Rosacea

By:    Published: November 10, 2011

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What is It?

Rosacea is a skin condition that occurs around the face, primarily affecting the cheeks, nose, forehead and chin. It is identified as patches of redness and can even take on the form of pimples, which is why it is sometimes confused with acne. While the condition isn't exactly life threatening, it can be very embarrassing, causing social discomforts. If left untreated, there is a possibility that the condition can get worse. Rosacea has been described as a type of permanent blush on a person's face. It is considered a long-term condition, though it may come and go throughout a person's life. Rosacea is commonly referred to as "adult acne," since the majority of those affected are between the ages of 30 and 50.

Causes

While an actual cause has yet to be attributed to rosacea, it is widely common among individuals with fair skin, primarily hailing from northwestern Europe. According to the National Library of Medicine, the following people are at a higher risk for developing rosacea:

  • Those who are fair-skinned
  • People who blush easily
  • Women are more likely to be affected by rosacea, although men experience more severe cases
  • Individuals between the ages of 30 and 50
  • Anyone with parents or family members who have rosacea are more likely to be affected by the skin condition themselves

While there is no real explanation as to the cause of this skin condition, certain circumstances can cause existing rosacea to flare up and become more severe:

  • Skin disorders
  • Situations that would commonly cause a person to blush or turn red like embarrassment, stress, anxiety or anger
  • Strenuous activity like exercise or manual labor
  • Alcohol consumption
  • Spicy food
  • Sunburn
  • Overheating

Symptoms

While the most obvious symptom of rosacea is redness in the affected facial areas, there are other symptoms that separate this skin condition from others:

  • Burning around the affected areas
  • Eye irritation
  • The appearance of small, red veins around the face
  • Small cysts or bumps that resemble acne and may even contain pus
  • In some cases, rosacea that appears on the nose can cause it to become bulbous, with small bumps appearing primarily around the nose, and sometimes on the cheek

Treatment and Prevention

While there is no known cure for rosacea, certain treatments can be performed to alleviate discomfort and reduce skin flare-ups. Depending on the severity of a person's rosacea, there are several options that a dermatologist might recommend:

  • Makeup: For mild cases of rosacea, the affected person might want to look into certain types of makeup to cover the affected areas. It is important to avoid any makeup products that can induce an allergic reaction.
  • Medication: Antibiotics and certain medicines can be prescribed to control a person's rosacea to prevent the condition from becoming worse. These medications can also be effective for reducing redness and treating pimples.
  • Medical procedures: Those affected by rosacea can talk to their dermatologist to see if cosmetic, medical procedures like dermabrasion are possible forms of treatment.
  • Proper skin care: It is important for individuals suffering from rosacea to take proper care of their skin. Regular application of sunscreen, skin care products and gently cleansing the skin so as not to irritate it are important factors for controlling rosacea.
  • Reduce emotional stressors: Avoid stressful situations that may cause rosacea to flare-up. Yoga, meditation and light exercises can be useful for relieving stress and other emotional states that can make rosacea worse.
  • Keep a log: Whether it is a particular temperature, a type of food or a certain activity, those diagnosed with rosacea should keep a log of possible triggers that might cause their condition to flare-up.

Dealing with Rosacea

A physical inspection of a person's outbreak is typically all that is needed to diagnose rosacea. Rosacea is not life threatening, but can lead to serious psychological issues like low self-esteem, depression and social awkwardness. It is important to contact a physician immediately upon discovering a possible outbreak of rosacea so that it can be diagnosed and treated. While the condition cannot be cured, a physician can help reduce the outbreak.

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