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Does Your Face Have a Red Blush To It?

What is Rosacea?

Rosacea (rose-AY-sha) – a common skin disease usually on the face.

Rosacea is a visible redness or blush on the face, specifically on the cheeks. More severe cases of rosacea can look like red pimples, swollen bumps on the face or a very severe case of acne. Rosacea can spread to other areas such as the forehead, chin, ears, chest and back. More signs of rosacea are visible blood vessels, acne-like breakouts, skin that has thickened and is bumpy, red and irritated eyes, swollen eyelids or lumps on the skin around the eyes. If you have redness or blushing of the face, your skin may be sensitive to touch and possibly sting or burn. Your skin may become dry, feel tough (or lose its elasticity) or peel off frequently. If your form of rosacea is more like acne, the acne will break out in the areas that are prone to being red or flushed. The acne-like form will come and go. Your skin will tend to be oily. It will also be sensitive to touch and it may also burn or sting. You may also experience broken blood vessels that are as thin as the lines of a spider’s web. You may experience patches of skin that are raised. These patches are commonly referred to as plaques (plaks). If you have the type of rosacea that presents as thick skin, you may experience lots of tiny bumps on your skin. It is common for the skin on the nose to thicken and become red (this is called rhinophyma). You may experience the skin on your cheeks, chin, forehead and ears begin to thicken. The blood vessels around these areas of your face may become very prominent. Your skin may be oily and your pores will become large. If you have the type of rosacea that affects your eyes (ocular rosacea), you may experience redness of the eyes or bloodshot eyes. Your eyes will feel dry and they will burn or sting. You will feel as if you have sand or dirt in your eyes. Your eyes will itch and become sensitive to light. This type of rosacea can affect your vision and cause it to become blurry. You may get cysts on your eyelids and you will be able to tell that your vision is not as good as it was previously.

Rosacea is more common among women than men. Men are more likely to be affected by the more severe form of rosacea. Rosacea is not specific to any color or race. However, rosacea does appear to be more commonly found in Celtic or Scandinavian people. Also, people who have fair skin, blonde hair and blue eyes can be susceptible to this skin condition. This skin condition can appear in adults between 30 and 50 years of age. Although, children are known to be affected as well. Scientists cannot say exactly what causes rosacea. It could be caused by an immune system defect, it can run in families, it could be an intestinal bug, it could be a common skin mite called demodex, or it could be a defect in a protein that normally protects the skin, cathelicidin. There are more suspects as to the cause of rosacea than there are firm answers.

If you think you have rosacea you should see a dermatologist. They will examine your skin and ask a series of questions. There are some treatments available such as wearing sunscreen and reapplying it regularly, medicine such as antibiotics, laser treatment, light treatment or emollients which are products that moisturize the skin. If you have the type of rosacea that causes thickening of the skin the dermatologist may use lasers, dermabrasion (a process that removes skin), or electrocautery (a process using heat to stop the blood from circulating in a part of the body).

Unfortunately, there is no cure for rosacea. For some patients’ it seemed to run a course for 10 years or more and then disappear. For others it did not last even 10 years and cleared up. Yet other patients’ can have symptoms for life. It can be beneficial to use a diary to write down what is in your environment daily, including food, and whether or not you had a flare up or how severe the flare up was. Doing this may help you determine what your triggers are and you may be able to better control flare ups or possibly keep it from flaring up at all.

Take care of your skin. Don’t ignore the signs of rosacea. You only have one skin and it cannot be replaced.

Rebecca R Piercy