Rosacea redness, flushing, and blushing is a triggered rosacea response of the sympathetic nervous system resulting from stress, foods, and beverages.
Exploring the Ways Facial Flushing, Blushing and Rosacea Skin Redness Are Impacted Through Several Physiological Systems:
“Rotational Clock Rosacea” is a Systemic Redness & Flushing Event”
The body operates on an internal clock. In a 24 hour period the body experiences its lowest temperature of the day between 3 to 4 a.m. We experience our highest body temperature between 7 to 8 p.m. We have all experienced mid to late afternoon fatigue and without thinking grab an energy bar or beverage or a candy bar for a quick sugar rush. This high energy adrenaline boost can also result in an increase in facial redness, just as the afternoon fatigue can result in a stress-related flush. We can moderate our internal clock to reduce this flushing by striving to maintain a consistent pH balance and identify other flushing factors listed below.
Heavy Meals, Sugar Spikes and High Carbohydrate Consumption Cause Facial Redness
The vascular induced flushing resulting from heavy carb and sugar spikes causes the digestive system to react to the increase in vascular dilation with its increased blood flow, visually this is seen as facial redness or a flushed appearance. Avoiding spikes from high energy burns and heavy meals through the consumption of balanced meals with small healthy snacks in between can help to regulate the sugar/carb spikes and control facial redness and flushing.
Foods with a high acidic pH are identified on the pH scale in the 1 to 3 range are digested and dispersed quickly into the blood stream causing high glucose spikes. These foods would include such things as alcohol, candies, cookies, donuts and foods containing high sugar content. On the facial skin this relates to faster, high impact flushing event.
The more complex carbohydrates including root vegetables, meats and some fruits create a slower released energy burn providing the body with more sustained energy, less physical fatigue and reduced facial flushing.
Fiber based foods have a higher pH, a slower digestion and burn rate. This gives us the sensation of feeling fuller after the meal. High fiber foods provide a slow energy burn and do not result in vascular flushing or facial redness.
The proteins of most fruits and vegetables provide the body and brain with many nutrients with a high pH that are needed to repair the body and facial tissue for the best “rosacea diet” while carbohydrates are needed for energy and is most often stored as fat.
Steroid Induced Redness and Flushing
Despite all the evidence that such a practice does more harm than good, there are still some physicians and dermatologists who will prescribe topical steroids for facial treatment of rosacea, or in a more complex situation for the treatment of eczema, psoriasis or acne when they have no idea how else to treat it. In a severe situation, a two week maximum course of a topical steroid may be beneficial. But they are risks. Prolonged use of topical steroids results in a steroid dependence. The steroid will over time thin the skin and increase vascular redness, the emergence of spider veins or telangiectasis becomes very visible and the overall complexion develops a copper or dark red skin tone. Discontinuing the steroid will result in a worsening of the facial condition with the appearance of bright flaming skin redness, secondary comedones, firm hard nodules under the skin, round, follicular, deep papulopustules and possible scaling or peeling of the skin.
To learn more about steroid use, please see First World Congress of the International Academy of Cosmetic Dermatology.
Adrenaline Induced Facial Redness and Flushing
Adrenaline induced facial flushing occurs as a result of a hormone released stress response causing an instant or immediate flush of redness rushing to the facial area. The rush of hormones and adrenaline create a sharp alertness, the nervous system responds, your pulse rates rises, your muscles tense causing the immune system to slow and begin to shut down.
The stress related response results in tenseness, indigestion or upset stomach, fatigue, stiffness in the muscles, headaches and facial redness and flushing. The long-term effects of stress include high blood pressure, heart –health issues, rosacea, depression, gall stones and kidney stones.
Acne is another adrenal related hormonal stress reaction. Estrogen regulates the amount of testosterone produced by the adrenal glands and ovaries. In the course of a woman’s monthly cycle, estrogen levels fluctuate upsetting the balance of the testosterone produced hormone. This fluctuation can result in an over production in the adrenal glands causing one to fatigued, anxious or stressed. Too much testosterone results in a hyper stimulation of the sebaceous glands in the skin. This causes an increase in oil production, the skin feels oily and the pores may become clogged resulting in acne pimples. Similarly as young men enter puberty there is an increase in testicular testosterone, again resulting in hyper stimulated sebaceous glands.
Exercise Induced Flushing and Facial Redness
When we exercise, the cardiovascular system works faster and harder, we breathe harder and the result is facial flushing or facial redness from vascular dilation, and the muscles produce or give off lactic acid. To minimize the exercise related vascular response, exercise in a cool area, keep the body well hydrated before and during exercise, and to reduce the facial redness, exercise in 10 to 15 minutes sets with a short cool down period in between. Breathing is an important part of your exercise routine. Breathe deeply as your exercise, keeping the body aerobic meaning with oxygen rather than anaerobic which is a lack of oxygen or an increased amount of carbon dioxide. When the body becomes anaerobic the skin reacts in increase facial redness and rosacea flushing.
Cigarette Induced Facial Flushing & Redness
The many potential hazards and dangers of smoking are well-known; we all hear about lung cancer, an increase in blood pressure and increased lines and wrinkles on the face. But what is the mechanism of action? Smoking creates carbon dioxide and which accumulates in the body producing a gummy tar residue. The lack of or reduction of oxygen causes the immune system to malfunction, Vitamin C levels in the body, essential for collagen production are reduced, this process accelerates the hardening of elastin and the cross linkage of collagen creating a trillion free radicals thus altering and destroying the capillary structure of the skin. All tobacco products are very “acidic with a very low pH of about 2.0 to 2.5″ that sometimes results in oral cancer and lung cancer. The overall body and brain pH should be around 7.4 for healthy tissue, brain, and body functioning. Stopping smoking is the answer for vascular constriction and is in itself a ‘rosacea treatment’ or a ‘rosacea diet’.
Consider what cigarette smoking does to the lungs. The lung tissue is less pliable, receiving less oxygen. A similar thing happens overall to the skin with the epidermis being less pliable and receiving less oxygen with the result being that the “Marlboro Man” has more wrinkles. More important the blood vessels are not as pliable and receive less oxygen, therefore compounding the problem. Stopping smoking is the answer for vascular constriction and is in itself a ‘rosacea treatment’ or a ‘rosacea diet’.
Stress Related Flushing & Redness
Stress and fatigue stimulate the control center of the sympathetic nervous system resulting in facial redness and skin flushing. When these nerves are stimulated the result is a constriction of the blood vessels throughout the body except in the facial area where this action causes dilation or flushing of the skin.
A number of factors can stimulate a sympathetic nervous system response: stress, anxiety, mental or physical fatigue, lack of sleep,and an increase in internal body temperature stimulate the sympathetic nervous system when ‘acid drinks, foods, and cigarettes or any rosacea triggers are consumed.
Rosacea patient’s skin gives off easily detectable heat from the redness that can be picked up with infrared cameras including inexpensive cameras that can be purchased at Walmart and many sporting goods stores as sportsmen and the military have used them for years. Of course the patient’s facial rosacea would provide by far more heat that is obviously visible in a 100% dark room or very dark night than a person without rosacea. And more recently, more cameras can be used in medical technology to detect cancer as more heat is given off the cancer growth. And the rosacea skin can be seen more easily by an infrared camera or an infrared pair of binoculars than the rest of their body or that of a person without facial rosacea. The Japanese scientists are seemingly the most advanced as their cameras can locate single photons. And of course the body heat given off from the body and the rosacea patients has the low and high points of the day depending on the person’s sleep pattern and intake of foods and drinks. The body clock’s metabolic rhythms change throughout the day.