Some years ago during a routine dermatology appointment to treat my adult acne my doctor noted that I also had rosacea. I was surprised as I had no idea that I had this skin condition. I also didn’t know what the term actually meant. It seems that I am not alone. According to the National Rosacea Society 16 million Americans have rosacea. Many people who have rosacea, like me, are sometimes not even aware that they have it. In order to promote a greater understanding of this chronic skin condition, the National Rosacea Society has designated April as National Rosacea Awareness month for 2011.
To do our part, we are going to be discussing this skin condition in a four-part series. In this introductory post we are going to answer some basic questions most people ask about rosacea.
What is rosacea?
Rosacea is a chronic skin disorder which causes inflammation of the facial area including the cheeks, nose chin, forehead, or eyelids. It often looks like the person is flushed or is blushing a lot. In other cases acne-like skin eruptions may occur. The severity of this skin condition varies for each individual. Like most chronic skin disorders, there can be periods of remission and flare-ups. Rosacea can mimic the signs of other skin disorders such as acne or sun burn.
Who gets rosacea?
Fair skinned women who are over the age of thirty are the primary population who develop rosacea. Men also get rosacea but the symptoms are usually more severe. Heredity seems to play a part in who gets rosacea. In a patient survey conducted by The National Rosacea Society, approximately 40 percent of respondents who have rosacea said that they had a relative who had similar symptoms. In my family both my mother and my sister have rosacea.
What are the symptoms of rosacea?
Primary symptoms may include:
• Facial flushing or redness that doesn’t go away easily
• Visible blood vessels on your nose and cheeks
• Red bumps and pimple-like eruptions on the face
• A burning, stinging, and/or itching sensation
What are the stages of severity of rosacea?
There are varying degrees of severity for rosacea symptoms. Here are some of the stages of rosacea. Know that not everyone experiences the possible range of symptoms.
• Stage One: Facial flushing and redness which is persistent. Sometimes blood vessels may appear on the face. Some people experience stinging, burning, and a feeling that their skin is being pulled tight.
• Stage Two: Facial flushing is accompanied by red bumps or pimple-like eruptions and swelling can occur of the nose and cheeks.
• Stage Three: The skin can thicken and there can be swelling and enlargement of the nose (rhinophyma). Think of W. C. Fields.
• Stage Four: Sometimes rosacea can affect the eye. You may experience dry eye, a burning sensation and general irritation causing watery bloodshot eyes. Your may also suffer from itchy, scaly, and inflamed eyelids.
Is there a cure for rosacea?
There is currently no cure for rosacea but there is treatment. The sooner you get treated for your rosacea the better your outcome for preventing it from advancing to more severe stages. In a future post in our rosacea series we are going to be talking about how to treat this skin disorder and much more.
For more information about rosacea please refer to the following MySkinCareConnection articles:
Published On: April 10, 2011