Rosacea refers to the recurring skin condition that appears as small, red bumps that can easily be mistaken for acne, an allergic reaction or even sunburn.
It commonly appears on the forehead, nose, and/or cheeks. The cause of this skin condition is still undetermined and considered incurable.
However, scientists and doctors have developed a series of treatments that can help control and minimize the symptoms of the condition.
Rosacea has four subtypes, with each subtype having its own symptoms. It is possible to have 2 subtypes of rosacea at the same time.
If you have rosacea, you will suffer its different symptoms up to months, then the symptoms will subside for a short while until the symptoms come back.
Who can get it?
Rosacea can happen to anyone but usually occurs in middle-aged women who have pale or light complexions. While it is incurable, there are available treatments that aid in reducing the signs and symptoms of rosacea.
If you observe constant redness of the face, go to your doctor and ask for a diagnosis and treatment.
What causes it?
The exact cause of rosacea is still undetermined. Researchers think it may either be hereditary or environmental or a combination of both.
For people who already have rosacea, the following will make the symptoms worse:
- the presence of cathelicidins (antimicrobial peptides)
- having Demodex (a skin mite) and the bacterium it carries (called Bacillus oleronius)
- having Helicobacter pylori in the stomach
- drinking alcohol
- eating spicy foods
What are the risk factors?
As previously mentioned, rosacea can happen to anyone. However, you are more susceptible to developing it if you are:
- A female
- Middle-aged (30 years old or over)
- Pale or light-skinned
- A smoker
The factors above can make a person more vulnerable to rosacea. Heredity can also be a factor, so if you have a family member that once had rosacea, you may also be susceptible to developing it.
People whose ancestors are of Celtic or Scandinavian descent are also likely to develop rosacea.
Since this condition commonly occurs in people from ages 30 to 50, you shouldn’t be worrying about having it if you are way younger than 30.
Women have higher chances of developing this skin condition than men, but that doesn’t mean men are immune to it. As a matter of fact, men who have rosacea suffer more dreadful symptoms.
What are the different types?
Rosacea has four subtypes:
- The first one is called erythematotelangiectatic rosacea or ETR. If you have this subtype, your skin will experience redness and flushing on your skin, you may also notice that some of your blood vessels have become more visible.
- The second subtype is called papulopustular rosacea. Similar to ETR, you will also experience redness and flushing, but this time with the company of breakouts that look like adult acne.
- The third subtype is called rhinophyma. This subtype makes the nose’s skin thick and bumpy and is usually found in men who have rosacea.
- The fourth and final subtype is called ocular rosacea. This subtype affects the eye area; you may experience irritation and redness in your eyes and swollen eyelids.
People who have rosacea can suffer multiple subtypes all at once.
What are the symptoms?
The symptoms and signs of rosacea vary from subtype to subtype. The following are the symptoms of ETR:
- Redness and flushing, particularly at the center part of the face
- visible blood vessels or spider veins
- Dry and scaly skin
- sensitive skin
- swollen skin
- Stinging sensation on the skin
The following are the symptoms of papulopustular rosacea:
- Breakouts that look a lot like acne
- Skin redness
- Visible blood vessels
- Skin oiliness
- Skin sensitivity
- raised skin patches
The following are the symptoms of rosacea in the eyes:
- Eyes are often watery
- Eyes experience a gritty sensation
- Eyes experience a stinging sensation
- Eyes become dry and itchy
- Eyes experience sensitivity to light
- Blurry vision
- visible blood vessels near eyelids
The following are the symptoms of thickening skin:
- thick skin on nose
- bumpy skin texture
- thick skin on ears, cheeks, chin, and forehead
- huge pores
- burst blood vessels
How is it diagnosed?
Rosacea is easily diagnosed by performing physical skin examinations. You may be referred to a dermatologist once the exam results are out.
The dermatologist will determine if you are positive for rosacea or if you’re suffering a different skin condition with similar symptoms and may recommend an adapted treatment for the condition you are suffering.
How can it be treated?
Rosacea is incurable, however, there are certain practices that you can do to help control and reduce your symptoms. Be gentle with your skin and take good care of it. Skin care is essential for minimizing the symptoms that you are experiencing.
Use cleansers that are gentle and other skin care products that are oil-free and water-based. As much as possible, avoid skin care products that have the following ingredients:
- witch hazel
- Menthol; and
- exfoliating agents
Those ingredients may act as potential irritants and worsen your symptoms. Discuss with your doctor what treatment plan would work best for your symptoms.
Usually, the treatment will involve a regimen that includes antibiotics, oral and topical. Write down whatever food you consume or skin products you use.
This is to help you keep track of which of the foods or products might worsen your condition. Additionally, the following practices can also aid in controlling and reducing rosacea symptoms:
- Avoiding exposure to direct sunlight
- Always wear sunscreen
- Avoiding alcohol beverages
How is it prevented?
Here are some practices you can do to reduce the symptoms of rosacea and prevent them from getting any worse.
- If your symptoms are no longer tolerable, visit a dermatologist and ask for treatments that will keep the symptoms under control.
- Keep a journal of the foods that you eat and drink, the skin products you use, and the activities that you do throughout each day. This will come in handy if you experience any flare-ups. You can go back to your journal and check which one might have triggered your flare-ups.
- Avoid the sun between 10 AM and 4 PM as much as you can. Always wear sunscreen, even if you are indoors. Wear a hat or a visor when going outside to further protect your face from direct sunlight.
- Use only skin products that contain gentle ingredients. Do not harshly rub your skin with your hands or a scrub.
- Do not neglect your eyes. Wash your eyelids gently with a gentle eye product, use artificial tears if your eyes are feeling dry. If you often experience eye irritation, it is best to consult your doctor about it and ask if you’re going to need any kind of medicine for it.
If you have rosacea, just follow the tips listed above to help you manage the symptoms better. If you want to read more about skin conditions click on the links below.