Have you been asking yourself “Do I have Rosacea or is this some other type of skin condition?” Perhaps someone suggested to you, that you have it. If so, then you are not alone. Rosacea is a very common skin condition that many people often battle with. It causes redness on the cheeks, nose, chin and even on the forehead. It may also cause soreness & burning in the eyes and some people may also get pimples & pustules on the inflamed areas of their face.
Who Should More Likely Be Asking Do I Have Rosacea?
People who are more prone to this type of skin condition include;
- Those between age 30 and 60
- People with fair skin- often with blond hair & blue eyes
- Those of Scandinavian or Celtic ancestry
- If there is someone in the family tree that has had the same condition
- Those who have had lots of acne
- Women also tend to be affected more than men
Although many people can be affected by this disorder, if you fall into any (or all) of the above group(s) of people, the question “Do I have rosacea?” is one that you more likely should be asking yourself. More especially so, if you are experiencing some of the following symptoms.
Do I Have Rosacea or Something Else?
This skin condition may be mistaken for any other skin disease and this is why it is important that you understand its signs and symptoms in order to accurately resolve the question “do I have rosacea or not”. The signs and symptoms of rosacea have been classified by medical researchers into 4 primary groups. Note that each group requires its own treatment.
1) Erythematotelangiectatic Rosacea – this subtype often affects people with highly sensitive skin and the signs/symptoms include;
- Swollen skin
- Flushing & redness at the center of the face
- Highly sensitive skin that may sting and/or burn
- Visible broken blood vessels(i.e. spider veins)
- Dryness, roughness and even scaling of the skin
2) Papulopustular Rosacea – this is very common with middle aged women and includes:
- Highly sensitive skin that may burn or sting
- Spider veins (visible broken blood vessels)
- Oily skin
- Acne like breakouts that tend to come & go
- Plaques (i.e. raised patches of skin)
3) Phymatous Rosacea – this is however very rare and at first, the person may have signs & symptoms of another subtype.
- A skin with a bumpy texture
- Thickened skin especially on the nose (i.e. rhinophyma), forehead, chin, ears and on the cheeks.
- Visible blood vessels that are broken may be seen
- Oily skin
- Skin pores that appear too large
4) Ocular Rosacea – this affects the eyes. Look for these signs:
- Very dry eyes that burn, sting, are itchy and very sensitive to light.
- Blurred vision and declining eyesight
- Cysts and visible spider veins on the eyelids
- Bloodshot or watery eyes
- That gritty feeling as if sand is in the eyes
Common Rosacea Triggers
It is important to note that unlike other skin conditions such as psoriasis, rosacea is not an autoimmune problem (where the immune system begins to fight illegitimate ‘enemies’ causing inflammation). It is more of a “design flaw” in the dermis layer of the skin. Rosacea symptoms usually flare when something causes the facial blood vessels to expand and this is what produces the redness and other symptoms.
Some of the common triggers (things that cause flare-ups) include;
- Exposure to sun or/and wind
- Hot weather
- Spicy foods
- Hot baths
- Temperature swings (e.g. from cold to hot or vice versa).
It is often easy for doctors to diagnose this disorder by looking at the pattern of redness in a person’s face. Although there is no cure, physicians will often prescribe some medications and other treatments that always help people control its symptoms and therefore prevent it from worsening.
The most common treatments, according to the symptoms, include the following options;
- Breakouts and redness: can be treated with: skin creams contain medicines like azelaic acid, metronidazole or brimonidine. Pills like low-dose antibiotics (e.g. doxycycline) can also be used.
- Dry, sensitive skin: moisturizers, sunscreen and any other product that protects sensitive skin
- Redness (resulting from the tiny blood vessels): Laser and a certain light treatment referred to as IPL (intense pulse light).
- Red, dry & irritated eyes: Artificial tears or eye drops containing cyclosporine.
- Bumpy or thickened skin: Cosmetic surgery
If you have asked yourself the question “Do I have rosacea?” and believe that the answer is “yes”, then some of the tips that may be helpful include;
1) Visit a dermatologist: This will help you to
- Receive the necessary treatment (e.g. the necessary medication) that will help to control the disease. Note that, control means that you do not see the rosacea and will not feel symptoms such as burning & itching.
- Prevent its conditions from worsening (which will otherwise make it difficult to treat).
2) Know your triggers
It is very important that you learn what triggers the flare-ups so as to avoid them. As mentioned above, some of them include; stress, sunlight, certain foods among others. It is also important to note that, what may trigger a flare-up on one person may not be the same on another person and that is why it is very important to learn what triggers yours.
3) Follow a skin care plan
It is also important that you protect your face/skin especially from the harmful sunrays (e.g. by not exposing yourself to the sun between 10 am & 4pm). When outdoors, always remember to wear a visor or a wide brimmed hat and also to use a sunscreen. You should also avoid skin care products that may scratch or irritate your skin
Rosacea can also affect the quality of life and reports have shown that living with this condition may cause feelings of embarrassment & frustrations worry low self esteem, work related problems, anxiety and even depression.
Please Note:- If you’re not comfortable with some of the pharmaceutical or other ‘medical profession’ type remedies outlined above and prefer natural solutions, we have a whole section dedictated to Natural Remedies for Rosacea.