Some common features of rosacea include redness and flushing on facial skin. Most of the cosmeceuticals designed for rosacea contain botanical active ingredients with antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties intended to reduce redness. In this article, we will explain why the best skincare for redness and sensitive skin should contain botanical active ingredients to manage rosacea, including frequently asked questions on rosacea answered by accredited dermatologist, Dr. Teo Wan Lin.
Best skincare for redness: Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice (Aloe Vera)
Aloe vera is known for its anti-inflammatory, skin protection, anti-bacterial, anti-viral, antiseptic, and wound healing properties. Aloe vera can be used to retain skin moisture and integrity, and its gel from the leaf has been reported to have a protective effect against radiation damage to the skin. In vitro studies and studies have shown that Aloe vera can inhibit thromboxane (an inhibitor of wound healing), improve the wound healing process, and reduce inflammation.
Aloe’s regenerative properties are due to the compound glucomannan, which is rich with polysaccharides like mannose. Glucomannan affects fibroblast growth factor receptors and stimulates their activity, which in turn increases the production of collagen. It can also change collagen composition, increase collagen cross-linking, promoting wound healing. Aloe stimulates fibroblast which produces the collagen and elastin fibers in the skin, increasing elasticity and reducing the appearance of wrinkles. Furthermore, it also has cohesive effects on the superficial flaking of epidermal cells, sticking them together and softening the skin.
The amino acids in Aloe vera also soften hardened skin cells and zinc acts as an astringent to tighten pores. Its moisturizing effects have also been studied in the treatment of dry skin. The research shows that when aloe vera gel was applied, there was an improvement in skin integrity, decreased appearance of fine wrinkle and decreased redness. Consequently, Aloe vera is a key constituent in skincare for redness reduction.
Camellia Sinensis (Green Tea) Leaf Extract
Research shows that green tea extract has photoprotective abilities, protecting our skin from the harmful effects of the sun. Studies have shown that green tea extract can inhibit the production of collagenases. Collagenases are enzymes that break the peptide bonds in collagen, effectively breaking down the collagen in our skin. Studies have shown that UV rays can stimulate the production of collagenases, causing the skin to age prematurely.
Here is another reason why the best skincare for redness should include green tea. Another benefit of green tea is that it can improve the skin’s texture, increase moisture, and decrease oiliness. Research has proved that green tea extract can improve microcirculation. This is the circulation of blood in the smallest blood vessels. It also improves the condition of blood vessels, resulting in better skin nutrition and oxygenation. A clinical study showed that 6% Camellia extract applied to forearm skin revealed significant increase in water moisture and improved skin microrelief (skin texture). By means of reduced skin roughness and enhanced skin smoothness.
Gingko Biloba Leaf Extract
The various constituents of Gingko inhibits inflammation markers, such as COX-2 and iNOS. Rosacea is primarily a chronic inflammatory skin condition. Therefore, choosing rosacea skincare ingredients with anti-inflammatory effects will be beneficial in management and treatment. Active oxygen and nitrogen species induce inflammation in the skin. Gingko actively suppresses these to tamp down inflammation. Moreover, Gingko is abundant in quercetin, a flavonoid that is known for its anti-inflammatory properties. The main mechanism of quercetin in anti-inflammation is by inhibiting inflammation-producing enzymes such as cyclooxegenase (COX) and lipoxygenase (LOX).
Gingko has also demonstrated vasoactive properties. One of the most common symptoms of rosacea include the dilation of blood vessels under the skin, causing persistent redness and flushing. Poor blood circulation is can be one of the factors that can lead to rosacea. Gingko has shown to reduce blood viscosity, and improve blood flow, including circulation in small capillaries. This can help to manage the appearance of rosacea, and makes Gingko a useful ingredient in skincare for redness reduction.
Glycyrrhiza Glabra (Licorice) Root Extract
Much of the sweetness from licorice comes from Glycyrrhizin, which is 30-50x sweeter than sugar. Apart from bringing its sweetness, Glycyrrhizin also has active anti-inflammatory properties that helps to combat irritation and redness. Research showed that mice treated with Glycyrrhizin extract from licorice experienced reduced swelling and inflammation. Additionally, the Journal of Drugs and Dermatology also reports that licorice is an effective treatment for inflammatory skin conditions such as rosacea, atopic dermatitis, psoriasis. Furthermore, studies have also shown that Glycyrrhizin doesn’t just scavenge free radicals, as many antioxidants and anti-inflammatory agents do. Instead it tamps down inflammation by inhibiting the generation of free radicals, preventing swelling and redness. Therefore, look out for the best skincare for redness that contains Licorice root extract.
Dermatologist answers frequently asked questions on rosacea
Is rosacea related to other skin issues?
Rosacea itself is a distinct dermatological condition with characteristics of hypersensitivity of the blood vessels to external triggers such as heat, consumption of spicy foods, internal factors such as emotions, and also personal genetics. It can exist together with other dermatological conditions such as facial eczema which links to a problem with the skin barrier. It is possible to have both facial eczema and rosacea and the condition may present with symptoms of both diseases. For example, rosacea itself is accompanied by bumps on the skin, as well as intense flushing episodes that may not resolve even after the triggers are removed. When it exists together with facial eczema, there could be an increased amount of itchiness, flaking and also worsened redness.
A board certified dermatologist will be able to make the diagnosis. Rosacea is commonly confused with acne. In fact, there is a subtype of acne, acne rosacea. In this type of rosacea, there is a predominance of acne-like bumps, and even pustules. However, the underlying condition is not related to acne. Rather, it is a worsening of the skin’s ability to handle the changes in the blood vessels when exposed to different triggers. In fact, more advanced cases of rosacea, progress from mild episodes of flushing to developing bumps and pustules on the face.
Is rosacea related to allergies?
Rosacea is linked to a certain type of mite that lives on human skin- Demodex. The Demodex mites triggers off an inflammatory reaction in the skin of rosacea sufferers. However, the condition is not so straightforward. Rather, there is a complex interplay of genetics, and microbiome factors which means that the balance of bacteria also plays a part. Allergies are a very broad term which may not be scientifically sound to attribute for many skin conditions. However, in the mind of the public, skin sensitivities and eczema link to the term ‘allergies’. We are increasingly knowledgeable about how the skin barrier affects skin conditions such as eczema, rather than allergies itself directly triggering off flare ups of sensitive skin. When we restore the skin barrier, conditions such as facial eczema and dermatitis actually improve.
What are some common triggers of rosacea I should avoid?
While rosacea is primarily genetic at its root cause, there are many triggers that you can avoid to prevent flare ups and to stop your rosacea from progressing. Flushing episodes upon exposure to triggers are characteristic of early stage rosacea. Later on even in the absence of these triggers, the flushing persists. When it gets more severe skin then starts to develop bumps, ncreased redness, and also eventually skin thickening.
Advanced stages of rosacea may be associated with a disfigurement. Rhinophyma for example, is caused by end stage rosacea that has gone untreated. Triggers of rosecea include heat, spicy foods, as well as emotional stress. Advice for sufferers of rosacea include taking cold showers instead of using lukewarm or warm water. They should seek out cool environments and also use a good skincare regimen to help their skin stay healthy. If your rosacea becomes more severe, you will need prescription medication for control.