What is rosacea?
Rosacea is a common skin disorder that begins with a tendency to blush or flush more easily than other people. People with rosacea often present with redness of the nose and cheeks. People with rosacea can also have acne like breakouts or thickening of the nose. Rosacea can even involve the eyes and eyelids, making them red, irritated, or swollen. People with rosacea often have very sensitive skin that may often burn and sting.
Who gets rosacea?
According to the American Academy of Dermatology, more than 14 million people are living with rosacea. Rosacea is most commonly seen in the following populations:
- Fair skinned individuals
- Individuals from Celtic or Scandinavian ancestry
- Individuals with a family history of rosacea
However, individuals of all colors can get rosacea.
What causes rosacea?
The exact cause of rosacea is unknown; however, there are certain scientific theories. Rosacea does run in families, so it is possible people inherit genes for rosacea. Many studies have shown that people with rosacea have large numbers of demodex, a mite that lives on everyone’s skin. Canthelicidin, a protein that normally protects the skin from infection, may also cause redness and inflammation in rosacea. Common triggers of rosacea include sunlight, stress, alcohol, caffeine, spicy foods, and even chocolate!
How can rosacea be treated?
Treatment for rosacea can help reduce redness, ease discomfort, and prevent rosacea from worsening. Here are some things that may help reduce symptoms:
- Know your triggers.
- Practice sun protection with a broad spectrum sunscreen, avoiding midday sun, and wearing sun protective clothing.
- Use sensitive skin care products (cleanser, moisturizers). Avoid excessive use of exfoliating products.
- Green tinted makeup can help camouflage redness.
- Laser treatments can be used for redness and facial blood vessels.
- Antibiotics and topical prescription medications can be used to reduce redness and prevent breakouts.
For more information, visit the National Rosacea Society at www.rosacea.org or the American Academy of Dermatology at www.aad.org