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What is rosacea?

This chronic skin condition is often misunderstood. So what is rosacea? Can it be treated? Read on for more information.


What is it?

Rosacea is a long-term skin condition that, during a flare-up, causes a person to exhibit facial redness or bumps similar in appearance to acne. While there isn’t a cure, treatment options are available to manage the appearance and the progression. There are four classifications of rosacea, and a person suffering from this condition may be affected by one or more of them:

  • Erythematotelangiectatic rosacea: redness and flushing, may also include visible blood vessels and swelling.
  • Papulopustular rosacea: redness with small cysts or bumps that are acne-like in appearance.
  • Phymatous rosacea: bumpy and thickened skin; may affect the nose, giving it a bulbous look.
  • Ocular rosacea: watery, irritated eyes, may include redness and burning.

The signs and symptoms

The appearance and severity of symptoms vary from person to person but can include the following:

  • Frequent and easy facial flushing or blushing.
  • Red patches on the face, notably the cheeks, nose, chin and forehead. These patches may come and go as the condition flares up or goes into remission. The inflammation may look like a sunburn or have a flushed appearance.
  • Although not related to acne, small bumps or pustules similar in appearance to acne may form.
  • Small blood vessels may appear. They may go undetected while the flushed appearance occurs, but after it subsides, they will become noticeable.
  • Pink, watery eyes that may sting or burn and appear bloodshot.
  • Swelling of the face and a buildup of fluids that may cause the cheeks to look baggy.
  • Thickened skin and enlargement of the nose.

Treatment options

As with any condition, getting a proper diagnosis and heeding medical advice are key to the treatment and management of rosacea, but there are a few things you can do.

  • Avoid common triggers. If you have or believe you have rosacea, you have likely noticed certain things trigger it, such as spicy foods, alcoholic beverages, extreme weather, stress or hot baths and showers, for instance.
  • Sun exposure is another common trigger, so always use a sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or more.
  • Be gentle on your skin, and use a light touch when cleansing. Avoid harsh cleansers and exfoliating scrubs or products.
  • Consult with an opthamologist if you demonstrate symptoms of ocular rosacea, so you can obtain proper treatment and prevent vision loss.
  • Discuss laser treatments with your medical professional. Laser treatments can effectively reduce redness and clear away visible blood vessels.
  • Consult with your physician for topical or oral treatment options.

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