Rosacea is a common skin condition, affecting an estimated 14 million people. Signs and symptoms include inflamed bumps, persistent redness, and a burning or gritty sensation in the eyes. It occurs on the face, and is caused by frequent flushing of the skin. The flushing may be a result of sensitivity to spicy or hot foods, the sun, alcohol, or stress.
Rosacea typically begins with the tendency to flush or blush easily. Blushing causes the blood to rush to the face. Blood rushing to the surface of the skin causes the vessels in the face to swell. The blood vessels then begin to leak faster than usual. The skin feels warm, and looks puffy and red. The skin become inflamed, and typically has red bumps or pustules that resemble acne. Spider veins may also develop because of the dilated blood vessels.
The continued damage to the skin may result in the development of more spider veins, in addition to the worsening of the redness and inflammation. The skin in the center of the face and on the nose may thicken, a condition known as rhinophyma. The nose may look bulbous because of the thickened skin.
The frequent flushing may have many triggers. It has a genetic component, but also may be caused by sensitivity to certain make-ups or foods. Sun and hot water exposure may also cause blood to rush to the face. Rosacea most often occurs in individuals with fair skin, such as European or Celtic skin types. The exact cause of rosacea is unknown, and it is currently without a cure.
Wearing sunscreen to protect the skin is important in controlling symptoms of rosacea. Because of increased sensitivity, the skin may easily become irritated by the UV rays. In addition, clean the skin using products containing sodium sulfacetamide or sulfur. These antibiotics help fight bacteria and control infection.
Prescription medications are available, both topical and oral, that help with the flushing tendency and irritation. Laser treatments are used to treat broken blood vessels and spider veins. No matter what the case, you should be seen and treated by a physician. Ask Dr. Zizmor.