If you were a blushing bride (literally!) or are plagued with raw flaky skin most of the time, you may have rosacea, a chronic skin condition that causes redness or blushing, usually on the cheeks, nose, skin and forehead. More than half of rosacea sufferers also experience eye symptoms, such as blood-shot eyes or a gritty feeling, according to the Canadian Dermatology Assocation. Rosacea typically develops in adults with fair skin, ages 30 to 50 and is often misdiagnosed as acne. It affects more women but when men develop rosacea, it seems to be more severe. Left untreated, rosacea may lead to the skin tissue on the nose becoming thick, swollen and bumpy. Nearly three quarters of rosacea sufferers have reported feelings of low self-esteem.
Rosacea causes Rosacea appears to be caused by a combination of genetic and environmental factors, which may include the immune system and a family history. Rosacea can be triggered by hot and cold weather, stress, sun exposure and spicy foods.
Rosacea symptoms In addition to redness, rosacea can cause tiny, pus-filled pimples and enlarged blood vessels, which give the skin a rough uneven appearance. Depending on the severity of the rosacea, the skin may sting or feel dry, burning or flaky.
Rosacea diagnosis/tests It’s important to get diagnosed early with rosacea to keep it under control. Your doctor will examine the skin on your face for enlarged blood vessels. You may also be referred to a dermatologist for diagnosis and treatment.
Rosacea treatment There’s no cure for rosacea and it may worsen over time if left untreated. It can be managed with lifestyle changes and medications. Topical antimicrobials, oral or topical antibiotics, and steroid creams reduce redness and inflammation. Laser therapy is sometimes recommended to treat visible red blood vessels.
Rosacea prevention Avoid the factors that will trigger a rosacea flare-up by causing the blood vessels under the skin to dilate, such as drinking alcohol, eating spicy foods, exercising, stress and being outdoors in cold or humid conditions. Sun exposure is a common trigger so always wear sun block and protective clothing when you’re outside.
Canadian Dermatology Association