[By Sophia Harper]

Remember Renee Zellweger’s groundbreaking role in the rom-com, “Bridgette Jones’s Dairy”? Although bubbly Renee’s personality is probably miles away from the painfully shy demeanor of her onscreen character, her real life infliction with cheeks that are way too rosy helped her nailed the role to a T. Also known as “the Curse of the Celts”, when rosy cheeks go too far, you might be suffering from Rosacea. Rosacea is a skin condition that affects over 45 million people worldwide, and although it’s not dangerous to health, Rosacea can be a daily nuisance and cause increase skin deformity with age. At early stages, it causes embarrassing red flushes with certain triggers, at times associated with raised, itchy bumps or acneiform pustules. Over time and left untreated, Rosacea patients will start to suffer from skin thickening of nose, chin and cheeks; form unsightly broken blood vessels, and may even notice their nose enlarging with bulbous deformity. Because this is a skin condition that worsens with age, the trick lies in early diagnosis to prevent its progression. With prompt treatment and proper care, you can keep Rosacea from getting to the point where it visually and tactically changes the quality of your skin, and that of your life, so to speak.

Know your triggers

Avoiding Rosacea flares are key in preventing the progression of this common skin disease. The less you breakout with an episode, the less your skin will change in response to these inflammatory assaults. The earlier you learn what your triggers are, the better you can avoid them, thus saving your skin from getting thicker, redder and riddled with broken capillaries and acne-liked scarring.Common triggers include sun, heat, spicy foods, skin irritants, alcoholic beverages, hot liquids and stress which can cause vasodilation and skin flushing, leading to possible rosacea triggering. Flushing perse might not necessarily result in a flare, but the more a person with rosacea flushes, the chance of triggering a true Rosacea flare is increased which can in turn lead to permanent skin changes associated with frequent flares. If you suspect a possible triggering factor in your diet, cut it out for a few days and watch the reaction of your skin. If it’s an absolute must-have that you cannot do without, slowing reintroduce it cause at times, you just might be able to get away with eating small quantities, as opposed to a voracious binge!

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Adequate sun protection

Rosacea-prone skin is usually fairly sensitive and can get very irritated and flare up from unprotected sun exposure. To protect yourself from the harmful ultraviolet rays, use a broad spectrum UVA/UVB protective sunscreen that is physical or mineral based.  Physical blockers avoid additional irritation that chemical sunscreens may cause on Rosacea-prone skin.

The SW1 UMBRELLA UV Protection & Light Diffusing Cream is a powerful 100% chemical and fragrance-free physical blocker that offers top notched sun protection, providing mega dose of SPF 70 with potent UV-shielding ingredients including Titanium Dioxide and Zinc Oxide, suspended in a blend of 3 antioxidant teas with an invisible shine-absorbing micro mesh of UV reflectors. The perfect choice for Rosacea-prone individuals seeking out maximal protection, allowing them to even enjoy a tad of summer sunshine by the beach, but not to over-indulge, mind you! Furthermore, SW1 Umbrella boosts a water and sweat proof formulation, protecting up to 240 minutes just in case the clear blue sea brings out the mermaid in thee!

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Creams to treat

The cause of this disfiguring skin condition remains largely unknown but its association with acne outbreaks at times had led some to believe that there’s an infective component to it. We can control Rosacea and prevent it from progressing with early treatment being key to maintain the youthful qualities of the skin. Certain topical medications proven useful include metronidazole, often recommended by dermatologists as a first line treatment for mild to moderate redness and pimples associated with Rosacea. The SW1 PURITY Soothing & Purifying Gel is a soothing aqueous gel that deeply detoxifies troubled skin while calming excessive skin redness & other acne-related skin irritations with two active ingredients, metronidazole and brimonidine. When used regularly, it works beautifully to minimise persistent flushing and sensitivity, effectively heals red, stubborn acne and reduces inflammation of skin; and even helps reduce shine and improve uneven skin tone in the long run.

Benzoyl Peroxide is primarily used as an acne treatment for its bactericidal property but also has an anti-inflammatory effect against Rosacea.  However, it can also cause severe drying and irritation and therefore should be used only in certain cases and under proper medical supervision.Combining a low dose Benzoic Acid with 20% Azelaic Acid which helps unclog pores and ultimately reduces inflammation normally caused by blockage, the SW1 SKIN RESCUE Refining & Renewing Cream multitasks as an acne fighting, anti-inflammatory and pigment preventing agent to maintain the skin sane by keeping repeated Rosacea flares at bay.

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Zap me pretty

Once repeated Rosacea flares leave skin with visible dilated blood vessels, known medically as telangiectasia, your best bet to improve the appearance of your skin is with appropriate medical laser therapy.

“Redness and persistent flushing are possibly the most annoying and disfiguring features of long standing Rosacea that are best treated with lasers that target blood vessels in particular,” advises Dr. Toby Hui, senior medical consultant with the SW1 Clinic (formerly from The Sloane Clinic). “Most patients who underwent our Harmony Skin Program report a significant improvement in their symptoms following 4 to 6 sessions of Candela VBeam Perfecta laser treatment with up to 80 percent affirming that they would do it again either for clearance or maintenance purposes.”

The Candela VBeam Perfecta Laser delivers an intense but gentle burst of yellow light to selectively targeted areas of the skin. This light is absorbed by blood vessels and the heat causes the telangiectasia to collapse or shrink without collateral damage to surrounding healthy skin. In addition, the laser energy can also help stimulate new collagen formation, resulting in a certain degree of skin ‘remodeling’ with anti-aging benefits to boot. With a special Dynamic Cooling Device (DCD), which delivers a very cold spray to the skin just before the laser pulse is emitted, this helps to minimize the discomfort during treatment, with each pulses feeling nothing more than an elastic band being ‘snapped’ against the skin. The treatment is largely bearable especially with topical numbing cream and immediately after, the area may appear red and mildly swollen (sunburn like). You may also have some degree of bruising which is unlikely if treatment is purely for Rosacea. It is advisable to use gentle skincare products during the healing phase and to avoid scrubs or potentially irritating products such as those containing retinols and AHA.

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Support from within

There’s a lot of talk and studies in recent years with regards to the macros and micros in your nutritional intake and their correlation with diseases including Rosacea flare-ups. There are some food which can strengthen skin from within, and antioxidant rich produce are good for this. Try spinach, broccoli, carrot, red/orange/yellow peppers and other brightly colored vegetables and fruits. A word of caution though— acidic fruits such as lemons and limes can make Rosacea noticeably worse in some, and tomatoes are another infamous trigger to watch out too.

Rosacea though largely void of ill effects to one’s health, can be socially embarrassing, making one feel like not leaving the house, with adverse effects on one’s mood and self-confidence too. However, with a little effort and changes to your everyday routine, Rosacea-prone skin can be very manageable, especially if you start early before things go awry and get out of control.

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