Rosacea is a chronic skin condition which usually appears on the face. It can cause bumps that look similar to acne on the cheeks, nose, forehead, chin and eyelids. It is a lifelong condition most common in women and people with fair skin. It can be managed with lifestyle changes and, if needed, medication. The following are some of the frequently asked questions about this condition.
What Causes Rosacea?
The exact cause of rosacea is not fully understood. It is thought to run in families. People who blush frequently might be at a higher risk of developing rosacea.
What Are the Symptoms of Rosacea?
Rosacea has a number of symptoms, such as:
- Redness of the face, mostly at the center of the face. You might have slight swelling and feel bruised.
- Small red spider-like lines under the skin.
- Bumps on the skin. Some of the bumps can contain pus. Solid bumps can become painful.
- Inflamed, eyes and eyelids. You might have redness, drying, itching, burning, excess tears and feeling that you have sand in your eye.
- Red, swollen nose
- Burning or stinging sensation on the face
- Blushing frequently
- Thicker skin on the forehead, chin, cheeks or other areas affected by rosacea.
Rosacea is most common in women, especially during menopause, people with fair skin and those who tend to blush easily. Rosacea usually develops between the ages of 30 and 50 years old. Symptoms can vary from person to person so you might not have all the symptoms previously listed.
How is Rosacea Diagnosed?
Rosacea is diagnosed through a visual examination of your skin. Your doctor will also ask about your medical history and any family history of rosacea. There is no laboratory test to indicate that you have rosacea.
Does Rosacea Get Worse with Age?
Untreated rosacea can be progressive where it continues to worsen. Early diagnosis and treatment help to slow down the progression. Some women find that the hot flashes during menopause can trigger a rosacea flare-up or even bring on an initial flare.
What Are Some Common Triggers for Rosacea Flare Ups?
While everyone’s triggers might be different, there are some common triggers:
- Heat, including being in the sun and taking hot showers or baths
- Intense or heavy exercise
- Extremely cold temperatures
- Consuming alcohol
- Consuming hot beverages
- Eating spicy foods
It is helpful to keep a log of your rosacea symptoms and flare ups. Write down what you ate, drank and did prior to the flare up to help you keep track of your triggers. Knowing your triggers can help you avoid them in the future.
Can Rosacea Be Cured?
Rosacea is a chronic, lifelong condition. There is no cure for it, however, there are treatments available.
How Is Rosacea Treated?
If you have rosacea, you should see a dermatologist for treatment. Depending on the severity of your symptoms, your doctor might prescribe antibiotics to be taken orally or an antibiotic cream to apply to your face. This will help to reduce any bumps but may not eliminate the redness on your face. Problems with the eyes are normally treated with oral antibiotics.
If you have small red lines under your skin, your doctor might suggest electrosurgery or laser surgery. This can improve the skin with minimal scarring. Other dermatological procedures include having tissue removed from your nose to reduce swollen or bumpy noses.
Are There Lifestyle Changes that Can Help?
Because many people find that flare-ups are caused by certain triggers, an important lifestyle change is to avoid those things that trigger your rosacea. Keeping a log can help you narrow down your triggers. You can then make changes, such as not eating spicy food or avoiding extreme changes in temperature to help reduce rosacea symptoms.
When outside, you should cover your face with a scarf or a ski mask to avoid exposing your skin to the cold temperatures and wind.
Only use cleansers and skin care products that are hypoallergenic to reduce irritating your skin. Avoid products that contain alcohol.
Because stress can be a trigger for rosacea, it is important to learn stress reducing techniques.
Some people find that using a green-tinted foundation helps to cover the redness on your face.
What Is the Best Way to Care for my Skin When I Have Rosacea?
To help protect your skin, you should use a sunscreen on a daily basis. Look for one that protects you from both UVA and UVB rays and has an SPF of at least 30. You should use sunscreen even on cloudy days and during the winter months.
If your eyes are affected, make sure to clean your eyelids as directed by your doctor. You might be told to use a warm washcloth and a small amount of watered down baby shampoo. You can apply a warm compress several times a day.
“Frequently Asked Questions,” Date Unknown, Reviewed and Edited by Dr. Mark Dahl, Rosacea.org
“What Is Rosacea,” 2009, Sept., Staff writer, National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases
Published On: October 09, 2014