04/02/2012 02:14 EDT | Updated 05/31/2012 05:12 EDT

Why Cosmetics Won't Cure Your Red Skin


Red cheeks can be endearing in self-humbling moments when all eyes are drawn to you in silent surprise. However, chronic redness around the cheeks, nose and forehead is often symptomatic of a commonly misdiagnosed problem called rosacea. As common as the condition may be, the cause is still unknown and despite what many cosmetic companies would have you believe, there is no cure. April is rosacea awareness month, so what better time to dispel the myths around associated with redness and rosacea.

Myth 1. Antibiotics can cure rosacea

Many cosmetics companies market treatments for rosacea, but the truth is there is no cure. Antibiotics such as tetracycline or erythromycin may minimize redness, but unfortunately they will not cure rosacea. As consumers become more health conscious, natural solutions for rosacea are increasingly being sought after. Thujaplicin, a molecule that derives from the Western Red Cedar tree, has natural antibiotic, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and antifungal properties. It may manage the condition, but again there simply is no cure.

Myth 2. Alcohol abuse causes rosacea

Alcoholic beverages like red wine can trigger rosacea flareups, but the exact cause of rosacea is unknown. There are many popular theories about the causes of rosacea. Genetics, intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO) and a heightened level of Demodex mites (microscopic mites that live around your hair follicles) are just a few.

Myth 3. Rosacea is another term for adult acne

Rosacea is not adult acne. However, it is commonly misdiagnosed. Rosacea is an inflammatory process that can cause the skin's blood vessels to over dilate. What separates rosacea from adult acne and other skin conditions are the unique environmental triggers (including things like spicy foods, stress, or excessive heat) and a tendency to flush. These triggers affect people differently and cause periods of increased symptoms, or 'flareups.' Since there is no way to eliminate all triggers completely from your lifestyle, it's important to know your own body and identify your particular triggers. Rosacea sufferers should also avoid products with dyes or fragrances and instead opt for hypoallergenic ingredients.