Could you have Rosacea?
Have you noticed persistent redness localized to the middle of you face? Does it seem to flush with particular triggers like sun exposure, emotional stress, exercise or when drinking alcohol? Do you get frustrated with the pink acne-like bumps that seem to crop up on your face for no clear reason? If so you may be one of the 16 million Americans who suffer from Rosacea; a chronic skin condition that goes undiagnosed in the majority of those affected.
Rosacea (pronounced roh-ZAY-sha) is a common skin condition that most often affects fair skinned individuals between the ages of 30 and 50. Rosacea tends to wax and wane and, if left untreated, can worsen over time. Areas most often affected by rosacea are the cheeks, nose, forehead and chin. Common characteristics of rosacea include sporadic flushing or blushing of the cheeks or a persistent redness of the face similar to that of a sunburn. Firm pink bumps and pus-filled pimples may also develop, resembling acne. However with rosacea blackheads are not present. Many individuals with rosacea develop small visible pink blood vessels over time. Other common symptoms are burning, stinging and excessive dryness of the skin. Rosacea can also affect the eyes leading to redness, irritation and dryness.
Being diagnosed with rosacea is the first step at getting this life-long condition under control. There is no cure for rosacea and the cause of rosacea is poorly understood but there are many options for treatment. Several topical and oral medications are available by prescription. A dermatologist is most qualified to make the diagnosis and determine which medication or combination of medications would be best. Lasers can also be helpful in the treatment of rosacea but the cost is not covered by insurance and can be quite expensive. A common recommendation is to avoid factors that trigger the symptoms as best as possible. It may be helpful to keep a diary detailing what you were eating, drinking and doing at the time of a flare-up to help identify possible triggers. Because sunlight is a common trigger it’s recommended to use a daily sunscreen of at least SPF 15. A gentle skin cleansing regimen is best for those with rosacea.
Rosacea can have a significant impact on emotional well –being and can lead to social anxieties, depression and problems at work. Most of the 16 million Americans who have rosacea don’t know that they have it. Those undergoing treatment for rosacea report significant improvement in their symptoms. If you feel that you may be experiencing symptoms of rosacea it’s important that you seek treatment by a qualified medical professional to avoid worsening of the condition and the psychological impacts that go along with it.
Amber Nunes, MSN, ANP-C
Resources-Andrews’ Diseases of the Skin Clinical Dermatology, tenth edition
For more information visit the National Rosacea Society website, www.rosacea.org
If you are interested in a clinical research study for Rosacea you can find more information here at the Dawes Fretzin Clinical Research page.