Rosacea 101: What It Is and How To Treat It

Over 13 million North Americans suffer from rosacea.

It is most commonly seen in those who have fair skin and is sometimes referred to as the “Curse of the Celts” or a “Peaches and Cream“ complexion.

Onset usually occurs between 20-40 years of age.

Rosacea is a long lasting, non-scarring skin condition of the face that is often misdiagnosed as adult acne. (See Acne Guide.ca if you think you may have acne) It varies in severity and does not always worsen with time. Typically, you will experience inappropriate flushing that is not usually associated with sweating and/or persistent facial redness. It is common to have broken blood vessels (telangiectasias) on your cheeks. You may also experience bouts of inflammation that cause red papules (small bumps) or pustules. However, comedones (blackheads and whiteheads) are not part of rosacea.

About 50% of those with rosacea suffer eye involvement, including such conditions as conjunctivitis, blepharitis, dry gritty eyes, and recurrent sties. Nose enlargement (rhinophyma) is uncommon and is mostly seen in men.

Do I Have Rosacea?

If you check of one or more of the following symptoms, you may have rosacea

  • My face has a burning and/or stinging sensation
  • When I blush, it develops into persistent redness
  • I have what looks like 'pimples” on my face
  • I have 'blood vessel lines' showing on my face
  • My eyes feel gritty and uncomfortable.
  • My skin feels likes it has thickened, particularly on my nose (rhinophyma)

The major goals of rosacea treatment are to:

  • Understand the condition
  • Identify and avoid the factors that cause flushing for you and that flare your rosacea
  • Control the active symptoms and signs of rosacea
  • Achieve optimum maintenance of this condition and its complications
  • Understand that this is a chronic condition

Self Help:

1) Avoid factors that increase your core body temperature:
  • Exposure to weather - sun, cold, wind
  • Hot food, hot drinks, and alcohol
  • Exercise (you should exercise in cool surroundings and avoid dehydration)
  • Medications (you should avoid vasodilating drugs, that is, drugs that expand your blood vessels, and topical steroids)
  • Cosmetics (you should avoid greasy, drying, or perfumed products)
2) Daily skin care:
  • Avoid hot water, loofahs, and rough towels
  • Avoid toners, exfoliating agents, and astringents
  • Dandruff – Rosacea frequently coexists with sebhorreic dermatitis or dandruff
3) Cosmetics:
  • Anti-redness cream or cosmetic cover-up can be helpful to some patients with rosacea
4) Patient support groups:
  • Investigate patient support groups

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