I came across this and thought some of you with rosacea might find it helpful. It's from Paula Begoun's website
Hope it helps....
What is Rosacea? What are the symptoms?
Rosacea is a stubborn, chronic, and pervasive skin disorder that is not only frustrating but extremely tricky to treat. It is thought to afflict an estimated 14 million Americans alone, with women being affected at a slightly greater rate than men. Despite its prevalence, rosacea is often misdiagnosed by physicians and even dermatologists, and most people don’t even know the disorder exists. According to a survey commissioned by the National Rosacea Society, 78% of respondents did not know what rosacea was and, it follows, how to identify it.
In simple terms, rosacea is a very distinctive skin problem of the face identified at first by a characteristic pattern of redness which often appears in a butterfly pattern over the nose and cheeks. In the beginning this "blushing" can be intermittent, but eventually, it almost always increases in severity, sensitivity, and can be accompanied by rashes, enlarged pores, blemishes, and noticeable surfaced capillaries.
If you notice any extreme facial redness that comes on suddenly (and is not from overexposure to sun or wind) and does not dissipate within a short period of time you may want to consider consulting a dermatologist. Other warning signs include a constellation of broken capillaries (often in a webbed pattern on the cheeks) and bumps or blemishes on the skin that respond minimally, if at all, to standard acne treatments.
What causes Rosacea?
What causes rosacea? After much research and conjecture, we still don't know. It has long been suspected that some kind of microbe (likely Demodex folliculorum) under the skin is responsible for the symptoms but there are other theories about a generalized vascular inflammatory disorder. Regardless of the etiology, one of the classic and effective treatments is the topical drug metronidazole found in MetroGel, MetroLotion, and MetroCream. There are also studies showing adapalene (Differin), topical benzoyl peroxide with erythromycin gel, or azelaic acid are also good options to consider. What is most important is starting treatment as soon as the condition is identified to keep problems from getting worse, particularly the occurrence of surfaced capillaries (Sources: Cutis, March 2005, pages 27-32; International Journal of Dermatology, March 2005, pages 252-255; Dermatology, February 2005, pages 100-108; Expert Opinion on Pharmacotherapy, January 2004, pages 5-13; Journal of Dermatology, August 2004, pages 610-617; Archives of Dermatology, November 2003, pages 1444-1450).
Other possible causative factors that have seen their fair share of speculation, include hereditary links, environmental causes, vascular problems, miscellaneous inflammatory factors and the stomach ulcer-causing microorganism Helicobacter pylori (Sources: Dermatology, February 2005, pages 100-108 and Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology, September 2004, pages 327-341).
Skin Care for Rosacea
Whichever method of treatment or combination therapy you and your physician decide on, it is important to take steps in your regular skin-care routine to ensure it is as gentle as possible. For those with rosacea, reducing any risk of irritation or sensitizing reactions will help reduce the risk of flare-ups and exacerbations. Fragrance- and irritant-free products are paramount but avoiding topical scrubs, washcloths, at-home facial peels, products containing alcohol, hot water, or steam rooms can also be significant (Sources: Cutis, March 2005, pages 17-21 and March 2004, pages 183-187; and Dermatologic Therapy, 2004; 17 Supplemental 1, pages 26-34).
Generally speaking, it is best for those with rosacea to stick with the basics:
Gentle, non-drying water-soluble cleanser (absolutely no bar soap or bar cleansers)
Sunscreen with SPF 15 or higher containing the active ingredients of titanium dioxide and/or zinc oxide (other sunscreen agents can prove irritating). Those with rosacea and oily skin may find using a foundation and pressed powder with sunscreen is a great alternative.
Moisturizer formulated with antioxidants and barrier-protecting ingredients (to improve skin function).
Salicylic acid (BHA) exfoliant.**
Until your rosacea is under control, you may want to avoid all sources of flare-ups, including strenuous exercise, cooking over a hot stove, spending too much time outdoors when the weather is summer-hot or winter-cold, alcohol consumption, or anything that causes your skin to feel hot and redden. Many patients find it helpful to keep a diary of their rosacea triggers, and that includes noting what causes their flare-ups or reactions to skin care and cosmetics used. As much as possible, try to minimize sources of stress; you may want to consider alternative methods of stress control, including meditation and controlled, focused breathing. Talk to your dermatologist about which over-the-counter, anti-inflammatory medications (aspirin, naproxen, ibuprofen) may be suitable for calming flare-ups.
Ingredients to Avoid
While it is almost impossible to list all of the ingredients that can potentially trigger reactions for those with rosacea, the following is a good general list to consider. Keep in mind that not everyone reacts the same to any of these elements:
Alcohol or SD alcohol followed by a number (Ingredients like cetyl alcohol or stearyl alcohol are standard, benign, waxlike cosmetic thickening agents and are completely nonirritating.)
Citrus juices and oils (such as grapefruit or orange)
Fragrances of any kind
SD alcohol, ethanol alcohol or isopropyl alcohol
Sodium C14-16 olefin sulfate
Sodium lauryl sulfate
The Rosacea Review, an online newsletter of the National Rosacea Society, at www.rosacea.org/rr/
, is an excellent source for detailed and ongoing information concerning treatment and research for rosacea.
*As effective as an oral antibiotic can be when you begin taking it, after a period of time bacteria can become immune to the antibiotic, causing symptoms to return. Most of the research about antibiotic bacteria-resistance is based on research regarding other uses such as acne and infections. Whether or not this is a concern for rosacea should be discussed with your physician. (Sources: International Journal of Antimicrobial Agents, March 2004, pages 209-212; Dermatology, January 2003, pages 54-56; Expert Opinion on Pharmacotherapy, March 2005, pages 409-418; and American Journal of Clinical Dermatology, April 2003, pages 813-831).
**BHA is an interesting option for rosacea, not only does it exfoliate skin and improve pore function, it has anti-inflammatory action (due to its relationship to aspirin—acetyl salicylic acid), which may help reduce the facial redness caused by the papules and pustules that can accompany rosacea. BHA also has antimicrobial properties that can reduce the presence of the microbe thought to be causing the problem. Just like any other rosacea therapy, salicylic acid won't work for everyone (indeed, some rosacea patients find it intolerable) but it is comparably inexpensive and worth a try (Sources: Dermatology, January 1999, pages 50-53; Pain, September 1995, pages 339-347; and Archives of Dermatology, November 2000, pages 1390-1395).