Understanding Rosacea

Rosacea is a frustrating and chronic skin condition. Often times Rosacea doesn't occur until people are in their 30's, and may not have had prior issues with their skin. Rosacea is characterized with redness and flushing that can present itself all across the face, but primarily starts around the cheeks, sometimes forehead and chin, and may progress to the nose area. Many people don't realize it can even occur in the eyes, which is called Occular Rosacea.

After the redness, the next step in progression is pustules and bumps. The bumps take on an acne like appearance, often irritated, red, and raised. You'll may also notice a thickening of the skin, a dryness or a stingy or burning sensation. You may also notice small capillaries or blood vessels showing on your cheeks and face. This is another sign that your doctor may notice.

If it's left to progress even more a condition called rhinophyma can occur. This causes the nose to swell and grow excess tissue which can give it a bulbous appearance. WC Fields was very famous for his bulbous nose, and it may give you a visual of how it can appear when it progresses into rhinophyma.

Doctors diagnose Rosacea into 4 stages, the first presenting with redness, the second with acne like bumps, the third can be Rhinophyma, and the fourth stage usually presents with Occular Rosacea.

Women tend to get Rosacea more often, where as men tend to get it more often on their nose and worse. Those with fair skin tend to be more prone to Rosacea than those with darker skin, though those with darker skin are not exempt. There is no specific answer as to understand why women it get it more often, or why people with fair skin show with it more regularly, though often
times fair skin tends to be sensitive.

It's a frustrating condition of the skin and may flair up based on triggers. Different people have different triggers, though stress, excess sun, and certain spicy foods have been seen as a common trigger. I personally have Rosacea and my triggers are sun and stress and cause an excess of papules and pustules, or bumps. These usually go away within a day or two, but can cause
a severe reaction as quickly as overnight!

Each individual is different, as is your skin. Find what triggers your Rosacea, because it may be different than what triggers mine. Other things that have been known to trigger a flare up are cold weather, wind, some skin care products as well as alcohol.

There isn't a cure for Rosacea, but there are treatments that can help control it or help it from progressing quickly. There are topical creams and gels, medications, and laser treatments are shown to help reduce redness, though can be costly. Each person reacts differently to them, and while medication helps clear me up, it's quite uncomfortable on my stomach. While topical ointments helped my sister, I didn't experience the same results. A lot of times, it's by seeing what doesn't work for you, that you can narrow down what may work for you.

For a proper diagnosis, you should see your doctor or better yet a dermatologist who specializes in skin care. It's better to get a true diagnosis, rather than treat for something that you may not have.

Rosacea may cause your skin to feel sensitive and it may be reactive. For this reason, it's good to use either products specifically targeting Rosacea, or products for sensitive skin. Avoid harsh ingredients, aggressive exfoliation and very hot water when washing.


Picture © kristiewells