Rosacea

Over 16 million Americans suffer from rosacea. This chronic skin condition has no cure and the cause is still unidentified even today. Thanks to research, doctors now have a better grasp of how to treat and manage the condition and keep symptoms under control. Rosacea has four identified subtypes with each having their own symptoms. People suffering from this skin condition can possibly develop more than just a single subtype at a given time. Perhaps the most common symptom associated with this condition are the small, red bumps that show up on the patient’s skin once it flares up. These bumps are typically filled with pus. The symptoms will generally show up on the skin on the cheeks, forehead and nose. Flare-ups tend to happen in cycles. A patient could exhibit the symptoms for months or weeks after which they disappear just to return again.

Over 16 million Americans suffer from rosacea. This chronic skin condition has no cure and the cause is still unidentified even today. Thanks to research, doctors now have a better grasp of how to treat and manage the condition and keep symptoms under control. Rosacea has four identified subtypes with each having their own symptoms. People suffering from this skin condition can possibly develop more than just a single subtype at a given time. Perhaps the most common symptom associated with this condition are the small, red bumps that show up on the patient’s skin once it flares up. These bumps are typically filled with pus. The symptoms will generally show up on the skin on the cheeks, forehead and nose. Flare-ups tend to happen in cycles. A patient could exhibit the symptoms for months or weeks after which they disappear just to return again.

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Learn more about rosacea

What are the types? 

There are four identified types of rosacea:

  • Subtype 1. Also known as ETR or erythematotelangiectatic rosacea, it is usually associated with redness in the face, visible blood vessels on the skin as well as flushing.
  • Subtype 2. Acne or papulopustular rosacea is characterized by breakouts that are very much like acne. It is also known to affect women in their middle age.
  • Subtype 3. Also referred to as rhinophyma, this is an uncommon type of rosacea characterized by the thickening of nose skin. This condition usually happens in men and most of the time, it comes with another rosacea subtype.
  • Subtype 4. Also referred to as ocular rosacea, the symptoms associated with it are focused along the patient’s eye area.

What are the symptoms? 

Symptoms associated with rosacea tend to be different depending on the subtype. 

Symptoms of ETR rosacea

  • Blood vessels that are visibly broken
  • Redness and flushing of the face, especially in the middle of the face
  • Sensitive skin
  • Swollen skin
  • Burning and stinging skin
  • Rough, scaly and dry skin

Symptoms of acne rosacea

  • Oily skin
  • A lot of redness and breakouts that resemble acne
  • Visible blood vessels that appear to be broken
  • Sensitive skin
  • Skin has raised patches

Symptoms of rhinophyma

  • Thick nose skin
  • Bumpy texture of the skin
  • Thickening skin on the forehead, ears, chin and cheeks
  • Visible blood vessels that look broken
  • Large pores

Symptoms of ocular rosacea

  • Gritty eyes
  • Watery and bloodshot eyes
  • Stinging or burning of the eyes
  • Eye cysts
  • Lighting sensitivity
  • Eyelid blood vessels seem broken
  • Diminished vision

What are the causes? 

It is still undetermined what really causes rosacea. However, it might be due to both environmental and hereditary factors. There are also things which have been identified to exacerbate rosacea symptoms. Among these are:

  • Eating foods containing the cinnamaldehyde compound, such as chocolate, citrus, cinnamon, and tomatoes
  • Eating spicy food
  • Having the Helicobacter pylori intestinal bacteria
  • Drinking hot tea or coffee
  • Presence of the cathelicidin protein which helps protect the skin against infections
  • Presence of the demodex skin mite as well as the Bacillus oleronius bacterium which it carries

What are the risk factors? 

Certain factors may increase the likelihood of you developing rosacea. Many people who develop the skin condition start seeing the symptoms when they are between 30 and 50 years old. People who have fair skin and are blond-haired and blue-eyed have a higher likelihood of developing the condition too.

Genetic links can also play a huge part in the development of rosacea. If some of your family members happen to suffer from the same condition, then you have higher chances of developing rosacea at some point. People who trace their ancestry back to the Celts or the Scandinavians will have a higher chance of developing it. The condition tends to be more prevalent among women than men.  However, the men who have the condition tend to experience more serious symptoms.

How do you diagnose rosacea? 

If you suspect that you have rosacea, you can always refer to your doctor for a proper diagnosis. The doctor, through a physical skin examination, will be able to diagnose the disease. In addition, they will also help get you referred to a dermatologist if they suspect that you have rosacea or other types of skin issues.

How do you manage the symptoms? 

There is no cure for rosacea, unfortunately. Thankfully, there are steps that will help you keep the symptoms associated with it under control. Always use oil-free and gentle cleansers. Skin-care products that are water-based tend to work wonders as well.

It is also important to steer clear from products containing the following ingredients:

  • Menthol
  • Witch hazel
  • Alcohol
  • Exfoliating agents

Such ingredients are likely to irritate your skin and will only cause the symptoms to worsen.

Your doctor will develop a plan to keep your symptoms under control. Often, this would include using oral antibiotics as well as antibiotic creams to help make the symptoms less noticeable.

It helps to keep track of the food that you are consuming as well as the different types of cosmetic products you apply to the skin. This makes it easier for you to identify which ones work and which ones cause your symptoms to worsen.

 

You may also want to include the following steps in your rosacea management plan:

  • Wear sunscreen at all times and stay away from direct sunlight
  • Avoid drinking alcohol
  • Reduce skin thickening through microdermabrasion treatments
  • Use light and laser treatments in addressing severe rosacea cases
  • Take antibiotics and eye medicines if you have ocular rosacea

How to cope with rosacea? 

Since this condition is chronic, the key is learning how to manage it and the symptoms it comes with. Dealing with the condition can have its fair share of challenges and it is not always going to be easy. Thankfully, you can get access to much-needed help from support groups. It usually helps to connect with people who happen to be dealing with the same problem. Not only will they be able to offer you help and advice on how to cope best, but just knowing that you are not alone with your struggles also makes a world of difference.

What can you expect in the long term? 

Rosacea still does not have any cure. However, the symptoms can be controlled with the right treatment and management plan. It is also important that rosacea tends to affect different people differently and figuring out a solid management plan that works best for you can take time. It always helps to work hand in hand with your doctor to work out how to avoid anything that may trigger it.