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What is Rosacea and How Is It Treated?

An estimated 45 million people worldwide have the benign skin condition known as rosacea. For many, it begins as a pink blush, or red flush, that suddenly appears on the face without a reason for it being there. Others may notice that the central third of their face will develop red bumps which are not relived with the use of typical acne treatments. If you, or someone you now, is one of these individuals, you can help by developing a better understanding of what rosacea is and the methods which can be used to treat the symptoms.

It is important to note that rosacea is not acne, nor is it contagious. The small bumps that develop cannot be removed, or “popped” like an acne pimple.

rosacea

From rosacea.org

Rosacea Symptoms

Individuals who suffer from this condition will notice certain symptoms that develop only in the central third of the face, namely the cheeks and nose, these may include:

  • redness, often described as a flush or blush
  • inflammation
  • small bumps, which are not pimples
  • visible broken vessels

To see images of rosacea, see “Faces of Rosacea” at rosacea.org

For some people, their eyes may also become irritated and develop a  pink or red coloring. When this occurs it is known as ocular rosacea. While exact numbers are not available, this complication is believed to exist in as high as 60 percent of rosacea sufferers.

Rosacea can also manifest on the chest of an individual, or any combination of the face, chest and eyes.

In cases of rosacea that go untreated, individuals have been known to develop a large bulbous nose in response to the chronic tissue inflammation that is a result of the condition. Early diagnosis and treatment play an important role in managing the symptoms and potential negative effects of this condition.

Aggravators and Triggers

The symptoms of rosacea will often worsen and dissipate in cycles. These cycles can be the result of certain factors which aggravate the condition and flare the symptoms. Common triggers include:

  • cold temperatures
  • wind
  • changes to humidity
  • heavy sun exposure, or sun damaged skin
  • consuming alcohol
  • emotional distress
  • exercise
  • spicy foods
  • menopause

It is possible for people of any age or gender to develop rosacea, however, people who have fair skin and are female, number highest in those who suffer from this condition.

Treatment Options

Rosacea is not curable, however, it can effectively be managed.

Each person is unique in the characteristics of their condition and the manner in which it responds best to treatment. For this reason there are a wide variety of methods that may be employed by a provider to manage the condition and its symptoms.

A medical provider may suggest a number of different treatments based on individual history and symptoms. These may include:

  • laser therapy
  • photodynamic therapy
  • pulsed-light therapy
  • isotretinion
  • topical or oral prescription medications, such as antibiotics, sulfa, antifungal, anti-inflammatory, or acne related
  • special skin washes
  • skin peels

These treatments are often used in a planned manner which includes as needed therapies during a flare of symptoms and a daily regime as well.

In addition to these medical solutions people who are dealing with rosacea are encouraged to limit activities which aggravate their symptoms, such as eating spicy foods and using sun protection.

The sensitive skin which accompanies rosacea often has people looking for natural, less harsh options. The use of green tea and dilute vinegar soaks are well received in these cases.

It is important to have a licensed medical provider diagnose and assess treatment for rosacea to limit an irreversible worsening of symptoms.