What You Should Know About Rosacea

Rosacea is a common skin disorder affecting the appearance of facial skin in over 16 million people. The disease causes redness on the face and, sometimes, eyes. Patients suffering with rosacea may also have tiny pimples or visible blood vessels under the skin. Rosacea is most common in women and people with fair skin, and most often affects middle-aged and older adults.

There are four types of Rosacea:

  • Erythematotelangiectatic rosacea – Redness, flushing, visible blood vessels.
  • Papulopustular rosacea – Redness, swelling, and acne-like breakouts.
  • Phymatous rosacea – Skin thickens and has a bumpy texture.
  • Ocular rosacea – Eyes red and irritated, eyelids can be swollen, and sty-like bumps.

In most cases, rosacea only affects the face, however some individuals may have patches of rosacea on their neck, arms, or back. Common symptoms include:

  • Frequent redness of the face, or flushing
  • Small, red lines under the skin
  • Acne
  • A swollen nose
  • Thick skin, usually on the forehead, chin, and cheeks
  • Red, dry, itchy eyes and sometimes vision problems

Left untreated, symptoms can worsen. Overtime, the redness becomes darker and more persistent. Doctors are not exactly sure what causes the disease. Individuals are more likely to develop rosacea if other close family members have the disease. It is suspected that certain risk factors may leave an individual more prone to developing rosacea. Common risk factors include:

  • Light skin, blonde hair, and blue eyes
  • Being between the ages 30 and 50
  • Being a woman
  • Having family members with rosacea
  • A history of severe acne
  • Tobacco use

While rosacea is not dangerous, there is no cure and early treatment is essential for minimizing symptoms and long-term damage to the skin. Treatment of rosacea begins with identifying any environmental, dietary, or lifestyle triggers that may be causing flare-ups. Common triggers for rosacea include becoming overheated, having cold wind blowing on your face, and eating spicy foods. It’s important to find out what causes your rosacea to flare and avoid those triggers. Your doctor will also discuss the importance of protecting your skin with sunscreen and a proper skincare regimen. Then, depending on the type and severity of your symptoms, topical prescription medication may be recommended.

For individuals who are concerned about persistent redness on their face, a dermatologist will be able to offer them a proper diagnosis and treatment plan.

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