Rosacea, a common skin condition affecting 16 million Americans, is a constellation of skin findings that produces dramatic redness and sensitivity in the skin along with acne-like lesions, facial flushing, and dilated blood vessels. Rosacea usually begins with a tendency to blush more often or more easily than others and can worsen over time in response to certain triggers.
What is Rosacea?
Rosacea is a skin condition that is characterized by a multitude of symptoms, including redness, flushing, visible blood vessels, bumps, and swelling. When these symptoms first appear, which is typically after age 30, they may show up in cycles of flare-ups and remission. As the condition progresses, symptoms can become more severe, especially if left untreated.
What are the Subtypes of Rosacea?
Because rosacea can manifest in a multitude of ways, it is classified into 4 different subtypes.
- Erythematotelangiectatic Rosacea: Characterized by flushing, redness, rough and sensitive skin.
- Papulopustular (Acne): Characterized by acne-like breakouts and oily skin.
- Phymatous (Rhinophyma): Characterized by thickening, bumpy skin, common on the nose.
- Ocular rosacea: Characterized by the eyes being irritated and bloodshot, blurry vision, and cysts on the eyelid.
What Causes Rosacea?
Scientists are still unsure of what exactly causes rosacea. However, it’s believed that genetics, skin type, heritage, age, history of acne, gender, and your immune system may play a role in its development. Most cases of rosacea occur in individuals who are:
- 30 to 50 years old
- Of Celtic or Scandinavian descent
- Family history of rosacea
When it comes to rosacea treatment, one of the most important steps is learning your triggers and making lifestyle changes to accommodate. Several known triggers in rosacea include sunlight, emotional stress, heat, alcohol, and spicy foods. In addition to avoiding triggers, being meticulous about sun protection can also prevent rosacea flare-ups. Applying adequate sunscreen, avoiding excessive sun exposure, and wearing appropriate apparel are all ways you can protect your extra-sensitive skin from the sun.
Aside from these lifestyle changes, treatment usually requires a multimodal approach that Dr. Ortleb can tailor to your skin type. Redness, breakouts, thickening skin, and eye irritation can all be treated using methods that may include oral and topical medication, surgery, and light therapy.