What is Rosacea?
Rosacea is a chronic inflammatory skin condition affecting the face, in which the skin appears abnormally red, or flushed. Rosacea affects more than 16 million Americans. Although Rosacea may develop at any age, it usually occurs in people after age 30 as a flushing or redness on the cheeks, nose, chin or forehead that may come and go, but it can begin as early as age 20.
In the beginning, Rosacea will first seem like the person blushes easily, or may simply have a red, blotchy, complexion. The redness first shows on the nose and cheeks and may be dry and patchy. As the condition advances, there may be papules and pustules (pimples) which looks like acne – this is one of the primary reasons the condition is often misdiagnosed.
Over time, the redness becomes more noticeable may appear more frequently. Visible blood vessels may appear. If left untreated (especially in men), the nose may become swollen and lumpy from excess tissue. In many people the eyes may look irritated, watery or bloodshot.
Individuals with fair skin tend to flush or blush more easily and are believed to be at greater risk for developing Rosacea. The disorder is more frequenly diagnosed in women, however, symptoms can be more severe in men. There is also evidence that Rosacea may be inherited and shows sign of being more common in people of Northern or Eastern European descent.
Living with Rosacea
The cause of Rosacea is not understood but there is evidence that it is becoming more common as the baby boom generation enters the most vulnerable age for developing the disorder. A recent survey by the National Rosacea Society found that 78% of Americans who have Rosacea, have no idea what it is, or how to treat it.
It is thought that Rosacea may be a vascular disorder because of the symptoms associated with redness, flushing, visible blood vessels. Some physicians believe that flushing may involve the nervous system, since it is often triggered when patients are under emotional stress.
Whatever the cause, this red-faced, acne-like condition, can be difficult to live with, causing significant psychological, social and occupational problems if left untreated. In surveys by the National Rosacea Society, more than 76% of Rosacea patients said their condition had lowered their self-confidence and self-esteem, and a whopping 88% said the disorder had adversely affected their professional life.
The National Rosacea Society lists the most common signs of Rosacea as:
Flushing – people with Rosacea have frequent blushing or reddening. This facial flushing may come and go, and is often the earliest sign of the disorder.
Persistent Redness – Persistent redness is the most common sign of Rosacea – it may resemble a blush or sunburn that does not go away.
Bumps and Pimples – Small red solid bumps or pimples often develop. While these may resemble acne, blackheads are not present, and burning or stinging may occur.
Visible Blood Vessels – In many people with Rosacea, tiny blood vessels may become visible on the skin.
Other Signs of Rosacea
Eye Irritation – Some Rosacea suffers may have irritated, watery or bloodshot eyes. The eyelids can also may become red and swollen, and styes are common.
Burning or Stinging – Burning or stinging sensations may often accompany the redness. Itching or a feeling of tightness may also develop.
Dry Appearance – The facial skin may be rough and very dry.
Plaques – Raised red patches, known as plaques, can develop without changes in the surrounding skin.
Skin Thickening – The skin may thicken and bulge from excess tissue build up – most commonly on the nose. This condition affects more men than women.
Swelling – Facial swelling may accompany other signs of Rosacea, or it may occur independently.
Signs Beyond the Face – The symptoms of Rosacea can also develop on the neck, chest, scalp or ears.
The National Rosacea Society (NRS) is the world’s largest organization dedicated to improving the lives of millions of Americans who suffer from Rosacea. Click here to learn more about Rosacea and the NRS.
“Understanding Rosacea | Rosacea.org.