Rosacea is a skin condition that causes red, swollen patches on the face. It is fairly common and shows up more in people with fair skin. Rosacea:
- Affects more than 16 million Americans.
- Is most common in women between 30 and 60 years of age.
- Is most prevalent in people of Northern and Eastern European descent.
If you or a loved one is experiencing rosacea, know that there is relief for your condition through advanced treatment options tailored to your unique needs by a skilled medical dermatologist. West Dermatology believes in honest information, treatment, and care for the life of your skin. With dermatology offices in major cities, including Hillcrest, Las Vegas, Phoenix, and others, we are the Southwest US’ largest dermatology practice. Learn more about how the dermatology team at West Dermatology can help you find relief by scheduling an informative consultation today.
Symptoms of Rosacea
Symptoms of rosacea appear slowly, and are sometimes mistaken for a sunburn or allergies. Over time symptoms can worsen, and may include:
- Redness in the center of your face—mostly the cheeks, nose, and chin.
- Swollen, visible blood vessels on the cheeks and nose.
- Red bumps that resemble acne.
- Eye irritation and dryness.
- Swollen and reddened eyelids.
- Stinging or burning feeling of affected area.
A rare symptom of rosacea is rhinophyma, which is a thickening of the skin on the nose causing it to appear bulbous. Men are more prone to get this then women.
What Causes Rosacea?
There is recent speculation that rosacea may be caused by a larger number of demodex present on the skin.Demodex are a normal microbe, a microscopic mite, that feeds on dead skin cells. While every adult has a significant amount of demodex, studies show people with rosacea have 15 to 18 times as many.
4 Types of Rosacea
There are four general subtypes of rosacea, but it is a complex condition. It is possible to have characteristics of more than one type at once.
1. Facial Redness
Scientific name: erythematotelangiectatic rosacea
Type 1 is characterized by persistent flushing, stinging, and swelling of the face. Blood vessels are also sometimes visible. People with Type 1 have extremely sensitive skin, and roughness or scaling can occur. Facial redness can occur before or at the same time as subtype 2.
There are currently no approved medications for erythematotelangiectatic rosacea, but specific treatment and management options include:
- Topical medications prescribed by dermatologist
- Pulsed light and/or laser therapy to reduce the visibility of blood vessels
2. Acne Rosacea
Scientific name: papulopustular rosacea
This type of rosacea looks a lot like severe acne, but without blackheads or whiteheads present. It is marked by bumps and pus-filled lesions that come and go. People with subtype 2 have unusually oily and sensitive skin on their faces. Broken blood vessels can occur, as well as raised, scaly patches of skin called plaques.
Specific treatment and management options include:
- Topical medications that include azelaic acid, sulfur, and sulfacetamide can help, although it usually takes one to two months to notice an improvement.
- Anti-Inflammatory Doxycycline, a antibiotic to treat bacterial infections can sometimes help in low doses.
- Oral Antibiotics such as doxycycline or erythromycin may be prescribed by a dermatologist.
3. Skin Thickening
Scientific name: hymatous rosacea
People with rosacea subtype 3 experience skin that with a reddened, bumpy texture. This type of rosacea is more common in men. It causes excess tissue to build up, often resulting in the appearance of an enlarged nose. Skin can also thicken on the chin, cheeks, forehead, and eyes. There are usually visible broken blood vessels.
Because there are no treatments for this subtype, it is important to try to treat rosacea before it gets to this point. Surgery is recommended for a moderate to severe diagnosis.
Specific treatment and management options include:
- The use of a Co2 laser to shave down bumps.
- Dermabrasion to scrape off unwanted skin.
- Electrocautery to warm skin and scrape off any extra.
- Electrosurgery to sculpt and graft skin.
4. Eye Irritation
Scientific name: ocular rosacea
The fourth subtype of Rosacea affects the eyes. Individuals with ocular rosacea develop a sensitivity to light, and their eyes become dry and itchy. Eyes will appear watery or bloodshot, and patients often experience a stinging or burning sensation. The eyelids may swell up and/or have visible broken blood vessels. Vision may be blurred. In severe cases, inflammation of the cornea maybe lead to a potentially blinding corneal ulcer.
Subtype 4 requires the attention of an ophthalmologist. There is no approved treatment, but there are measures that will help alleviate symptoms:
- Remove debris and oil from the eye with a damp Q-tip.
- Relieve dryness and itching with artificial tears.
- Clean eyelashes daily using water or a tear-free shampoo on a wet washcloth.
Some medical dermatologists may also prescribe oral antibiotics such as doxycycline to alleviate symptoms.
General Rosacea Treatment and Management
Because there is no known cause of rosacea, there is no guaranteed cure. Some patients find relief from altering their diet, while others have success with topical applications. Each case is different, so see what works best for you.
- Spicy foods
- Hot Beverages
- Certain Medications
Medication can sometimes help lessen or ease the symptoms of rosacea. There are two main types of medical symptom treatments:
- Acne Medication: Powerful acne medications such as isotretinoin may help clear up lesions caused by rosacea. Please note these cannot be taken by pregnant women.
- Anti-Inflammatory: Anti-inflammatory creams and topical cleansers can help reduce redness and bumps. Some oral antibiotics can also act as anti-inflammatories in a pill form.
Medications may help with symptoms, but they can also cause side effects. Do your research, and be sure to consult a professional before trying any alternative “cures.”
Rosacea Diet Plan
While diet is not a main cause of rosacea, some people have reported that certain foods worsen symptoms. Alternatively, a healthy, anti-inflammatory diet may help lessen symptoms.
Foods that are great for your skin include leafy, green vegetables like spinach and kale Omega-3 rich food like salmon and chia flax seeds. Try avoiding foods like dairy, sugar, citrus, and spicy foods.
Some patients have noticed improvements by switching to a plant-and-protein-based, or Paleolithic, diet. If you change your diet, start a food journal so you can keep track of which dietary changes seem to help reduce your rosacea symptoms.
Cosmetics and Rosacea
While it may be tempting to use lots of makeup to disguise the redness, it may not be the best for your skin. Avoid any products that sting or cause any kind of irritation.
- Avoid harsh chemicals or exfoliating agents: Sensitive skin is especially irritated by astringents, and products that contain alcohol, witch hazel, menthol, eucalyptus oil, and peppermint.
- Go fragrance-free: Fragrances cause more allergic contact dermatitis than any other ingredient. Use unscented skin care products to avoid irritation.
- Test new products before using them on your face: Apply a small amount to a patch of skin on your neck and see what happens. It causes a reaction, avoid products with similar ingredients.
- Try a green-tinted foundation if you wear makeup: These are designed to help reduce the appearance of skin redness.
Check your local health food store for more natural cosmetics and lotions that will be gentle on your skin. Using oil-free, mineral-based makeup should help mitigate rosacea symptoms.
Protect Your Skin
Anything that irritates your skin is going to aggravate your rosacea. Take additional measures to protect and nourish your skin.
- Don’t stress: Stress and anxiety can present in the skin, especially on your face. Patients with existing skin conditions often find symptoms worsened by stress.
- Keep your complexion free of sweat: Don’t make baths or showers too hot, and avoid spending time in saunas. Try to avoid strenuous exercise, or “lift and load” jobs.
- Protect your skin from harsh weather: Don’t spend too much time in sun or cold wind. If you must be out in the sun, wear sunglasses and a sunscreen with at least 30 SPF. If you are out in the cold, protect your face with a scarf.
- Each person is different: It’s important to keep track of things like diet and exposure to chemicals to see what makes your skin worse.
Preparing For Your Dermatologist Visit
Even though rosacea symptoms can be treated at home, you may want to see a dermatologist to confirm your diagnosis or prescribe medication to provide some relief. Here are some tips to help you prepare for a productive appointment.
- Keep a journal. Note how and when symptoms occur: the time of day, the severity, foods eaten, and anything topically applied to your skin such as soap or lotion.
- Tell your dermatologist if you have had any severe exposure to the sun that may have damaged your skin.
- If you have any eye irritation at all, make sure to tell your doctor.
- Be honest about the effect symptoms may have on your social life and emotional well-being.
It is completely normal to have questions and concerns about any medical issue, and rosacea is no different. Below are some questions that our specialists are frequently asked. If yours is not answered, feel free to call your local West Dermatology office to schedule an appointment with a dermatologist.
Q: Is rosacea contagious?
A: No, rosacea is not a contagious condition. There is no way to develop rosacea through skin contact.
Q: If I have rosacea, does that mean my kids will have it too?
A: Not necessarily. While evidence suggests rosacea may be inherited, there is no scientific research specifically supporting this suggestion. Rosacea usually doesn’t occur until age 30 or later, but sometime there will be “pre-rosacea” symptoms in teens. If this occurs, take your teen to the dermatologist in Arizona, Nevada, or California.
Q: Will my doctor give me a test to see if I have rosacea?
A: There is no test for rosacea. Your dermatologist will look at your symptoms and medical history to diagnose you.
Q: Does rosacea appear on body parts other than the face?
A: It is rare, but there have been occasions that rosacea symptoms have appeared on patient’s neck, chest, back, and scalp.
Q: Can menopause affect rosacea?
A: While there is no data connecting hormonal changes with rosacea, many women have noted aggravated symptoms during hot flashes.
Q: Are there any natural treatments for rosacea?
A: Natural remedies should be used with caution. Some patients reported relief of symptoms by topically applying green tea. Green tea has natural anti-inflammatory properties.
Q: Are there support groups for people with Rosacea?
A: Yes. You can search for one locally,or join an online community like rosacea-support.org or group on Facebook.
Help for Your Rosacea
Because rosacea affects your physical appearance, it can be difficult socially and psychologically. It is important to resist worrying and continue your daily schedule as normal. Remember, you are not alone.
If you are concerned about rosacea, the most important thing you can do is take a deep breath and refuse to stress about it. There are many others who have it, and they live normal and happy lives. Contact West Dermatology today and we will answer any questions or concerns you may have. We have locations in Arizona, Nevada, or California.
Next, read about Scleroderma.