A skin condition, rosacea manifests as abnormal facial redness. Often beginning with a tendency to blush or flush more readily, rosacea can spread beyond the nose and cheeks to affect the forehead, chin, ears, chest, and back. Over time, people with rosacea may experience permanent redness in the center of the face.
The experience of living with rosacea varies based on the subtype that a patient has. The four types of rosacea include:
- Erythematotelangiectatic rosacea, which causes redness and visible blood vessels.
- Papulopustular rosacea, which causes redness, swelling, and breakouts.
- Phymatous rosacea, which results in thickened, bumpy skin.
- Ocular rosacea, which causes eye irritation, redness, and swollen lids.
Unfortunately, individuals with rosacea often feel insecure about their condition. According to the American Academy of Dermatology, more than 40% of rosacea patients avoid social encounters due to embarrassment or shame about their appearance. Learn more about the causes and symptoms of rosacea, as well as what treatments can help mitigate its effects.
Doctors aren’t sure why some individuals develop rosacea. However, certain people are at a greater risk for the condition. Rosacea risk factors include being a woman, having pale skin or skin that’s suffered sun damage, being over 30, smoking cigarettes, and having a family history of the disease.
If you already suffer from rosacea, avoiding triggers can help mitigate the effects of the condition. Some of the factors that aggravate rosacea include:
- Hot or alcoholic beverages
- Spicy foods
- Extremely hot or cold weather
- Sun and wind exposure
- Certain cosmetic products
- Blood pressure medications
- Experiencing strong emotions
Additionally, experts believe that rosacea may stem from abnormal blood vessels in the face.
Facial flushing is one of the primary symptoms of rosacea. However, patients may also experience the following:
- Persistent redness
- Swollen blood vessels on the nose and cheeks
- Eye dryness, swelling, and irritation
- Red eyelids
- Enlarged or bulbous nose
- Skin thickening
- Solid red bumps and pimples
- Burning or stinging sensation
- Facial dryness
While there’s no cure for rosacea, various treatments exist to help reduce flare-ups and minimize the signs and symptoms of the condition.
If you’re suffering from rosacea, you might be worried about the effect the condition has on your appearance. Not only are patients sensitive about their flushed skin, but they also worry about developing scars.
Here are some of the best ways to protect your skin and avoid rosacea flare-ups:
- Use sunblock. Because sun is the top cause of rosacea flares, it’s important for patients with this condition to use plenty of sunscreen when leaving the house. For best results, opt for a broad-spectrum sunblock with an SPF of at least 30. Patients should wear hats and sunglasses while outside and seek shady spots to sit when possible. It’s also wise to avoid going outside at noon when the sun is strongest.
- Take care of your skin. Because rosacea patients tend to have sensitive skin, it’s a good idea to regularly wash your face with a gentle cleanser. Apply the soap with your fingertips and rinse it off with cool or lukewarm water instead of hot. Pat your face dry with a soft, clean cloth.
- Take medication. Certain vitamins and medications can help minimize rosacea symptoms. The drug Mirvaso is designed to reduce redness. Your doctor may also recommend oral antibiotics to fight inflammation and Amnesteem to clear acne-like lesions. Some doctors recommend natural remedies like tea tree oil, green tea, vitamin B3, and vitamin C.
- Consider laser treatments. If your rosacea is causing physical discomfort or interfering with your quality of life, you might want to pursue laser or light-based treatments. While insurance doesn’t typically cover the cost of light therapies, they are often quite effective. Many patients notice a clearing of redness for several years. Note that you may experience mild side effects, including redness and swelling. Most patients need multiple treatments to see results.
Living with Rosacea
It’s not unusual for rosacea patients to feel self-conscious about their condition. If you want to treat the signs of rosacea, consider purchasing green-tinted makeup. This color helps minimize the appearance of rosacea. In fact, some brands make green makeup that is specifically designed for people with this condition. Green-hued concealers and mineral powders can also help cover redness. Ask your dermatologist about treatments and cosmetics that can help boost your self-esteem and make living with rosacea easier.