Rosacea Is Among the More Common Skin Conditions

In the United States, an estimated 16 million people have rosacea, with fair-skinned individuals having a higher incidence. This common condition usually affects the eyes and face. However, some people experience symptoms elsewhere on their body, such as their chest and neck. Middle-aged women are most often affected, but anyone can develop rosacea. Other risk factors include having a family history of the condition, being over age 30 and smoking.

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While environmental and hereditary factors are believed to play a role in the development of rosacea, the exact cause is unknown. Experts believe that flare-ups may be triggered by the following:

  • Spicy foods and hot drinks
  • Temperature extremes
  • Emotions
  • Certain blood pressure medicines and others that cause blood vessel dilation
  • Alcoholic beverages
  • Wind or sunlight
  • Exercise
  • A variety of cosmetic products

What Does Rosacea Look Like?

It is not uncommon for rosacea to initially be mistaken for other skin conditions, such as natural ruddiness or acne. Exploring the characteristic symptoms and having a realistic picture of how this condition presents can help you to differentiate rosacea from conditions with a similar presentation.

Facial redness is the most common symptom associated with this condition. It occurs because the blood vessels in your cheeks or nose become visible as a result of swelling. This redness typically occurs in the central region of your face and is persistent.

Eye problems are common among people with rosacea. Your eyes may become irritated, swollen and dry. Swelling and redness can affect your eyelids. In some cases, you will notice the symptoms in your eyes before your skin is affected.

Red, swollen bumps may develop on your face, They can look a lot like acne, especially when they contain pus. In addition, the affected areas of your face may feel tender and hot. You might also develop hard bumps that are a yellowish-brown in color around your eyes or mouth.

Your skin can develop dry patches, especially if you have a darker complexion. These areas may also appear swollen.

Nose enlargement is another possible issue that can occur with rosacea. Men are more likely to experience this symptom than women are. Your nose can start to look bulbous due to the skin thickening. In most cases, this develops over time, typically taking years to become apparent.

Preventing and Treating Rosacea

There is no cure for this condition, but there are treatments that can help you to manage your symptoms. This typically involves a combination of medicines and skincare.

When it comes to skincare, use products that are gentle and free from soaps and alcohol. Your doctor can also recommend a good moisturizer that is lightweight, but able to soothe your skin and combat dryness. It is also important to always wear SPF 30 or higher sunscreen since sun can trigger your symptoms.

Your symptoms and their severity will determine which medications your doctor prescribes. For some people, using more than one is necessary for symptom management. If your condition is mild to moderate, a gel or a cream that goes directly onto your skin may be beneficial. Some people start noticing a reduction in their symptoms within 12 hours of using these medicines. The most common types work to affect your blood vessels, so regular application is important to maintain improvement.

There are other topical medicines that are prescribed to help with the pimples that can occur with this condition. However, it generally takes longer to start noticing the results. If the bumps and pimples that you develop are severe, oral antibiotics might be prescribed. 

In the most severe cases where people do not respond to other treatments, oral acne drugs might be considered. These are powerful and can cause a host of side effects, so they are never a first line of treatment. When prescribed, they may help with the acne like lesions that occur with this skin condition.

There are some other therapy options too. Light-based therapies, such as laser therapy, can help to decrease the facial redness that is associated with blood vessel enlargement. You might need to have repeat treatments to maintain your results. Your doctor will recommend a schedule for these.

There is no way to absolutely prevent rosacea since the exact cause is unknown. However, knowing your triggers and avoiding them can be helpful for reducing your risk of exaggerated symptoms.