More than 16 million Americans live with rosacea. Symptoms of rosacea can look like redness, flushing, pimples and red bumps. In advanced cases, it can cause skin disfigurement or vision problems. With effective treatments and good skin care practices, these can usually be managed.
Rosacea is an inflammatory skin condition that causes redness or flushing on the skin of the face. Without treatment, it can lead to solid red bumps or pus-filled pimples. As the condition advances, it can cause skin thickening or disfigurement.
There are four main types of rosacea—and it’s possible to have more than one at a time.
Rosacea typically affects people between the ages of 30 and 50. It’s most common in middle-aged women with fair skin—but it can happen to anyone. Research suggests that about 1 in 10 fair-skinned people develop it. With rosacea, men are less likely to have it—but they have more severe cases.
Famous people with rosacea include Lena Dunham, Princess Diana, Prince William and Bill Clinton. Also, historical figures like Rembrandt and J.P. Morgan.
Rosacea causes redness on many areas of the face. It usually begins in the center part of the face like the nose, inner part of the cheeks and middle part of the forehead. It can also occur on the scalp, eyes, back and chest. In the early stages, it might look like a deep blush or a sunburn that doesn’t go away. You might see small broken blood vessels under the skin.
It’s more common in people with fair skin. But it can occur in people with all skin tones. People with darker skin tones32576-3/fulltext) may not notice redness right away or think it’s related to another condition, like acne. This sometimes means that it’s not diagnosed in people with dark skin until it’s advanced or caused significant skin damage.
Signs of rosacea include:
It also commonly affects the eyes, causing watery and bloodshot eyes that might sting or burn. If you notice these symptoms, talk to your medical provider immediately. Without treatment, this can lead to vision problems, skin disfigurement or scarring.
Researchers don’t know exactly why rosacea happens. But several systems and triggers play a role.
An autoimmune disease occurs when the body mistakenly attacks its own healthy cells and tissues. (Like an allergic reaction.) Rosacea occurs when the body identifies and overreacts to a threat or trigger. So rosacea is not an autoimmune disease.
But new research shows that it may link to other autoimmune diseases02465-2/fulltext#secsectitle0070) like type 1 diabetes, celiac disease, multiple sclerosis and rheumatoid arthritis.
A good skin care routine can help you prevent rosacea flares, manage symptoms and help skin look and feel better. Proper skin care can also help rosacea medicine work better.
There are a few ingredients that can make symptoms worse. Avoid products that contain:
Rosacea is a relapsing-remitting condition. This means it gets better and then flares again over the long term. It cannot be cured. But managing triggers and working with a dermatologist can help keep symptoms under control.
A dermatologist can diagnose your skin condition. Similar conditions include:
Proper rosacea treatment can improve symptoms and prevent flares. If you experience changes in your skin—including new redness or flushing—talk to a medical provider or dermatologist. It’s especially important to seek help if you notice eye symptoms, as the condition can affect your vision.
Do you have redness, flushing, red bumps or pimples? You can get prescription treatment options for rosacea through Dr. B’s virtual medical service. We’ll connect you to board-certified dermatologists and medical providers. They can then diagnose and prescribe proven medications for rosacea relief.
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