April is Rosacea Awareness Month. Characterized by prolonged redness or flushing on the cheeks, nose, chin or forehead, rosacea and its related causes remain somewhat of a mystery. For most people, prerosacea and rosacea begin simply with the appearance of redness in the facial areas. Unlike a temporary blush or flush, the redness remains for extended periods of time and if left untreated, the redness could become more persistent and pronounced. Often the symptoms, which affect more than 16 million individuals, are more pronounced in those with fair skin tones.
Signs of Rosacea
- Uncontrollable blushing or flushing
- Persistent redness (similar to a sunburn or flush)
- Raised bumps or pimples with accompanying burning or stinging
- Appearance of visible blood vessels
- Irritation of the eyes, could lead to ocular rosacea (red and swollen eyelids)
- Rough red patches called plaques
- Thickening of the skin, particularly on the nose (more common in men than women)
- Edema (facial swelling)
Because early rosacea symptoms are thought to be temporary, most do not realize the condition can progress into more extreme symptoms or spread onto other areas such as the neck, scalp, chest or ears. With progression, rosacea can create bumps and pimples on the face or result in a condition called rhinophyma, the thickening and swelling of the skin tissue of the nose. Rhinophyma left untreated can result in a disfiguring bulbous, red nose, as seen in the late comedian W.C. Fields. Rosacea can also affect the eyes, making them watery and bloodshot. Problems in the eye area could include styes, an abscess filled with pus. Left unchecked, these can progress into the potential for long-term corneal damage.
4 Subtypes of Rosacea
- 1. Facial Redness (erythematotelangictatic rosacea)
- Characteristics: flushing and persistent redness, possibility of visible blood vessels
- 2. Bumps and Pimples (papulopusular rosacea)
- Characteristics: persistent facial redness with bumps or pimples, often follows subtype 1
- 3. Skin Thickening (phymatous rosacea)
- Characteristics: skin thickening and enlargement, usually around the nose
- 4. Eye Irritation (ocular rosacea)
- Characteristics: watery or bloodshot appearance, irritation, burning or stinging
Because rosacea affects everyone differently, it’s important to work with your dermatologist to find the right treatment protocol for your particular symptoms. A variety of oral and topical treatments are currently available to treat bumps and pimples and to reduce redness. Other treatment options include the use of lasers, intense pulsed light sources or other devices designed to reduce the appearance of visible blood vessels, lessen surface redness, or to correct disfigurement of the nose.
It’s also important to adopt a daily skin care regime for sensitive skin. This includes the use of gentle, non-abrasive cleansers and the use of sunscreen SPF 30 or higher on the skin. A range of lightly tinted cosmetics can also help counter the redness in the skin. Just be sure to avoid anything with an orange or pink tint.
To learn more about Sunflower Dermatology’s approach to Better Skin for a Better Life, talk to the dermatologic experts at Sunflower Dermatology and Medical Day Spa in Riverside, Missouri. They offer medical dermatology, surgical dermatology, cosmetic dermatology procedures and photodynamic. Protect the largest organ in your body and improve the long-term appearance and health of your skin with Sunflower Dermatology & Medical Day Spa.