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What Is Couperose?

There are numerous types of skin conditions that we may experience throughout our lives and today I want to highlight one specific type of issue known as couperose.

Couperose skin is characterized by the visible presence of capillaries which are usually bright red in color and occur due to poor elasticity of the capillary walls.  Couperose is a condition where the skin appears red and flushed, particularly on the neck, cheeks and nose, due to the presence of small, dilated red blood vessels.

While it is similar to rosacea in that both cause a red complexion, the conditions themselves are different. With couperose, skin appears red, dry, and tight, but is not inflamed. Meanwhile, rosacea symptoms include excessive inflammation, as well as bumps on the skin. Be sure to consult a dermatologist to determine which skin condition you may have.

What Causes Couperose? 

Couperose is caused by both external and genetic factors.  A thicker, darker skin with normal or slightly increased sebum is less likely to fall victim to couperose due to its increased insulation; while a thin, fair, dry skin is much more vulnerable. When the intrinsic predisposition of our skin is combined with external aggressions, the development of couperose accelerates.

People with thin or weak elasticity of the capillary walls of their skin are more likely to develop couperose. With normal, healthy skin, capillaries expand to make room for the increase in blood flow whenever there is a sudden rush of blood to the face. These capillaries then contract and return to their original size afterwards. For people with weak elasticity however, these capillaries expand, but are not strong enough to return to their normal state. They remain dilated, which eventually causes couperose skin.

Here are some risk factors that can lead to couperose:

  • Extreme and sudden changes of temperature
  • Sun exposure
  • Stress
  • Exercise or working in high heat conditions
  • Pollution
  • Hot drinks and spicy food
  • Alcohol and cigarettes
  • Medical conditions, such as high blood pressure
  • Harsh or incorrect use of skincare products
  • Heredity

 

How To Treat It

Be sure to see a dermatologist as soon as symptoms occur; treatment followed immediately after the first symptoms can actually stop the condition and prevent recurrence. Here are some treatments that have been known to help with couperose skin:

 

  • Cryotherapy: A relatively new treatment where the body is briefly exposed to very cold temperatures in order to promote healing

 

  • Drainage massage: Supports the flushing of toxins from the body

 

  • Chamomile: To reduce redness use Chamomile extract, which soothes and calms redness on the skin

 

  • Moisturize: This is crucial in reducing the appearance of redness ingredients with hydrating properties (like oatmeal) may be used to help fight redness while still retaining the skin’s moisture. 

 

  • Wash your face with lukewarm water: Very hot or very cold water can cause blood to rush to the face, leading to more redness

 

  • Broad-spectrum SPF 30+. Sun exposure can exacerbate couperose symptoms, so apply sunscreen daily to protect against irritation, sunburn, damage and skin cancer.

 

  • IPL & CO2 laser treatment - The IPL technique is a non-laser technology which uses light radiation and a controlled wavelength. It can reduce the signs of couperose in a gentle, non invasive way, without pain or deterioration of the skin. Laser treatments can also be effective in minimizing or eliminating couperose.

 

  • Cleanser: Choose a light, hypo-allergenic cleansing lotion that will not strip your skin of its natural oils. To dry your skin, lightly pat your face with a soft towel, taking care not to rub the skin because this could irritate it.