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Health and Fitness News

The Red World of Rosacea

Facial redness may be caused by rosacea. Here’s what to expect with this skin condition.

You know how it feels to get embarrassed. When it happens, you can feel your face beginning to blush and redden. Try as you might, you can’t hide it, stop it, or deny it—the redness just happens and makes you even more embarrassed. For some people, reddening of the face occurs not because they are embarrassed, are breaking out in acne, or are having an allergic reaction. Rather, the redness occurs because they have rosacea.

Pronounced rose-Ay-sha, this common skin condition may cause more than facial redness. Read on to learn its symptoms, causes, and treatment.

Blushing and Flushing

Facial redness is the most common symptom of rosacea. The redness is usually seen in the middle of the face on the nose and cheeks and occurs as tiny blood vessels in the skin swell and become visible. In some cases, the redness can spread to the chin, forehead, ears, back, and chest. The reddened skin may feel tender, painful, or warm to the touch. The swollen blood vessels can even change the feel and appearance of effected skin, frequently causing nose skin to become thick and bumpy, resulting in a nose that appears larger.

Along with redness, your skin may be oily and break out in small pimples that look like acne. The breakouts may come and go.

Up to half of those with rosacea experience eye problems such as dry eyes, irritation, red eyelids, burning, stinging, and swelling.

Besides physical symptoms, rosacea can affect your emotional, social, and professional life. Problems in relationships and at work are common due to a low self-esteem and fears of embarrassment brought on by rosacea. Many people fear social interactions, are self-conscious about their appearance, and worry the condition will worsen or cause scars.

Prevalence and Cause

Millions of people around the world have rosacea. It affects all ages and ethnicities, but the majority of people with the condition are female, between the ages of 30 and 50, with fair skin. If someone in your family has rosacea or bad acne, you’re more likely to develop the condition. Smoking also increases your risk.

Why people get rosacea is yet to be determined. Studies show the immune system in people with rosacea overreacts to exposure of a certain bacteria. Other studies found a connection between an H. pylori intestinal infection and rosacea. Some suspect that a microscopic mite that lives on the skin plays a role. Or, the condition may be related to a protein in the skin that causes redness and swelling.

Regardless of the underlying cause, things that increase blood flow to the skin are likely to trigger an outbreak or make one worse. These include hot or cold temperatures, exercise, wind, sunlight, alcohol, strong emotions, spicy foods, cosmetics, or certain drugs that dilate blood vessels.

Treatment Can Improve Quality of Life

Think you’re living with rosacea? Don’t suffer alone. Seek the care of a dermatologist. While there’s no medical test to diagnose rosacea, a physical exam can help determine the cause of your symptoms. Other tests may be performed to rule out other conditions that may mimic rosacea.

Treatments aim to help reduce symptoms, prevent rosacea from worsening, and relieve any discomfort. Medications are available to reduce redness, fight inflammation, and clear acne. Laser therapies can also be called upon to help reduce the size of enlarged blood vessels.

Once you figure out what triggers your rosacea, avoiding triggers by making necessary lifestyle changes will go a long way toward clearing up your skin.