Rosacea is a common skin condition associated with a tendency to flush or blush more easily than other people. The redness most commonly involves the nose, cheeks, forehead and chin. Redness can be associated with acne-like pimples and/or visible small blood vessels. Sometimes, prominent swelling of the face can occur. Patients can also have rosacea involving the eyes (called ocular rosacea) which can cause red eyes, swelling and/or a dry, gritty feeling.
Rosacea is more commonly diagnosed in fairskinned individuals between the ages of 30 and 50 years of age. Women are slightly more likely to be affected than men. However, men are more likely to get more advanced disease associated with thickening of the skin, especially on the nose.
There are several things that may worsen rosacea. Triggers that may affect one person may not bother someone else. Common triggers include sunlight, foods (especially spicy foods and chocolate), beverages (including alcohol), emotional stress, and extreme hot or cold temperatures. If you are affected by rosacea, you should learn what triggers your flareups and avoid these.
While there are no cures for rosacea, many treatments exist to help control the condition. Daily sunscreen use is advised as sunlight may cause flare -ups. There are multiple topical creams that can be prescribed by your dermatologist to control the symptoms. Sometimes, medications by mouth are needed to control the condition and manage flares, especially when acne-like pimples are prominent. Redness can be masked by makeup, especially a green-tinted primer as a makeup base. When looking for a green-tinted primer, choose one that has UVA and UVB protection. The use of lasers or intense pulse light therapy may be used to improve the redness associated with rosacea. If you suspect eye involvement, you should schedule an appointment with an ophthalmologist. Remember to identify things that trigger your rosacea and avoid these.
Use a gentle cleanser to wash the face twice a daily and after sweating. Avoid over washing the face as this can cause irritation leading to flares. Use a sunscreen every day to limit the potential flaring caused by sunlight. Also, the sunscreen use will help prevent both photo-aging (wrinkles) and skin cancers. It is recommended that your sunscreen choice be broad-spectrum, protecting against both UVA and UVB sunrays, and have a sun protective factor (SPF) of 30 or higher. If you are prescribed a topical medication, apply it under your sunscreen. Some cosmetics and hair sprays can worsen the redness and should be avoided if this occurs. Make sure your skin care products are free of any alcohol as this can lead to irritation.
The American Academy of Dermatology (http://www.AAD.org) and the National Rosacea Society (http://www.Rosacea.org) are excellent sources of additional information regarding rosacea. You can also learn more about the condition and treatment options by scheduling an appointment with your dermatologist.
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