Skin Care

Red Patches and Rosacea: How to Handle Ultra-sensitive Skin

Ultra-sensitive skin is already very difficult to deal with and what makes it worse is knowing the different types of sensitive skin and knowing how to take care of each type. Here is a simple guide for you to understand the different concerns of sensitive skin and how you can calm irritated skin.

1. Blotchy Skin

Definition: Blotchy skin is often caused by thread veins that malfunction. These red patches may or may not feel hot, are usually temporary, but can be tenacious.

Causes: As with all red patches, they're caused by hyper-reactive blood vessels. When our veins rapidly dilate, blotches appear - welcome to a flushed face! After a while, they'll shrink back to their normal size. However, they can get worse over time - veins will expand to the point where they become more visible and may settle in for good. Certain factors can aggravate or trigger blotchy skin: sudden changes in temperature, eating very hot or spicy dishes, booze and some medicines. So if you're in any doubt, see a dermatologist.

Prevention: If your blotches come and go, you can adopt preventive measures to protect your reactive skin. Apply anti-redness creams and treatments that are suited to your skin type. Go for products that are moisturising, soothing, non-occlusive and designed to protect skin's vascular system. Avoid harsh tap water and cleanse with gentle treatments. And slather on a sunscreen! Try the L’Oréal Paris UV Matte & Fresh as it provides broad spectrum protection that shields your skin from both, the UVA and UVB rays of the sun.

Treatment: Opt for treatments suited to sensitive skin that are rich in vitamin C to protect fragile spider veins and vitamin B3 to strengthen your skin. If need's be, a dermatologist can prescribe a topical (cream/emulsion) or oral course of antibiotics. Persistant red patches can also be treated with a laser.

2. Couperose

Definition: Couperose is caused by dilated spider veins in the upper level of the dermis. These veins can vary in colour (red, violet, blue) and usually appear on the sides of the nose, cheekbones and cheeks. Sometimes they'll crop up all over the face. They can cause our face to flush and feel hot or uncomfy to the touch. In brief, couperose is an early stage of rosacea.

Causes: Climate is a major culprit! Bracing harsh weather, the sun and temperature changes can trigger couperose. However, if you like the odd glass, you'll be pleased to know that alcohol doesn't actually cause this condition.

Prevention: It's all about avoiding the triggers: temperature changes, UV rays, hot drinks, spicy food, and coffee. Whilst booze doesn't cause couperose, it can make it worse.

Treatment: Laser treatments are your best option. Some are designed to target veins and the haemoglobin found in our blood cells. Others deal with erythosis or spider naevi.

3. Rosacea

Definition: Rosacea is a dermatological condition that only affects the face - usually the sides of the nose, cheeks, forehead and chin. It tends to come hand in hand with spotty outbreaks. Rosacea affects more women than men, with fair or sensitive-skinned people getting the worst deal. It's a visible condition that can affect us psychologically - the fact that it's often linked to alcoholism plus our desire to have a clear complexion can harm our self-confidence.

Causes: Genetic or environmental factors (UV rays, changes in temperature), lifestyle (spicy food, too much booze), circulation problems, parasites... The causes are many and your best bet is to see a dermatologist.

Prevention: First of all you'll need to weed out the triggers to figure out the best treatment plan and then do your best to avoid them like the plague. Avoid exposing yourself to the sun, cut out any drinks or foods that dilate veins, avoid extreme temperatures, saunas and long, hot baths (sorry!).

Treatment: Treat any spots with topical anti-inflammatories or, if necessary, antibiotics. As rosacea comes in bouts, you may need renew any treatments. Laser treatments can be used to banish spider veins and red patches. If your visible veins are too much to bear, you can try electrocoagulation. Using a needle, a dermatologist will apply an electrical current to affected veins. It works a treat, but be warned that it's a painful process!