What Is Rosacea?
Rosacea is a common skin disease that often begins with a tendency to blush or flush more easily than other people. The redness usually starts on the nose and cheeks but can slowly spread to the forehead and chin. With time, people who have rosacea often see permanent redness in the center of their face.
There is no cure for rosacea. However, our dermatologists can provide a treatment that will prevent rosacea from getting worse, and it can reduce the acne-like breakouts, redness, and flare-ups.
There are four subtypes of rosacea, and each one requires different treatment.
- Erythematotelangiectatic rosacea: Facial redness, flushing, and visible blood vessels are major symptoms of this subtype. The skin may be very sensitive and may sting and burn.
- Papulopustular rosacea: People with this subtype often have acne-like breakouts, broken blood vessels, and raised patches of skin called plaques.
- Phymatous rosacea: This is a rare subtype with a bumpy texture to the skin and thickening of the skin on the nose, called rhinophyma.
- Ocular rosacea: Some people get rosacea in their eyes, which creates additional symptoms such as a watery appearance and itching and burning eyes. Eyes may feel gritty, as if sand is in them. These people may also notice worsening in their vision.
Rosacea can affect quality of life
Given that rosacea is a chronic (long-lasting) skin disease, it can reduce a person’s quality of life. Surveys and studies report that living with rosacea can cause:
- Feelings of frustration and embarrassment in social situations
- Worries of rosacea getting worse or causing scarring
- Low self-esteem and low self-confidence
- Work-related problems
- Anxiety and depression
Who gets rosacea?
Rosacea is common. According to the U.S. government, more than 14 million people are living with rosacea. Most people who get rosacea are:
- Between 30 and 50 years of age.
- Fair-skinned, and often have blonde hair and blue eyes.
- From Celtic or Scandinavian ancestry.
- Likely to have someone in their family tree with rosacea or severe acne.
- Likely to have had lots of acne — or acne cysts and/or nodules.
Women are a bit more likely than men to get rosacea; however, women are not as likely as men to get severe rosacea. Some people are more likely to get rosacea, but anyone can get this skin disease no matter what age or color.
What causes rosacea?
By studying rosacea, scientists have found some important clues to its cause:
- Rosacea runs in families.
- The immune system may play a role.
- A bug that causes infections in the intestines (H pylori) may play a role.
- A mite that lives on everyone’s skin, Demodex, may play a role.
- A protein that normally protects the skin from infection, cathelicidin, may cause the redness and swelling.
How do dermatologists treat rosacea?
To treat rosacea, a dermatologist first examines the skin and eyes to determine all of the patient’s signs and symptoms of rosacea. This is crucial because different signs and symptoms require different treatments.
Treatment for the skin includes:
- Medicine that is applied to the rosacea.
- Sunscreen (daily usage can help prevent flare-ups).
- An emollient to help repair the skin.
- Lasers and other light treatments.
- Antibiotics (in topical or pill form).
Dermatologists can remove the thickening skin that appears on the nose and other parts of the face with:
- Electrocautery (a procedure that sends an electric current into the skin to treat it).
- Dermabrasion (a procedure that removes skin).
If you believe that you might have rosacea or have been diagnosed with rosacea, the following tips can help:
- See a dermatologist to help determine the best treatment option based on your symptoms.
- Learn what triggers your rosacea. This is important because you will find out what specific everyday things can cause your rosacea to flare.
- Follow a rosacea skin care plan to help keep your rosacea under control.
Concerned About Rosacea?
Book an appointment with one of our dermatologists to determine a treatment plan for you.