Rosacea is a common, long term skin condition that causes redness in your face. It also often produces irritated eyes and small, red, pus-filled bumps, which can be mistaken for acne. Rosacea isn’t dangerous, but there’s no cure. Treatments can help though. Left untreated, rosacea tends to worsen over time, with sporadic flare-ups that last weeks or months.
No one knows what causes rosacea. Anyone can experience it, but middle-aged women with fair skin are most likely to experience it. Rosacea also appears more often in people with a penchant for blushing and those with rosacea running in their family.
Signs and symptoms
Signs and symptoms of rosacea may include:
- Facial redness or flushing. There’s usually persistent or frequent redness in the central portion of the face
- Small, red lines under the skin. Small blood vessels on the nose and cheeks often swell and become visible
- Swollen, red, acne-like bumps that may even contain pus
- Eye irritation occurs in about half of people with rosacea, as well as dry, swollen and red eyes
- Bulbous nose. Rarely, rosacea can thicken the skin on the nose, resulting in rhinophyma (enlargement of the nose)
- Skin thickening, usually on the cheeks, chin and forehead.
A number of factors can trigger or aggravate rosacea by increasing blood flow to the skin surface, including:
- Heat. Hot foods drinks, baths or saunas, strenuous exercise, sunlight or ambient temperature
- Spicy foods
- Emotions that make you go red in the face, like stress, anger or embarrassment
- Corticosteroids, like cortisone or prednisone
- Medications that dilate blood vessels, including some blood pressure medications.
Prescription treatments (e.g. antibiotics, acne medicines or surgical procedures) can be combined with lifestyle changes and natural medicines to reduce symptoms and recurrences. You’ll need to avoid anything that causes flare-ups, like the triggers mentioned above. Following these steps may also help:
- Wear sunscreen
- Wear a scarf when outside in very cold weather
- Don’t rub or touch the skin on your face too much
- Wash your face with a gentle cleanser
- Avoid facial products that contain alcohol or other skin irritants
- Green-tinted foundation creams and powders may help disguise rosacea’s redness
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