Red, rosy cheeks are usually touted as a sign of good health. For many, this might be the case. But for those suffering form rosacea in Singapore, this is far from what is desired. For sufferers of this lifelong inflammatory condition, the redness of their face comes with embarrassment, discomfort and/or pain.
But how does rosacea happen, what causes it, and is there a connection to vitamin deficiency?
Research into Rosacea and its Causes
Rosacea is not well-researched, but its symptoms are obvious and painful for those it afflicts. It often happens with episodes of flushing, and often develops into redness of the skin, burning or stinging sensations, pustules, spots, and blood vessels in the skin becoming visible. Rosacea is also found more commonly in women than in men, more common in fair-skinned people, and tends to last for years. In a previous article, we broke down the different subtypes of rosacea. Now let’s take a look at what are the possible root causes of rosacea.
Many of the symptoms of rosacea seem like some kind of allergic reaction, or even an autoimmune problem. While there is no scientific consensus, researchers have been looking into genetic risks for rosacea, and found connections between the disease and other autoimmune diseases. A study found rosacea to be associated to Type 1 Diabetes Mellitus, celiac disease, multiple sclerosis, and rheumatoid arthritis in women. In men, the same study only found this association with rheumatoid arthritis.
Rosacea also seems to be connected to cardiovascular disease. Several studies had already looked at associations between the two, but this study seems to suggest that it is the risk factors related to cardiovascular disease, like inflammatory and metabolic disorders, that rosacea is associated with. They also found that there was a significant association between rosacea and LDL cholesterol in the bloodstream.
Other studies suggest that genetic risk factors are compounded by environmental elements. Individuals with these risks are predisposed to the inflammation and abnormal reactions that constitute rosacea.
Regardless of the cause, when looking at rosacea, doctors are often presented with persistent redness, nodule or pustule formation, visible broken spider veins, swelling, and burning sensation.
Is there a Connection to Nutrition?
If rosacea is indeed partially related to environmental factors, then there might be a possibility that nutrition and vitamin deficiencies play a role in its appearances and treatment.
For many patients, rosacea is triggered by sun exposure and heat. We know that exposure to direct sunlight allows the body to create Vitamin D, and that vitamin D is crucial to modulating the immune system. In relation to this information, a 2013 study aimed to investigate the relationship between serum vitamin D levels in patients with rosacea. Interestingly, the study found that patients with rosacea had relatively high serum vitamin D levels, suggesting that increased vitamin D levels could lead to development of rosacea.
In some cases, rosacea flare-ups can occur because of the intake of certain foods. It has been reported that some individuals get their rosacea triggered by things like beef liver, yeast, avocados and spinach, all coincidentally rich in vitamin B3. When researchers looked into this connecting, they identified the molecular pathway for skin flushing that is caused by vitamin B3 (niacin). They also found that people who did not have rosacea experienced severe flushing when they took large amounts of niacin as a supplement.This seems to suggest a connection between vitamin B3 and rosacea flare ups.
For researchers, this study also identified the pathway through which flushing occurs, allowing them to develop therapies that block the flushing from occurring.
Connected to this information is a case of rosacea fulminant that temporarily and suddenly affected a 17 year old girl who was taking a high dose of vitamin B supplements on a daily basis. Her situation improved when she stopped taking the supplements and started on a therapeutic regimen including isotretinoin and methylprednisolone.
Vitamin C is well-known for its anti-inflammatory properties. When used on the skin, it helps improve the appearance of redness, dryness, and blemishes. In fact, it is one of the best vitamins to treat the symptoms of rosacea as it heals and soothes inflamed skin. Vitamin C also strengthens blood vessels and prevents varicose veins, making it perfect for treating visible blood vessels caused by rosacea. Finally, it also protects your skin against free radicals and sun damage that may be irritating your skin.
From the research done so far, it seems that rosacea in Singapore is not a result of a simple case of nutritional deficiency. Instead, it is the amount of vitamins in the body that seems to encourage the condition’s occurrence, with higher levels of vitamins D and B complexes contributing to rosacea flare ups.
This is why, as a general rule of thumb, you should talk to your doctor before starting any new treatments, supplements or diets when you have rosacea. You do not want to inadvertently make your condition worse than it already is.
We Can Help!
Rosacea can be a frustrating experience. While there is no permanent treatment for the condition, there are ways to manage it. A trained medical practitioner can help you find out what treatment is likely to work best for you. Our qualified doctors customise suitable treatment plans based on your skin type and condition.
If you are bothered by those rosy red patches forming on your face, SL Aesthetic Clinic can provide you with the necessary diagnosis and treatment to alleviate your aesthetic concerns. Call us now at 6235 3246, or Whatsapp us at 9850 7112.