Close up of female patient Rosacea

Learn All About Rosacea

At first, rosacea is easy to explain away. It often starts off with the skin on your face being redder, or maybe you’re more prone to blushing or becoming flushed. It’s an easy fix with makeup.

But, if it’s truly rosacea, it will only get worse. An estimated 14 million Americans, which equals about one in 20 people, have rosacea, a chronic skin condition that is more than red skin. Unfortunately, it’s often misdiagnosed with either acne or eczema, sometimes even a skin allergy. The symptoms are all very similar, so it’s easy to get them all confused.

If you’re wanting to know more about rosacea, learn more from the experts at Avail Dermatology.

What is Rosacea?

As described above, rosacea is a skin disorder that most commonly affects the face, though it can sometimes spread to the ears, chest, and back. The degree that people experience it often range from person to person. While some may have some small redness of the cheeks and nose, some people are completely red in the face and even have pus-filled pimples covering their skin.

Due to the large variety of symptoms, rosacea has four different types: 

  • Erythematotelangiectatic rosacea occurs when there is redness, flushing, and “telangiectasia”—tiny “broken capillaries” on the nose and cheeks.
  • Papulopustular rosacea happens when the rosacea becomes more active. This leads to the development of “pimples” and “pus bumps,” similar in appearance to teenage acne, although completely different in cause and treatment.
  • Phymatous rosacea takes places the skin of the nose becomes thickened and bulbous, leading to enlargement and distortion of the nose. It is what WC Fields was known for, although in his case it was incorrectly blamed on alcohol.
  • Ocular rosacea usually has red and irritated eyes: dry gritty and “tired” feeling even when the patient is well-rested. Often the eyelids are involved, with redness and swelling of the edges of the lids, and sometimes, painful “styes” as well.

What are the Symptoms of Rosacea?

We discussed briefly above some of the most common signs, but here is a complete list:

  • Flushing and blushing
  • Constant redness
  • Swelling in the face
  • Super-sensitive skin
  • Acne and other small spots
  • Extra skin around the nose
  • Inflamed blood vessels
  • Sometimes it can even cause issues with the eyes, either making the inside of the eyelids feel swollen or make the eyes look bloodshot.

If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, it’s time to head to a dermatologist to get the official diagnosis.

What is the Main Cause?

Unfortunately, it’s not known what causes rosacea. However, scientists have been able to identify several contributing factors that may eventually lead to rosacea:

  • Those with lighter skin are much more likely to have rosacea.
  • Genetics and family history has been shown to play a part.
  • In some cases, the presence of a microscopic mite known as Demodex in the pores can contribute.
  • There are vascular abnormalities, blood vessels in the skin that are excessively reactive, leading to the redness and flushing that are hallmarks of rosacea.

Scientists and dermatologists are still working to learn more about this disease, and these causes may not necessarily mean anything yet. But it’s good to keep in mind.

What is the Best Treatment?

Just like how the cause of rosacea isn’t known, there is also no cure. Unfortunately, if you do nothing at all to address the issue, the rosacea will only get worse.

The good news is that a combination of medications and lifestyle changes have been shown to improve symptoms. Topical medications, oral antibiotics, and eye drops are common examples of what doctor’s perspective to their patients to assist. Laser treatments can also give cosmetic, and in some cases, medical improvement.

However, there are also a handful of natural treatments that may also help curb symptoms. Easy steps like wearing more sunscreen, avoiding spicy foods, and not using skin products with alcohol may make the symptoms better for you. Ask your dermatologist which ones might be best for you to try.

If you have any more questions about rosacea or need help figuring out the best treatment plan for what you’re experiencing, click here to make an appointment with Avail Dermatology.