Learn the symptoms, signs, and treatments
Others may assume you blush easily, but flushing every shade of red is more than a simple case of shyness when you’re diagnosed with rosacea. And, although this face blotching condition is more common than you realize — affecting VIPs like former President Bill Clinton and the late Princess Diana — it’s also important to know how to proceed when you’re left red in the face. From signs and symptoms to treating rosacea before it is too late, learn more about decoding rosacea.
What is rosacea?
That cutie you ran into at the coffee shop may simply think you’re blushing, but rosacea is actually a common skin condition affecting an estimated 16 million Americans. And while most rosacea sufferers are in their 30s and 40s and characterized by a fairer complexion, it doesn’t mean you’re immune to the chronic disorder typically found on the face.
Signs and symptoms of rosacea
There are several types of rosacea, however most start with some blushing or modest redness on the cheeks, nose, forehead and chin. Although a good makeup cover up usually helps keep your rosacea a secret, it’s still important to see a doctor at this point. Otherwise, as your condition worsens, you may experience:
- Stubborn redness remaining on your nose and cheeks
- Growth of small blood vessels on your nose
- Consistent redness after exercise, hot drinks, caffeinated beverages or alcohol
- Pimples, often misperceived as “adult acne”
- Enlargement of the nose due to excess skin tissue
Types of rosacea
There is still much to be discovered about rosacea, but what doctors do know is that rosacea doesn’t always evolve from one phase to the other. Here are the types and phases of rosacea:
- Pre-rosacea – Commonly mistaken for blushing, this earliest phase of rosacea makes an appearance as a recurring tendency to flush anywhere on the face. Since rosiness is caused by the dilation of tiny blood vessels just under your skin, redness will slowly become more persistent, especially around your nose.
- Vascular rosacea – As blood vessels swell and leak fluid at an increased rate, the skin begins to look puffy and feel warm. That’s when enlarged blood vessels under the skin can be more easily spotted through the skin, AKA telangiectasia or spider veins. Skin also becomes more oily and sensitive, causing a slight stinging or burning sensation when skin products are applied.
- Inflammatory (papulopustular) rosacea – Small red bumps and pus-filled pimples are a red flag of this stage of rosacea. Although similar to acne, resist the urge to pop those zits – the rosacea condition is quite different and requires specialized treatment.
- Late rosacea – In its most advanced phase, late rosacea exists as a more intensified version of all of the previous conditions. More veins, deeper redness and an increase in the size of the nose – called rhinophyma – mark the last phase of this chronic skin condition.
Treatments for rosacea
While there is currently no cure for rosacea, the most important fact to grasp is that the symptoms of this ailment will absolutely worsen without treatment. However, oral and topical antibiotics can take care of acne and blood vessels can be zapped away with lasers. Luckily, with treatment and daily sunscreen use, symptoms often take a while before they make an appearance again – sometimes up to two to eight years.
Although Tinsel Town elite such as Cameron Diaz can be alleged by the media to suffer from rosacea, only your doctor or dermatologist can truly determine for sure whether or not you have this chronic condition. And, although minimizing sun exposure and opting for a fake tan is the safest bet for anyone’s skin, keep in mind that it may also minimize the symptoms of rosacea should you be diagnosed with this face-flushing disorder.