not worth getting laser for redness reduction alone, as it will usually only reduce it by around 20%. When used to treat the visible blood vessels you can expect around a 50-75% reduction in their visibility.
Preventative SkincareMaintaining a solid skincare routine is one of the best things you can do when dealing with subtype 1 rosacea. While normal skin types can get by with skipping on their routine here and there, you really should be quite disciplined if you want to avoid flare ups. My advice would be to follow a routine like this:
- Wash your face with a gentle, mild cleanser for sensitive skin
- Use a calming serum after you wash in the morning and again at night
- Use a hydrating moisturiser to lock in the goodness from your serum
- Apply SPF every single day
- If you want to, use an anti-redness primer. A green tint usually balances out the appearance of redness.
- Check the labels of everything you put on your skin. A good rule of thumb: the less ingredients, the better.
Finca Skin Organics Calming Serum 1
At Finca Skin Organics we have taken the global dermatology advice for rosacea. We've formulated our products using a short ingredient list made up of plant-based oils and actives. We avoid the use of harmful chemicals and additives so that people with very sensitive skin can reduce their symptoms without creating more irritation. Our Calming Serum 1 has been developed specifically to soothe the symptoms of ETR subtype 1 rosacea. It is a soothing and anti-inflammatory serum with ingredients, containing organic rosehip oil and hyaluronic acid, to calm and plump the skin.
Rosacea subtype 2 treatmentsFor subtype 2, it has three grades or subtypes of its own - mild, moderate and severe. If you’re interested in subtype 2, here's our more in depth post.
Mild cases (grade 1):Usually, comes in the form of a few pimples/pustules and some redness. At this stage, sometimes a topical therapy like a cream or gel will be enough. In other cases, an oral antibiotic alongside the topical therapy is given. Once in remission, often the oral antibiotic is stopped completely or dosage lowered.
Moderate cases (grade 2):Characterised by several pustules and quite a bit of redness. When treating moderate cases of subtype 2 rosacea, stronger therapies are recommended. This can be both topical and oral treatments including antibiotics. This can be the case until remission and sometimes even longer to keep the inflammation down.
Severe subtype 2 rosacea can be known as grade 3:This is when there are lots of pimples/pustules alongside the persistent redness. This can be really painful. The same treatment options for mild and moderate cases are given. Doctors might also recommend skincare routines to help reduce the pain. Alternative therapies and medications could also be recommended.
Topical therapies might include:
- Azelaic acid (gel or cream)
- Metronidazole (gel or cream)
- Natural alternatives with ingredients such as Tea Tree oil, Oregano oil, or Licorice root.
Finca Skin Organics Calming Serum 2
Our Calming Serum 2 has been developed specifically to soothe the symptoms of subtype 2 rosacea. This localised, lightweight serum aims to relieve facial redness, swelling, excess oil, and bumps and contains both tea tree oil and oregano oil.
So there you have it. I hope this post has given you some useful information and sources that you can refer to if you are feeling a bit lost in the world of rosacea. We understand that a diagnosis can be an unsettling time for anyone and hope to give some ease and hope around the topic.
When in doubt, always refer to your doctor or dermatologist as the condition differs for everyone. It’s always best to talk to your dermatologist first and work out your treatment plan together.
The entire Finca Skin Organics range has been specifically formulated for sensitive skin including rosacea. After using our products, 87% felt the appearance of their skin improved significantly after using our products and 100% said their skin felt more comfortable*. We only use minimal, plant-based ingredients to avoid any further irritation to your skin.
View the range of Finca skin organics products here or find out what rosacea subtype your skin is.
If you have any queries regarding your rosacea or how to use our products get in contact with us, we'd love to hear from you.
With love from Ireland,
*Clinical evaluation by Harley St. dermatologists on 23 subjects after 8 weeks of use.