Rosacea is a chronic condition characterized by redness and inflammation of the skin around the nose, cheeks and forehead. The exact cause of rosacea is unknown and the triggers can vary from case to case. According to Rosacea.org, the most common triggers include sun exposure, emotional stress and heat. Rosacea can also be irritated by allergies to foods or ingredients in cosmetics. There is no known cure. However, because vitamins play a key role in the composition and maintenance of skin, supplementation may be helpful.
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Niacinamide, also known as vitamin B3, has anti-inflammatory effects and is a key ingredient in commercial acne medications. A study conducted by researchers at the Wake Forest University School of Medicine in North Carolina, published in the August 2005 volume of "Cutaneous Medicine for the Practitioner," tested the effects of topical applications of niacinamide on rosacea. The results showed that moisturizers containing niacinamide can strengthen the skin barrier and improve the symptoms of rosacea.
Vitamin C, in the form of L-ascorbic acid, has anti-inflammatory effects that act specifically on the blood vessels which can reduce redness and irritation of the skin. Vitamin C can also control the release of histamine, a chemical that dilates the blood vessels during an allergic reaction. Because it can reduce redness and prevent excess blood flow to the skin, vitamin C may be beneficial in controlling the swelling and redness associated with rosacea.
Retinol, a form of vitamin A, is a powerful antioxidant that can penetrate the skin barrier and provide protection against irritants. Topical retinol was found to be effective against rosacea caused by sun-exposure in a study published by the July 2008 issue of "Journal of Drugs in Dermatology." The study was preformed by researchers at The Center for Dermatology and Dermatologic Surgery in Washington, D.C.
Some patients suffering from rosacea may find retinol-based products harsh and other vitamin A derivatives are being researched as potential alternatives.
Vitamin E refers to eight different chemicals that act to strengthen and protect the skin from sun damage. Vitamin E is particularly active in the stratum corneum, the layer of skin responsible for protection against the elements. The antioxidant properties of vitamin E may help the skin to recovery from stress from environmental toxins. This protective quality of vitamin E may be effective at reducing irritation associated with rosacea.
Because the cause and trigger of rosacea can vary, the effectiveness of treatments will also change. Some topical treatments may have negative results on rosacea. Always consult your doctor before begin any self-treatment.