Jalapeño-flavored appetizers followed by karaoke might sound like the ultimate Friday night out for some, but for someone with rosacea, it’s two major triggers in disguise. Rosacea, or properly known as persistent facial erythema, is estimated to affect 16 million Americans. And if you’re one of those people, a new FDA-approved prescription called Rhofade might just have you seeing the world through rose-colored glasses.
If you suffer with it, there’s a chance you’ve tried countless bottles of redness reducers or anything that promised to even out your skin tone. So what’s the deal behind this new innovation? Rhofade is described by the brand as “an alpha1A adrenoceptor agonist that acts as a vasoconstrictor.”
What does this all mean? “It actives certain receptors on the vascular endothelium, the lining of the vessel on the inside where the blood flows, to narrow the caliber of that vessel,” explains board-certified dermatologist Dr. Dendy Engelman. So basically, it’s making the blood vessels smaller so you appear less red.
If you’re unfamiliar with rosacea, this development is particularly interesting because, as it turns out, it’s pretty hard to diagnose even though so many people have it and it can pop up later in life.
“In the rosacea literature, it sometimes says it’ll take about five years of patients having symptoms before they get the proper diagnoses of having rosacea, so it’s a very challenging disease to pin down,” says Dr. Engelman. It can run in families, but it can also be that you’re the unlucky one who developed it. It is pending as a later in life diagnoses. One because it takes longer to get that diagnoses, but two because we find that this is more a disease in adulthood.”
And it’s not just due to DNA. It has a lot to do with how you live your life. “Lifestyle factors play into it,” says Engelman. “We certainly know certain things trigger, whether it’s alcohol consumption, spicy good, a stressful lifestyle, warm weather, extremes of emotion. We may have an underlying tendency for rosacea, but then our lifestyle is making it worse.”
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She says this part of the conversation pros have with their patients to determine triggers, what then can be avoided, and then what medicines to add in to help out.
Rhofade, specifically, is a daily treatment, so it’s not known if prolonged use will permanently reduce the signs of rosacea. But the clinical trials on everyday application at least sound impressive. In the two clinical trails that were performed, Rhofade was proven to help significantly reduce the signs of rosacea through 12 hours, with improvements being measured and recorded after three hours.
Dr. Engelman says that it’s meant to be applied to clean skin so it gets the most absorption before any of your other skincare products or makeup. “Use the size of a green pea and dot it on your forehead, nose, chin, and cheeks in a thin layer,” she said of how it’s meant to be used. “A little bit goes a long way.”
Not sure if you are dealing with actual rosacea or a bout of redness? The first step is to make an appointment with your dermatologist and see if a product like this is right for you. Because while you might be dealing with this common skin issue, you also might just be using a cleanser that isn’t agreeing with your face.