Living with Rosacea

Rosacea is a skin condition that causes redness of the face. Early on, the main symptom of rosacea is a tendency to blush easily, but as the condition worsens, facial redness may be present all the time. The redness starts on the nose, chin, cheeks and forehead, and can eventually spread to the ears, chest and back.

Not all rosacea is the same. There are four subtypes, each with its own characteristics. Those with erythematotelangiectatic rosacea experience redness, flushing and prominent blood vessels, while those with papulopustular rosacea are also prone to acne-like skin breakouts. Phymatous rosacea produces thick, bumpy skin and ocular rosacea causes the eyes to become red, swollen and irritated. It is important to see a dermatologist to identify the type of rosacea you have, since treatment varies between types.

Rosacea is a common and is typically diagnosed in individuals between the ages of 30 to 50 years-of-age. The exact cause of rosacea isn’t clear, but you are more likely to get rosacea if you have family members with the condition or if you are fair-skinned with light hair and blue eyes.

Treatment options are based on the type of rosacea as well as signs and symptoms. Oral and topical medications, including skin repair creams and antibiotics, can help control symptoms. Light treatments, such as lasers, can be used to treat areas of thick skin and diminish the appearance blood vessels. Your dermatologist may also perform dermabrasion or electrocautery to reduce redness and minimize the blood vessels and skin symptoms.

Early treatment of rosacea reduces symptoms and helps prevent the condition from worsening. Over-the-counter solutions and home remedies are not recommended since many can actually cause symptoms to flare.

Rosacea can’t be prevented, but there are some things you can do to reduce flare-ups. Wear sunscreen daily, avoid stress, limit heavy exercise, stay away from spicy foods and hot beverages, avoid red wine and other alcohol, and protect skin from the wind and cold. Symptoms of rosacea often come and go, learning your triggers and following a skin-care plan can minimize symptoms and reduce the number of flare-ups.

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