Skin conditions are typically unpleasant and inconvenient. You may be experiencing breakouts, hives, pimples, and/or rashes on your skin and you are not quite sure what it is or what is causing your skin to react like this. There are several reasons why your skin could be reacting like this. this could be a sign of a skin condition. The list of skin conditions is extensive.
It includes but is not limited to eczema, acne, psoriasis, and vitiligo. Whilst these are common skin conditions that most people are aware of, there are other conditions that many people might have never heard of. One such skin condition is Rosacea.
What is Rosacea?
Rosacea is a common skin condition. It usually occurs on the face. This condition is long-term and the cause is unknown. This skin condition affects millions of people worldwide but some persons are more at risk than others. Rosacea can be classified into four different types. Each type of Rosacea comes with its own symptoms. One thing that must be noted is that it is possible to have more than one type of this skin condition. A person can be affected by two or more types of Rosacea at the same time. Rosacea is typically marked by cyclical flare-ups. This means that symptoms may last for weeks or months then disappear for a while. These symptoms will eventually return and the cycle continues like this. During flare-ups, you will notice small red bumps on the skin.
These pumps are filled with pus. Rosacea commonly appears on the area of your face that secretes the most oil; your t-zone. Your t-zone includes your nose, forehead, and cheeks. This is where symptoms of Rosacea are visible. A cure for this skin condition is yet to be discovered. However, scientists have researched this condition for years. This research has led to various treatments being developed for Rosacea. So, whilst there is no cure for this skin condition, there are treatments available to reduce symptoms.
Symptoms of Rosacea
The most common symptom of Rosacea is the redness of the face. This skin condition causes the central part of your face to be persistently red. Blood vessels on the cheek and nose become extremely visible as they become swollen. Pus-filled bumps that are sometimes mistaken for acne because of their similarities are also symptoms of Rosacea. These will cause your skin to feel tender. Rosacea also affects your eyes. This skin condition often results in eye problems. Occasionally, symptoms of Rosacea are visible in the eyes before the skin becomes affected. Rosacea can also affect the nose. Symptoms of Rosacea depends on the type or types of Rosacea you have.
Types of Rosacea
1) Erythematotelangiectatic Rosacea (ETR)
Another name for this type of Rosacea is Vascular Rosacea. Erythematotelangiectatic Rosacea causes the skin to become flushed. The face becomes red and blood vessels become obvious. When the face becomes flushed, it may last for more than ten minutes. This is usually the result of a particular stimulus. Possible stimuli include hot or cold weather, foods containing a lot of spice, emotional stress, showers or baths that are hot, alcohol, exercise, hot drinks and, emotional stress.
Symptoms often associated with this ETR are:
- The centre of the face is flushed and red
- Blood vessels are broken and can be seen through the skin
- Skin becomes swollen
- Sensitive skin
- Skin feels like its burning or stinging
- Skin appears to be scaly and is rough and dry
2) Papulopustular Rosacea
This type of Rosacea is also commonly called Acne Rosacea. Papulopustular Rosacea mostly affects middle-aged women. This skin condition causes breakouts that resemble acne; hence the name.
Symptoms often associated with Papulopustular Rosacea are:
- Breakouts that look like acne
- Redness of the skin
- Skin becomes oily
- Patches of skin are raised
Rhynophyma is a rare form of Rosacea. This is characterised by the skin on your nose becoming thicker. This type of Rosacea is more common among men than women. Also, it usually does not occur alone. Rhynophyma is usually accompanied by one or more of the other types of Rosacea.
Symptoms often associated with Rhymophyma are:
- The texture of your skin becomes bumpy
- The skin on your nose becomes thicker
- Thickening of the skin on your ears, forehead, chin, and cheeks
- Blood vessels are visibly broken
- Pores are enlarged
4) Ocular Rosacea
This type of Rosacea is inflammation. Ocular Rosacea affects your eyes and causes them to burn, itch, and become red.
Symptoms often associated with Ocular Rosacea are:
- Eyes become watery and bloodshot
- Grittiness of the eyes
- Eyes become dry and itchy
- Vision problems
- Blood vessels in the eyelids are broken
- Eye cysts
- Your eyes burn
What causes Rosacea?
The exact cause of Rosacea is unknown. Scientists are yet to prove exactly what causes this skin condition. However, they have been able to determine things that trigger it. Being exposed to extreme temperatures is one trigger for Rosacea. Other triggers include exercise, stress, and harsh sunburns. It may also be triggered by things you eat. Caffeinated beverages and anything containing caffeine have been proven to trigger Rosacea. Cheese, alcohol, spicy foods, and foods that are highly concentrated with histamines are also triggers.
Rosacea may also be triggered by things you put on your skin. Flare-ups have been proven to be triggered by certain topical medications and creams. Also, certain treatments that are used for wrinkles and acne have reportedly been triggers for Rosacea. Some of these triggers include chemical peels and microdermabrasion. Also if benzoyl peroxide and isotretinoin are used in high doses, they could trigger Rosacea.
When used, topical steroids can also be triggers. Steroids that are usually prescribed for certain types of dermatitis have reportedly caused symptoms of Rosacea. However, you should not stop using this suddenly. If you do, it will cause flare-ups. You should slowly reduce the dosage until you can stop using it. Bacteria and genetics have also been said to be reasons for Rosacea.
Studies have shown that some people are more prone to developing Rosacea than others. Rosacea mostly affects middle-aged people. This skin condition commonly affects people ages 30 through to 50. Also, if your complexion is light, you have a higher chance of having Rosacea than someone with a darker complexion. Other persons at risk for this skin condition are those with blue eyes and have blonde hair. So, Rosacea is most commonly diagnosed in Caucasians, especially those from Eastern or Northern Europe.
Another risk factor of Rosacea is genetics. Like many other illnesses, Rosacea can be pass on through genes. A person born of Scandinavian or Celtic ancestry is at a higher risk of developing Rosacea than others born of different ethnicities. Also, if your family has a history of Rosacea, there is a strong possibility that you will develop this skin condition as well. Rosacea is also more prevalent among one gender than the other. More women are diagnosed with Rosacea than their male counterparts. Also, women going through menopause have a higher chance of getting this chronic skin condition. However, men are still very much at risk. Men with Rosacea tend to have symptoms that are more severe than what women experience.
Unfortunately, there is no existing test to diagnose Rosacea. Doctors rely on your symptoms and their history to determine your condition. Your doctor will examine your skin to identify your symptoms and give you a diagnosis. However, doctors also use the process of elimination to determine whether or not your symptoms are a sign of Rosacea or some other skin condition. Tests are done to identify other possible skin conditions like eczema, psoriasis, and lupus. This is because symptoms of these other skin conditions are similar to those of Rosacea. Once these are ruled out, doctors are better able to determine if your symptoms are connected to Rosacea.
Rosacea is rarely formally diagnosed. People who have this skin condition typically have mild redness on their faces. This is the most common symptom and what is mostly used to identify this skin condition. In most cases, Rosacea is diagnosed when a medical professional does a visual examination of your skin. However, sometimes it is harder to determine whether or not a person has Rosacea.
When symptoms present themselves on parts of the face where they would not normally appear, it is more difficult to identify the skin condition. In this case, common treatments for Rosacea are used to confirm the diagnosis. This chronic skin condition is regularly mistaken for seborrhoeic dermatitis or acne vulgaris. Although symptoms of Rosacea sometimes present themselves on other parts of your body besides your face, in most cases this is a sign of another condition or one that is co-existing with Rosacea. Be it that Rosacea primarily affects the face, if you experience rashes on your ears or scalp, there is a possibility that something else is wrong.
How to treat Rosacea?
Although there is no cure for Rosacea, there are ways to treat and control the symptoms. The type of treatment used is dependent on the type of Rosacea and the symptoms that accompany each type. Mild cases are not usually treated. People usually use cosmetic products to hide flare-ups.
Treatments used for Rosacea are specifically designed to target the different symptoms. Since this chronic skin condition cannot be cured, the various treatments are designed to reduce symptoms. When treating Rosacea the goal is to reduce redness and minimise the presence of inflammatory lesions. Also, when Rosacea is treated other symptoms such as tenderness, itching, and burning are reduced. Treatments also make flare-ups less intense, last for shorter periods, and cause them to occur less frequently.
There are two main types of treatments for Rosacea. These are oral antibiotics and topical treatments. Also, laser treatments are sometimes used. The use of medication to treat Rosacea is temporarily effective. Medications usually result in the reduction of redness when used for a few weeks. However, if you should stop using this medication your symptoms will return soon after. When Rosacea is treated long-term, some patients have been able to permanently control the condition. It is usually necessary to treat Rosacea for a lifetime since it cannot be cured. Fortunately for some people, they have experienced permanent remission of their symptoms. However, without treatment, Rosacea can get worst over time.
Certain medications are used to treat bumps, redness, and other symptoms that are associated with Rosacea. Medications that have been proven to work are creams that contain azelaic acid, brimonidine, isotretinoin, and metronidazole.
- Azelaic acid: This is a topical foam or gel. It is used for treating swelling, bumps, and redness. Azelaic acid is believed to reduce the production of cathelicidin. This is effective because people who have Rosacea have elevated levels of this polypeptide.
- Brimonidine: This gel effectively reduces redness caused by Rosacea and other skin conditions. It works by tightening the blood vessels in your face.
- Isotretinoin: This is a drug used to treat acne that is also good for treating symptoms of Rosacea. It helps to get rid of bumps. However, this can result in severe birth defects. So, if you are pregnant you should seek other treatments.
- Metronidazole: This treatment is used to decrease swelling and redness. This antibiotic is used on your skin to kill bacteria.
These medications must be used for a few weeks or months before you start seeing improvements in your skin. There are also other treatments that your doctor might recommend.
- Laser treatment: As mentioned previously, visible blood vessels are a symptom of Rosacea. Laser treatment is used to decrease the visibility of these blood vessels.
- Dermabrasion: This treatment involves sanding off the skin’s top layer.
- Electrocautery: This treatment uses an electric current. This current is used to repair damaged blood vessels.
- Chemical peels: Peels that use alpha-hydroxy acid have been proven to effectively treat symptoms of Rosacea. Chemical peels help to reduce redness and pustules.
Do’s and Don’ts when dealing with Rosacea
There are many things you can do or avoid doing to prevent the onset of Rosacea symptoms. This skin condition has various triggers and things that can reduce symptoms. Here are some things you should and should not do to help prevent flare-ups or decrease the intensity of these.
I. Avoid being overly exposed to sunlight. Sunlight has been proven to be a trigger for Rosacea. A decent idea is to wear sunscreen that has SPF 30 or more every day. Also, some people opt to wear broad hats to forestall the sun from hitting your skin. All in all, the aim is to cut back your exposure to sunlight so you’ll avoid symptoms of Rosacea being triggered.
II. Use moisturiser to forestall dry skin. This is often especially important during cold and windy conditions.
III. The products you utilise for skincare must be gentle. Creams and cleansers that use alcohol as an ingredient are triggers for Rosacea. Also, scented skin care products and witch hazel are harmful.
IV. When you wash your face, always use a soft, dry cloth to softly pat your face to dry it.
V. Massaging your face helps with Rosacea. Gently massage your skin in an exceedingly circular motion. It’s best to begin in the middle of your face and continue this circular motion towards your ears.
VI. Rosacea affects the eyes so it’s important to take care of them. If your eyes became red and irritated by Rosacea, you must use an eyelid cleaner or mild baby shampoo to rinse your eyelids daily. Also, you’ll reduce irritation by placing a warm compress on your eyes several times every day.
VII. Avoid stress. Stress may be a common trigger for Rosacea so minimising stress will help to cut back symptoms. There are many steps you can take to relax. You simply must find what works for you.
I. If you suffer from Rosacea you ought to not drink alcoholic beverages. Alcohol maybe a common trigger for Rosacea symptoms and should avoided.
II. Avoid hot drinks. Drinking hot drinks has been linked to triggering symptoms of this chronic skin condition.
III. You ought to limit how much caffeine you consume. Caffeine is usually found in coffee, colas, tea, and chocolate. If you want to consume these, do so in small amounts.
IV. Cheese could be a trigger for Rosacea symptoms. If you’ve got this skin condition, you must not eat cheese.
V. Spicy foods should be avoided.
VI. While exercise is nice for your health, strenuous exercises like running or jogging may be harmful if you’ve got Rosacea. You must avoid these and choose mild exercises.
Coping with Rosacea
Chronic illnesses are hard to deal with. While Rosacea affects your physical appearance, it also has emotional and psychological effects. If you have issues coping, you’ll be able to get support. There are online chat rooms and groups that you simply can join to get the support you need. Sharing your experience with people who can relate and listening to theirs will help.
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