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Many rosacea sufferers get into trouble by over-exfoliating. It’s a natural tendency, particularly due to two misconceptions: a) that rosacea is a form of acne; and b) that rosacea is caused by the Demodex mite.

Of course cleanliness is important, and for any skin condition whose pathology includes excess skin cell production and turnover (including rosacea, psoriasis, and sometimes eczema and acne), ensuring that skin cells don’t build up to plug pores and irritate living tissue is critical. But particularly with rosacea, which doesn’t foster excessive sebaceous secretions and makes the surface of the skin more delicate and damage-prone – even while it makes the skin thicker and flakier – gentle, appropriate exfoliation is particularly vital.

Although rosacea is called acne rosacea, it differs from acne vulgaris in several ways: the eruptions are often free of bacteria, and if infected they present a different strain of bacteria, and excess oil production is not always present.

In addition to the misconception that vigorous cleansing will help heal rosacea, many sufferers are motivated by concern over the Demodex mite, one of some 300 microbes found on most human bodies, and sometimes found in unusual concentrations on rosacea-prone skin.

Some rosacea treatment programmes give great weight to the Demodex hypothesis (which asserts that rosacea is a side-effect of Demodex overgrowth), but this correlation has not been proven. Some rosacea sufferers demonstrate elevated Demodex populations, but whether the overgrowth is a cause or effect of rosacea we don’t yet know. What we do know, though, is that aggressive cleansing and exfoliation can encourage the mite, by further enflaming and damaging the sensitive skin surface.

We recently uploaded Rosacea and Exfoliation – a new document addressing the special exfoliating concerns of rosacea sufferers – to compliment our Rosacea Treatment Programme, Cleansing Programme, and Rosacea: Causes and Effects document (.PDF format). We also have other blog resources on rosacea and cleansing, including recent posts My full facial skincare regime and Cleansing: the overlooked beauty tip, and the rosacea category of blog posts. Please check them out for more information; feedback is very welcome!

 

Resources:

Rosacea and Exfoliation – on Seabuckthorn.com

Rosacea Treatment Programme – recommended product family on Seabuckthorn.com

Cleansing Programme – on Seabuckthorn.com

Rosacea: Causes and Effects (.PDF format) – position paper on Seabuckthorn.com

2 Responses to “Rosacea and exfoliation”

  1. Talina says:

    I did not know much about Rosacea till I read this. I had friends who suffered from various forms of it but never really understood what it was. Great informative article, I am sure it will help many!

  2. Hi Talina:
    I’m really glad you found the resources helpful; thanks for your kind words. The numerous misconceptions about skin conditions definitely adds to the suffering of those afflicted – we’re trying to continually expand our educational and reference materials to help dispel the myths. Thanks for visiting!

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