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Rosacea and Menopause

There are many surprising symptoms when it comes to perimenopause and menopause, one of which is rosacea.

Rosacea is a chronic inflammatory skin condition that is typically found on the face, neck, and chest. Some of the main symptoms of rosacea are characterized as: 

  • Persistent redness or flushing
  • Visible blood vessels (spider veins)
  • Sensitive skin 
  • Dry, rough skin
  • Bumps and pimples
  • Thickening skin

There are also many other symptoms of rosacea. In fact, there are four subtypes, one of which can affect the eyes. To determine if you have rosacea, a healthcare professional should examine your skin to rule out other conditions.  Although the condition is most commonly diagnosed among people with fair skin, it’s important to note that people of all colors can get the condition.

Symptoms may be harder to see on black or brown skin and may present as dusty, brown discoloration and yellowish-brown hard bumps around the mouth and eyes.

Connection with Menopause

It has long been believed that there exists a connection between hormones and rosacea. Considering that women undergo one of the most significant hormonal shifts since puberty during menopause, it follows that there may be a link between menopause and rosacea.

A recent study found that the incidence of rosacea rises in middle-aged women, especially those aged 40 to 60, with rosacea being most severe in women aged 45 and older, many of whom are in perimenopause.

The belief is that as women go through perimenopause, the declining levels of estrogen can trigger various changes in the skin. These include a weaker skin barrier function, reduced antioxidant activity, increased susceptibility to bruising, and diminished collagen production. These changes are likely to increase the likelihood and severity of dermatological conditions.  Additionally, estrogen also affects immune function, and immune dysfunction is thought to be a key factor in the development of rosacea.

Hot flashes experienced during menopause appear to trigger rosacea, and if you have previously experienced rosacea, you could be prone to more severe flare-ups.

Rosacea Triggers

There are many factors that can aggravate rosacea such as:

  • Stress and anxiety
  • Hot baths, showers, and saunas
  • Extremes of temperature
  • Spicy foods such as hot peppers and salsa
  • Foods containing cinnamaldehyde such as tomatoes, citrus, and chocolate
  • Drinks containing alcohol or caffeine
  • Dairy products
  • UV light

It’s important to keep a note as to what triggers your rosacea. Check out this link to the American Academy of Dermatology Association for tips to prevent rosacea flare-ups.

Adopting Good Skincare and Makeup Practices

A gentle skincare routine is essential to minimizing the symptoms of rosacea. Finding gentle and soothing products is key.  

AVOID products with ingredients such as:

  • Alcohol
  • Fragrance
  • Menthol
  • Glycolic, lactic, or salicylic acid
  • Witch hazel
  • Sodium lauryl sulfate (common in shampoos and toothpaste)

A good routine starts with washing your face with a non-irritating cleanser using lukewarm water. Make sure to let the skin dry if applying any topical rosacea treatments to avoid stinging. With or without any topical treatment, it’s then very important to apply a quality gentle moisturizer such as Finlay+Green’s skin revitalizing cream, followed by sunscreen. 

When it comes to foundations, it’s advisable to avoid waterproof or heavy products, as they require harsher removal techniques and products that increase the chances of irritation. Instead, opt for light liquid formulas for a gentler experience.

If concealers are required to knock back or hide any redness, look for products with a green or yellow tint to camouflage.

Use makeup brushes rather than sponges to avoid tugging on the skin and clean them regularly. New products should be purchased approximately every three months to avoid contamination or degradation.

Tips:

  • Keep your skin well hydrated with a gentle moisturizer
  • Wear a mineral-based broad-spectrum sunscreen no less than 30 SPF
  • Cleanse your face with a pH balanced, non-soap face cleanser
  • Avoid products that can block your pores
  • Avoid touching and rubbing your face
  • Protect your face with a ski mask or scarf in cold weather
  • Avoid spicy foods, alcohol, and caffeine
  • Try to reduce stress by getting quality sleep, taking regular exercise, and meditating

Rosacea Treatment

To date there is no cure for rosacea, but a doctor can prescribe an individualized treatment plan consisting of oral and/or topical medications.  Medical procedures such as laser resurfacing to reduce enlarged blood vessels, and dermabrasion to remove the top layers of the skin, may also be options. Early diagnosis can significantly reduce the risk of progression. 

Takeaway

Make sure to see your healthcare provider to get a proper diagnosis. Although there is no current cure for rosacea, there are medications available as well as lifestyle choices that can positively impact treatment.

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NOTE: This blog is intended for informational purposes only and is not a substitute for medical advice. It should not be relied on as health or personal advice. Always seek the guidance of your doctor or other qualified health professional with any questions you may have regarding your health or a medical condition.