Do you suffer from redness and facial flushing? Does it get you down, make you feel less confident, or even make you hide away? Do you find you feel like you need to use lots of make up to disguise it?
We are often asked how to help irritated skin, and to treat conditions such as Rosacea. Rosacea is a topic we have addressed in newsletters and blogs before, but since it is such a common concern, with millions of people suffering from it, we have decided to put together a guide. We hope this guide will help to explain the symptoms, and causes of Rosacea, and suggest tips which could reduce it. You may also wish to to view our full collection of skincare products design to soothe red skin by clicking here.
What is Rosacea?
Rosacea often begins with a tendency to blush or flush more easily than other people. The redness can slowly spread beyond the nose and cheeks to the forehead and chin. Even the ears, chest, and back can be red all the time. But Rosacea can cause more than redness with many other associated signs and symptoms such as broken capillaries, acne, thickening of the skin, burning or stinging, and even eye irritations. You can read more about the different classifications of Rosacea here. Symptoms can be triggered by many things and, unfortunately, can vary so considerably between individuals that it can be very difficult to identify the exact cause.
Main causes of Rosacea
Environmental Factors - Hot weather, humidity, extreme cold or harsh winds can exaggerate the condition.
Dietary Causes -
Alcohol - A recent study showed alcohol consumption increases the chance of developing Rosacea
Certain foods - Spicy food, dairy, or even citrus may also make things worse
Food additives - MSG, Sulphites, and preservatives may exaggerate symptoms
Stress - Stress can be a major factor in a number of skin conditions and is considered a major cause of Rosacea. Anything which places undue pressure on you can be considered stress, and may impact your skin.
Sun Exposure - Skin prone to Rosacea is not happy in the sun. Sun, and exposure to UVA and UVB rays can make the condition far worse.
Fragrances and perfumes - Scent can increase redness and irritation. Artificial scent is a prime cause but some natural scents and essential oils can be a causal factor too.
Physical exercise - Extreme physical exercise can exaggerate and prolongue symptoms of Rosacea.
What can we suggest to help relieve the symptoms, and hopefully make you stop feeling like you have to hide away? Here are our top ten tips:
- Protect your skin from damaging UV rays. UV rays are the number one cause of Rosacea flare ups. Use a broad spectrum good quality facial SPF (have you tried ours) all year round. In high summer use a hat and stay out of direct sunlight.
- Keep a food diary. Diet can have a huge impact on Rosacea. Whilst it is not the only cause, controlling the intake of the foods which are thought to lead to flare ups can help keep redness under control. Common triggers are spicy food, alcohol, and caffeine but each person will have unique triggers they should avoid. Keep a food diary and note the appearance of your skin each day, or consider intolerance testing, which may identify foods you should avoid.
- Consider the environment around you. Extremes of temperature and pollution can aggravate Rosacea. Hot weather, cold winds, high humidity, and urban pollution can all be problematic. Keep cool, avoid steam, wrap up against cold winds, and protect from pollution.
- Manage stress levels. Stress is known to exaggerate skin concerns. Use stress management strategies and take care of your whole self. Sleep, eat well, exercise, and consider including meditation or breathing exercises in your daily routine. All will help.
- Keep well. Being unwell can show on your skin. Fever, coughs and colds, high blood pressure, and serious illness can cause Rosacea flare ups. Occasionally long term medication can affect the sensitivity of your skin. If you take medication and suffer from redness discuss it with your GP and explore alternatives. Consider taking multivitamins to keep well especially those with vitamin C and Zinc.
- Wash your make up brushes. In an independent survey of 1000 people 44% said they had never cleaned their make up brushes! Several studies have shown that make up brushes can be contaminated with dangerously high levels of bacteria, and in some cases carried more bacteria than was found on a loo brush! Clean those brushes to prevent skin irritations and redness flare ups.
- Go make up free. Consider having a break from make up and see if your redness comes down. Some ingredients in cosmetics can cause irritation. If you have a break from make up and your skin improves reintroduce your products one by one to see which ones cause a flare up. You may be able to identify key ingredients to avoid.
- Avoid scent. Scent can be a major cause of skin irritation. Stop using perfumes and avoid facial, body, and bath products that are highly scented. Even some essential oils can be irritating to the skin.
- Alter your exercise routine. Exercise is reported by many Rosacea sufferers as a cause of flare ups. But don’t stop exercising! It is essential to your stress management and overall wellbeing. Instead alter the way you exercise. Consider short blasts of high intensity work outs rather than prolonged sessions. Avoid working out in a stuffy hot room, but instead make sure the gym is well ventilated and ideally air conditioned. Try using a beauty mist to keep cool during classes. Try swimming. AND always keep hydrated. It is essential to keep your water consumption up.
- Skincare. Products can help, but choose carefully. Use products which are free from known irritants. Avoid highly scented products and make sure you select those suited to sensitive skins. Keep your routine simple – “less is more” – and do not chop and change your products or over stimulate your skin. When applying products be gentle. Do not rub your face, or use harsh exfoliators or scrubs, and when cleansing with water avoid extremes of temperature - use hand warm water and a soft cloth. Resist the temptation to wash you face when in a power shower. The strong jets can cause sensitivity and redness to flare. Seek advice as to the best products for you. Our soothing Anti-Redness Serum contains a botanical complex clinically proven to calm and protect sensitive, and regularly receives 5 star reviews, you can find our more about it on our website and shop all products to help with redness here.
Controlling Rosacea involves looking at all aspects of your lifestyle. Follow these tips to help keep your skin calm. Don’t be disheartened or allow it to upset you. You are not alone. In fact, you are in good company with film stars, princes, and presidents reportedly suffering too. Friend of the ARK brand Lisa Faulkner recently discussed her battles with the condition and luckily had some success with the ARK Anti redness serum which you can see more about here.
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So, the sun was short-lived! Time to put the flip flops and sunscreen away again? Wrong! Keep that SPF protection to hand. You still need it.
What is SPF Protection? We are all constantly told to use it. But why do we need it and how does it work?
We are all aware that over exposure to the sun can be harmful. Skin diseases, cancers, and photo-ageing are increasing around the world, and we need to protect against the sun's damaging rays which cause this with broad spectrum protection. Having broad spectrum protection means we are protected against both UVB (burning) and UVA (ageing) rays. Did you know, UVA rays are not susceptible to seasonal variations and are a threat all year round? They can even penetrate glass, so skin should still be protected when indoors near a window or in the car, or on a train.
What is the best way to protect ourselves? There are two types of protection. Physical and chemical.
Physical sunscreens contain active mineral ingredients which work by sitting on top of the skin (often giving the skin a white appearance) to deflect and scatter damaging UV rays away from the skin. They are effective at protecting against UVB rays however, they can not protect against the full spectrum of rays.
Chemical sunscreens work by absorbing the sun's rays (and converting them to heat) and offer full protection against the whole spectrum of damaging UVA and UVB rays. They tend to be lighter in texture than physical SPF products, and do not block pores or cause breakouts, so are often preferred as an everyday solution.
Which approach does ARK Skincare take?
ARK Skincare's Skin Protector SPF30 Primer is classified as a chemical SPF. We chose this route as we believe it is very important to offer a product with broad spectrum protection. The award winning formula contains protection against sun damage and associated premature ageing. It is a beautifully light weight moisturiser which offers a great base for make up and is easily adapted to your everyday routine. Whilst the formulation contains the necessary chemical compounds to offer effective protection, it is still 64.84% natural as it contains active naturals to hydrate, offer antioxidant protection, and provide a silky smooth luminous finish to the skin.
There are a lot of skin protection options available, and you can read more on the pros and cons of different sunscreens here. The choice is yours. But whatever you decide, make sure you use a broad spectrum SPF daily, whatever the weather.
Do you suffer from redness and facial flushing? Does it get you down, make you hide away or use lots of make up? It can be hard to establish the causes of redness and irritation but it could be a very common condition known as Rosacea. April is Rosacea awareness month which aims to help sufferers learn more about this condition.
Rosacea is more common than you think and sufferers tend to have redness in the centre of their face and very sensitive skin. This can be accompanied by broken capillaries and, in the case of acne rosacea, breakouts. Symptoms can be triggered by many things. Environmental factors such as heat, cold or wind can exaggerate the condition, as can physical exercise. Dietary choices such as consuming alcohol, spicy food or even cheese may also make things worse. Stress can also be a major factor.
Learning to avoid triggers, using calming skincare ranges, and ensuring your products are free from any known irritants will help. Look for brands which display "free from" logos and explore ranges which are recommended for sensitive skin.
Follow these easy skincare tips:
- Avoid artificial scents and colorants
- Use a serum with calming benefits aimed at reducing redness and flushing
- Use a daily broad spectrum SPF to protect against damaging UVA and UVB rays
- Use a cooling, calming spritz throughout the day
- Consult with your skincare therapist / facialist for advise on the best course of facial treatments for you
- If concerned contact your GP for further advice
If you do suffer from Rosacea you are in good company. The beautiful Lisa Faulker, actress, presenter and chef says in the latest Woman&Home Feel Good You Magazine that "I have Rosacea and ARK Skincare completely changed the look and feel of my skin in a matter of weeks. I love it, especially the de-stress serum and the age defend moisturiser." To learn more about the products she uses click on the link below.
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Shop our Anti-Redness Serum now at:
When we are stressed Cortisol is released by the body. We have discussed Cortisol before as it can have very negative effects on skin causing skin sensitivities, break outs, and irritations. Cortisol is released as part of our fight or flight defence mechanism. It is not all bad as in small doses it prepares us for action. However, large or prolonged doses can have a number of negative effects on our health. Unfortunately, as we age, the amount of Cortisol we release increases, and it takes longer for this potentially damaging hormone to return to normal levels, meaning we are exposed to it for longer, and negative side effects may be seen.
The first step to managing stress, and reducing cortisol, is to acknowledge it. We can not adopt coping mechanisms unless we acknowledge what is adversely affecting us. There are a number of signs which can help us identify if we are chronically stressed. Poor memory, lack of concentration, only seeing negatives, as well as irritability, anxiety or a change in eating patterns can all be symptoms. Take the time this month to assess situations which may be affecting you and then find ways to cope with them.
Coping mechanisms can help us overcome chronic stress. Coping can be achieved by changing the situation you find yourself in, or by changing your reaction to the situation. There are a lot of well documented ways to cope. The key is to find what is right for you.
Top tips which have helped some of the ARK Skincare team:
Laugh - studies have shown laughter can reduce the stress hormone Cortisol. Find something which makes you laugh and do it more!
Exercise - symptoms of stress can be reduced by including physical exercise in your weekly routine. Just twenty minutes a week can have a positive effect on mental wellbeing according to this study
Unplug - modern technology can seriously increase the amount of demands placed upon us. Take time to "unplug", turn off devices, and slow down.
Be mindful - take time to bring your complete attention to the present moment. There are plenty of techniques, find out more here
Massage - Studies have found that regular massage can reduce stress and improve sleep patterns. There are many different kinds. Find a therapist here
In summary it is key to remember to accept that stress is unavoidable. You can take steps to reduce your stress and learn how to cope with it, but you will never be completely rid of stress. Stress serves a purpose as a healthy response to overwhelming situations or perceived threats, and it can be dealt with in an equally healthy fashion. Remembering this is, in itself, a good coping strategy.