If you are following me on Facebook, you probably noticed that during the month of April (Rosacea Awareness Month), I posted several articles about rosacea, its causes, remedies, things to avoid, lifestyle changes, what it is, etc. From all the reading I have done, and all the discussions about this condition with colleagues, at trainings, forums, etc,, I haven't heard once that PMS might trigger a rosacea breakout. Not until a client recently told me that she ONLY gets rosacea flareups when she is PMSing. And 2 other clients mentioned that they had no idea they had rosacea because they were of "mixed race" - they thought it couldn't happen to them. The thought of being of "mixed race" never crossed my mind. I thought anyone could develop the condition.
So, I Googled it, and I found not even a handful of articles on the subject, and I would like to share what little information I found with you.
At first glance, it seems like this condition indeed has a genetic factor. In a study performed in the USA, of those who said they had a relative with rosacea, most indicated it was an immediate family member: 30% mother, 35% father, 28% sister and 24% brother. In some cases more than one family member was reported, and others stated that a grandparent had rosacea.
The survey also found that national ancestry also may be an indication of relative risk for rosacea. Rosacea has often been called the "Curse of the Celts," because it is especially prevalent among the Irish. However, those of German and English heritage seem to be highly prone to rosacea as well.
Other nationalities in which rosacea was present at a higher rate are Scandinavian, Scottish, French, Polish, Russian, Lithuanian, Hungarian and Czech.
So, being that my 2 "mixed" clients - as they call themselves - are descendants of one or 2 of the ethnicity or nationalities mentioned earlier, it makes sense that a darker complexion person would also suffer from rosacea. As skincare professionals, we should never assume anything! And that's that about rosacea and nationality :-)
I've said many times before, most literature concentrates on the triggers that must be avoided if one suffers from this condition:
- spicy foods
- hot beverages
- hot baths
- strenuous exercise
- extreme hot or cold weather
- stimulants (coffee, cigarettes, sugar)
- sun exposure
- reactions to environmental factors
- menopause (minimal information)
But little is mentioned about the connection between rosacea and PMS or hormonal imbalance.
If you have a client who is experiencing an acne-like breakout on cheeks and nose around the time of their ovulation or when PMSing, and it goes away just as easily as it came, it might be rosacea.
The National Rosacea Society states that many women report more flushing episodes and an increased number of breakouts during menopause and during their menstrual period. Dr. Wilma Bergfeld, former president of the American Academy of Dermatology admits that "there is no research regarding hormones and their effect on rosacea. However, it has been widely observed that rosacea is often aggravated at menopause and sometimes during mid-cycle." It has also been observed that rosacea is diagnosed 3 times as often in women, although it is more severe in men. The difference in the numbers of diagnosis could be that women worry more about their facial appearance than men and they seek treatment more often, while men's severity of the condition might be due to the fact that they don't seek medical treatment until it's too late.
Menopausal women may develop rosacea due to hot flashes which, in turn, trigger flushing or redness. And interestingly enough, women who experience PMS - which causes emotional stress - can also develop stress-related rosacea. It seems to be that the stress-rosacea connection as it relates to PMS is a vicious cycle.
So, to tell you the truth, there wasn't much out there related to rosacea and PMS, except from mere observation and number of diagnoses performed. The only thing I can recommend is to avoid your triggers and take action to control your stress level.
There are other natural remedies that you can do to minimize or prevent rosacea breakouts in addition to everything we have talked about in earlier postings:
1) Botanical/herbal remedies such as Evening Primrose Oil, which is beneficial for many things such as PMS, menopausal symptoms and relieves pain and inflammation.
3) Reflexology (which aids in balancing hormones)
4) GLA (gamma linoleic acid or omega-6 fat) is highly anti-inflammatory and works as well for rosacea as it does for eczema and other allergic skin reactions. It even relieves psoriasis and irritated, dry eyes. It's excellent for PMS symptoms and hot flashes.
6) Keep a diary of any flare ups so that you can identify what might be the trigger or cause.
If you are experiencing rosacea (sometimes mistaken for acne), it is VERY important that you get the correct diagnosis, the correct medications and the correct skin treatment for it. Rhonda Allison (available through phone order, in person and soon through our website), offers several products to put this condition under control - guaranteed!
More about rosacea that you should be aware of...
Rosacea has 4 stages and you don't want to go through all of them:
Pre-Rosacea - The main symptom is frequent flushing that can affect the forehead, nose, cheeks and chin. The skin can become so sensitive that the person can feel a burning sensation when cosmetics or creams are applied. The face may become swollen. Triggers are a strong factor, so avoid or minimize triggers. Don't let it progress to the second stage.
Vascular Rosacea - Small blood vessels on the nose and cheeks swell and become visible, showing through the skin as small red lines. The skin will feel warm and look puffy. The skin may become even more sensitive and the rosacea can be accompanied by oily skin and dandruff. Flushing and redness become persistent and then permanent. Seek treatment!
Inflammatory Rosacea - In addition to the redness, small, red bumps or bumps containing pus may appear and persist. Nodules in the skin become painful and can spread across the nose, cheeks, forehead and chin. In severe and rare cases, the oil glands or sebaceous glands in the nose, and sometimes the cheeks, become enlarged resulting in a build up of tissue on and around the nose and over a period of years the nose becomes red, enlarged and bulbous (seen mostly in men). At this stage, medications are very important and definitely use an anti-inflammatory. Washing your face with soap and water is detrimental for your skin. Consult your local aesthetician!
Ocular Rosacea -Is a serious condition that needs to be brought quickly under control as in severe cases, it could lead to the loss of vision. The symptoms are irritation in the eyes, light sensitivity, a decrease in visual ability and an obvious inflammation of the lids or conjunctivitis. At this stage, the person would need to see an ophthalmologist immediately. The main problem with ocular rosacea is the possibility of a secondary infection. A dry environment plus ocular rosacea provides a good breeding ground for bacteria including staphylococci.
Visit your local aesthetician to properly care for this condition.