When is a rosy glow more than just a sign of a person in love? The answer may surprise you. In the U.S., more than 16 million people suffer from a condition called rosacea that causes “significant psychological, social and occupational problems if left untreated.” Although it can develop at any age, most sufferers are over 30 and have chronic facial redness that looks like a sunburn. The good news is that rosacea is manageable, so it’s important to know what to look for and where to go for help.
Since April is Rosacea Awareness Month, we’ve dedicated this post to providing you with information about the condition, so you or someone you care about can begin to take control of this disorder, which, according to the National Rosacea Society, negatively affects the self-esteem and self-confidence of “nearly 90 percent of rosacea patients.”
What Does Rosacea Look Like?
While rosacea primarily affects women, men with the condition tend to have more severe symptoms. Redness and flushing of the forehead, cheeks, nose, and chin are the most common universal symptoms used to diagnose rosacea; however, skin thickening and enlargement of the nose, known as rhinophyma, can develop over time and can be disfiguring and interfere with breathing. Some types of rosacea also look like acne, so it’s important to visit your dermatologist before treating it as something that will just go away eventually. A dermatologist can also prescribe oral medication, so don’t wait for your symptoms to resolve on their own because you may be prolonging your own recovery.
Causes and Treatments
Unfortunately, researchers have not yet pinpointed the exact cause of rosacea, but there appears to be an abnormality in the way the neurovascular system works that sets off an inflammatory condition. Symptoms are often treated in a two-pronged approach that offers immediate relief as well as long-term therapy. As a patient, you play an active role in maintaining a lifestyle that keeps symptoms at bay as much as possible. Keeping track of the foods and situations that cause your rosacea to flare up will help you gain insight and minimize future flares. Some common triggers include heat, sun exposure, and stress, but alcohol can be a factor as well (but it is not a cause in and of itself.
Create a Skincare Routine to Calm and Protect Your Skin
While there is no surefire way to prevent flare-ups, making good skincare decisions can lessen irritation. Medical grade cleansers, moisturizers, and sunscreen products will prevent clogged pores, dryness, and heat- and sun-aggravation. The National Rosacea Society also recommends eliminating physical exfoliants as well as alcohol- or fragrance-heavy products. Chemical sunscreen can irritate rosacea-prone skin, so choose a physical sunblock, like EltaMD UV Clear Broad-Spectrum SPF 46. The oil-free formula utilizes zinc oxide and is safe for people with rosacea.
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Take heart! Despite the challenges that come with rosacea, there are immediate treatments as well as therapies using lasers and intense pulsed light that can address distressing physical changes. Be proactive and visit the National Rosacea Society website to learn about your options. And if you need guidance when searching for the right skincare products to use, just reach out to us! We’re always happy to help!
To your skin health,
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