Rosacea is a common inflammation of the skin that presents as facial redness, dilated blood vessels, and sometimes pimples. The condition becomes more noticeable when a patient blushes or in those who become flushed easily. Redness appears most often on the nose and cheeks, but it may spread to the forehead and chin and eyelids.
Patients can experience symptoms beyond those that affect appearance, such as burning, stinging, tightness, swelling, tenderness, and tingling.
The cause of rosacea is unknown, but it could be due to a combination of hereditary and environmental factors. Rosacea is not caused by poor hygiene.
A number of factors can trigger or aggravate rosacea by increasing blood flow to the surface of your skin. Some of these factors include:
- Hot drinks and spicy foods
- Temperature extremes
- Sunlight or wind
- Drugs that dilate blood vessels, including some blood pressure medications
Anyone can develop rosacea. But you may be more likely to develop it if you:
- Are a woman
- Have fair skin, particularly if it has been damaged by the sun
- Are over age 30
- Have a family history of rosacea
There are four kinds of rosacea: 1) redness, flushing, visible blood vessels; 2) redness, swelling, and acne-like breakouts, 3) thickened skin with the nose and cheeks with a bumpy texture and 4) the ocular version with red and irritated eyes; eyelids can be swollen; patient may have what looks like a stye.
There is no cure for rosacea, but treatments can minimize flare-ups. Medications such as doxycyline can reduce inflammation and control bumps, lesions, swelling, and redness. Artificial tears can be helpful for ocular rosacea. Hot compresses for 5 minutes a few times a day get the oil glands flowing again in the eyelids. This oil is needed to cover the tears so they won’t evaporate so quickly and dry the eyes out. It should be noted that nasal steroids have also been identified as a trigger for rosacea. Since these are now OTC awareness is important.