People dealing with rosacea (rose-AY-sha) skin can take comfort in knowing how common this condition actually is. According to the National Rosacea Society, it is now estimated to affect at least 16 million Americans, and the number is significantly higher if we take into account the global rosacea fight (approximately 45 million people worldwide).
This chronic disorder causes the blood vessels to swell, which makes the skin prone to inflammations. The common symptoms by which to recognize this condition are redness on the cheeks, chin, nose, and forehead. However, rosacea can also take the form of ocular inflammation, which can be mean dry or sore eyes, accompanied by burning sensations. If such symptoms are left untreated, rosacea may worsen over time.
Although rosacea can be quite overwhelming as it requires constant treatment and caution, there is no reason to despair because there is always a healthy solution. With proper skin care and extra attention invested in avoiding the most common rosacea triggers, the risk of skin flare-ups will be drastically reduced.
What is Rosacea – and Can it Be Infectious?
The best way to describe rosacea is that this condition resembles acne-like skin. And the most interesting fact is that the majority of people with rosacea are Caucasian and have fair skin. Apart from visible tiny broken blood vessels, rosacea symptoms also include pink patches, small red bumps, red cysts, and of course, pink or irritated eyes.
Though this seems like an easy condition to detect, numerous people affected by rosacea don’t know about the disease until given a professional diagnosis. Many just assume their skin is sensitive, especially during the summer.
Sadly, it is a frequent condition without a cure, with periodic improvements and declines. The symptoms usually begin during teenage years and slowly get worse when people are in their 30s and 40s.
As mentioned above, rosacea mostly reminds us of acne, but the difference is that it continues to appear, whereas acne can be cured. The good news is that rosacea is not contagious, meaning others cannot be infected when coming into contact with someone affected by this disorder.
What Triggers Rosacea?
Unfortunately, there are many rosacea triggers – starting with genetics, as it is believed that the condition is hereditary, with abnormalities in blood vessels causing inflammation, all the way to light skin color, gut bacteria, and microscopic mite overpopulation on the skin.
On the other hand, our lifestyles and daily choices additionally cause rosacea skin breakouts. For example, according to the National Rosacea Society sun exposure is the most frequent rosacea trigger factor, holding the first place at 81%. However, the list goes on and commonly includes:
- Emotional stress – With a 79% rate of triggering rosacea, the skin can take a toll for the worst if an individual lacks self-esteem or suffers from depression. In addition, anxiety or sudden emotional changes are triggers. Breaking the endless cycle of accumulated stress is taking one step toward controlling this illness.
- Hot water – Taking hot baths is not good for rosacea as it affects already broken blood vessels. The most recommended thing is taking mild showers and definitely avoiding saunas.
- Weather conditions – Hot, humid climates and strong cold winds are yet another rosacea trigger. Always wear sunscreen when going outside and warm clothes to hide from the wind impacts.
- Exercise – Heavy exertion or exercise can cause rosacea skin inflammations. Of course, some form of exercise is necessary for healthy bodily functions, so consider switching to yoga or some form of meditation, which will also help by calming the nerves and relieving stress.
- Alcohol & Coffee – Alcohol beverages, hot drinks (including hot chocolate) and coffee increase the blood flow to the surface of the skin and therefore cause the aggravation of rosacea.
- Food – Spicy food and dairy products can easily spice up the redness of rosacea. So, try to lower the food intake and implement more healthy choices such as vegetables into your diet – with the exception of eggplant, spinach, broad-leaf beans, and food rich in histamine.
- Cosmetics – Certain skin care products and makeup cosmetics can irritate this already sensitive skin. The next time you find yourself on a skincare shopping spree, make sure to look for fragrance-free cosmetics and use as few products as you can. Also, test the makeup before deciding to invest money in it, to avoid regretting the choice.
- Hair products – Another rosacea trigger hides among hair products like hair sprays. Most definitely, avoid products containing alcohol, hydro-alcoholic, or acetone substances.
- Fruit – Strangely but true, citrus fruit, tomatoes, bananas, red plums, risings, and avocado negatively affect rosacea. Stay far away from this type of fruit or suffer the consequences of red, swollen skin.
- Medical conditions – Menopause, chronic cough, and frequent flushing may be the reason why your skin busts from time to time. Likewise, caffeine withdrawal syndrome is a regular rosacea activator.
- Medications – Some types of blood pressure drugs, painkillers and topical steroids can influence rosacea symptoms as well. Be sure to consult with your physician about possible alternatives that will be safer to use.
Note: It is very important to know that not all of these triggers will necessarily affect your skin type. For each individual, rosacea sources causing discomfort differ, but it is highly advisable to avoid the risks by distancing yourself from these usual factors. Start by using a diary to keep track and measure what affects your skin the most.
Different Types of Rosacea and How to Recognize Them
After all, rosacea causes rashes – and what are rashes if not a form of skin inflammation similar to those we can see in acne, dermatitis, hives, psoriasis, and eczema. That said, there are four different types of rosacea, all with diverse symptoms, but easily debatable for those wondering if they have a rosacea skin disorder.
Rosacea subtypes include:
- Erythematotelangiectatic Rosacea – Visible blood vessels, face flushing, and redness.
- Papulopustular Rosacea – Sensitive skin, redness, swelling, and acne flair-ups usually occurring among middle-age women.
- Phymatous Rosacea – Fluid retention, bumpy skin texture, thicker skin (particularly around the nose), and redness.
- Ocular Rosacea – Irritated and red eyes, swollen eyelids, and dry eye sensation.
If some of these symptoms sound very familiar and you have a close experience with some of them, schedule an appointment with your dermatologist.
Interesting Fact: Rosacea affects celebrities as well, so don’t be discouraged, because if you haven’t noticed anything unusual about Cameron Diaz, Mariah Carry, and Renee Zellweger, it is simply because they take care of their skin. They too are familiar with rosacea skirmishes but don’t let such a common condition prevent their skin from having the gorgeous look it deserves.
Although there is no way to cure rosacea, there are some options for gaining a better control over the symptoms. For example, sun exposure is almost unavoidable, but that doesn’t mean your skin can’t be protected. Every day, apply a broad-spectrum sunscreen with SPF 30 or higher and don’t go out when the sun is at its peak or in the middle of the day.
Find the best stress management solution and take warm, not hot, soothing baths. Likewise, find a mild, non-alcoholic cleanser and be very careful when performing your daily skin care treatment. In case the redness never goes away and it’s always a visible part of your face, consider laser or light-based solutions to reduce or completely clear the skin from rosacea red color.
Furthermore, there are creams proven to be a valuable asset when combating rosacea, but those have to be prescribed by a dermatologist. However, the best method to conceal rosacea symptoms is by using green-tinted makeup. This cosmetic is specially designed for people with rosacea and though it can’t diminish the symptoms rosacea, it can very well hide them.
Additional questions regarding rosacea are mostly about whether the long-term medical therapy should be stopped between skin breakouts and whether topical antibiotics could lead to bacterial resistance. The answer to both is no. There are no consequences of staying on a given therapy, in fact, it is recommendable because it can decrease the rate of remission in rosacea patients. Indubitably, each treatment depends on individual health requirements. Still, long-term use of medication doesn’t lose its effectiveness in people with rosacea skin disorder.
Everyone’s skin is different, but there are some signs shared among people across the world. You can take comfort in knowing that there a lot of rosacea friends out there, all trying to find the best solutions for dealing with this type of discomfort. Don’t hesitate to go see your dermatologist and start writing down when outbursts happen. After all, while you might not escape this condition, you can definitely keep it under control.