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what is rosacea

Rosacea: What Is It? What Causes It? (And How To Tell If You Have It)

A nice rosy flush can make anyone look pretty and in the peak of health. However, if the ruddiness takes forever to go away or is accompanied by bumps and broken capillaries, you may have a skin condition known as rosacea.

Rosacea (roh-ZAY-sha) is a persistent redness of facial skin that can be triggered by things like alcohol and hot showers. It can be frustrating and embarrassing for those who have it. It can make you lose your confidence, keep you from enjoying your favourite activities, and affect your performance at work.

Luckily, there are ways to control rosacea.

But first, what is rosacea exactly?

what is rosacea

What is rosacea?

Rosacea is a long term skin disease that causes inflammation, redness, pus filled bumps, and visible blood vessels in your face. It can make you look like you have a sunburn that just won’t heal.

The condition isn’t contagious and is most common in those over age 30. The exact cause is unknown, though doctors suspect a combination of genetic and environmental factors. Rosacea may be hereditary.

Though it can be terribly isolating, rosacea is actually a fairly common disorder. It’s more likely to occur in women and in those with fair skin, but can affect anyone, including children.

Ever had one or more of these symptoms? You might have rosacea.

  • Blushing that doesn’t fade
  • Redness that looks like sunburn on the forehead, cheeks, chin, and nose
  • Visible spider-like blood vessels
  • Bumps that resemble acne
  • Plaques (raised red areas)
  • A burning or stinging sensation
  • Facial swelling
  • Skin thickening
  • Bloodshot, gritty, or watery eyes
  • Swollen eyelids

It can sometimes be hard to tell if someone has rosacea, as it can look like eczema, acne, or skin allergies. If you suspect you have the condition, it's best to consult your doctor. Left untreated, rosacea can worsen and the redness will become harder to reverse. In men, rosacea can lead to rhinophyma, which is where the nose becomes swollen and disfigured from excess tissue.

Rosacea can have a huge effect on a person's quality of life. Those who have the condition can have trouble meeting new people and interacting in public. Some struggle with low self esteem and have problems at work and at home. They can also be prone to anxiety and depression.

Sadly, there’s currently no cure for rosacea. But while there’s no magic pill that will take it away, there are treatments and natural remedies for rosacea that can help you control outbreaks.

what is rosacea

What triggers rosacea?

The first step in controlling rosacea is to pinpoint your triggers and avoid, avoid, avoid.

Everyone’s triggers are different, but there are some common ones:

  • Sun exposure
  • Extreme weather
  • Alcohol (especially red wine)
  • Harsh skincare products (and those with fragrance)
  • Dairy
  • Spicy foods
  • Meat
  • Hot baths
  • Hot beverages
  • Heavy exercise
  • Prolonged exposure to pollution
  • Emotional stress

Dealing with rosacea

It’s important that you identify the things that spike flares and how they affect your skin. You can keep track of your possible triggers by writing them down in a diary and looking out for patterns. From there, you can figure out alternatives and workarounds (for example, turning on a fan while working out).

If you’ve been treating your face for acne but now suspect you have rosacea, you might want to skip the harsh cleansers and start cleansing your face with milder products. A medical professional can help you choose the best treatment plan for your specific case.

Here's another article on rosacea, where we give you our top product picks for rosacea skin care.

Images: BigStock
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