Rosacea is a skin condition that affects millions of Americans, yet some don’t even know that they have it. Rosacea can be embarrassing and can even lead to complications if left untreated. According to the National Rosacea Society, three quarters (76%) of rosacea sufferers feel that the condition adversely affects their self-confidence and self-esteem, and 41% of them have avoided public contact or social engagements because of it.
There is no known cure for rosacea; however, it can be controlled. Educate yourself on the signs and symptoms of rosacea to manage your skin as effectively as possible.
It’s important to understand what exactly rosacea is and how it differentiates from other conditions that it is commonly mistaken for, such as allergies. Rosacea is a facial skin condition characterized by ongoing reddening of the skin. It can affect men, but women 40 years or older are more prone to suffering from it. Humans have a normal tendency to blush, but when these flushes of red become persistent and do not go away after a few minutes, it can be an indication of rosacea.
Rosacea consists of four subtypes, ascending in severity.
Subtype 1: Facial Redness
This type is the one most commonly associated with rosacea. It is persistent facial redness on the forehead, cheeks, nose, and/or chin. Small capillaries may also be visible.
Subtype 2: Bumps and Pustules
Accompanying or following subtype1, bumps can start to appear on the face. It is not to be confused with “adult acne.” The bumps generally appear all over the face, rather than on a concentrated area. Some bumps are filled with pus while others are not.
Subtype 3: Skin Thickening
This effect is seen mainly on the nose, as it becomes very red and bulbous due to excess skin. This condition is called “rhinophyma” and is a sign of an advanced stage of rosacea.
Subtype 4: Ocular Rosacea
At this stage of rosacea, skin is very red and irritated, which spreads to the eyes. Eyes will become red, itchy, and will sting. If not treated immediately, ocular rosacea can lead to blindness.
It’s crucial to identify what subtype of rosacea you have in order to better treat your specific case. If you feel you fall into one or more of these categories, there are things you can do to help reduce the symptoms, including the persistent redness. You can control rosacea outbreaks by avoiding some of the common triggers, such as unprotected sun exposure, strenuous exercise, alcohol, and spicy foods.
Cosmetics can be a great fix for rosacea symptoms, but they could also be a trigger if you are not fully informed about which products to buy and how to apply them. When selecting a foundation, use mineral-based products—they’re known for their flawless finishes and gentle application. Avoid applying face makeup with a sponge or your fingers, as they can cause irritation or friction, and can deposit bacteria on your skin, exacerbating symptoms of rosacea. To lessen the look of redness, select a foundation with warm undertones (versus pink undertones) and opt for bronzers instead of blush.
Many anti-aging skin care lines also offer specialized products for people with rosacea. These products are infused with ingredients to help sooth irritated skin. It’s always better to use herbal or organic treatments, which don’t contain aggravating ingredients like alcohol or irritating oils. Look for products that say “fragrance-free” and “allergy tested,” and always test a small area of your skin to see how it reacts before applying it all over.
“What Is Rosacea?” National Rosacea Society web site; https://www.rosacea.org/, last accessed June 28, 2013.