Rosacea is a chronic, inflammatory skin disease that typically affects your face, causing redness on your cheeks, nose, chin, and forehead. In some cases, it can also affect your neck, chest, scalp, and eyes.
Rosacea usually begins after the age of 30, and is often mistaken for acne, eczema, or a skin allergy. The condition itself isn’t harmful, but if it isn’t treated, it can lead to permanent skin damage and loss of vision.
- A flushed, red face
- Papules and pustules (pimples with yellow heads) on the red areas
- Visibly broken blood vessels on the surface of the skin
- Swollen, sensitive skin
- Burning or stinging skin
- Coarse, scaly skin
- Bloodshot, dry, irritated eyes. Your eyes can also become sensitive to light and you may have blurred vision
- Thickening of the nose. This is a rare symptom and mostly affects men
The exact cause of rosacea is unknown. Environmental and hereditary factors may be to blame. If you have a family history of rosacea, you’re more likely to develop the condition. It’s also more common in people who have fair skin or blush easily. Women are more likely to develop rosacea than men. Still, men who develop the condition often have more severe symptoms.
Certain factors can cause the blood vessels in the face to expand, and trigger a flare-up of rosacea. These include:
- Spicy foods
- Dairy products
- Vigorous exercise
- Some medications, e.g. steroids and hypertension drugs
- Sun and wind exposure
- Stress, anger and anxiety
- Hot baths and saunas
Can it be cured?
Unfortunately not; rosacea can’t be cured, but certain treatments can help control the symptoms. These include:
- Topical medications to help reduce inflammation.
- Oral antibiotics to help reduce redness and breakouts.
- Eye drops to improve dryness, itching, blurred vision, and sensitivity to light.
- Laser treatment to treat redness from tiny blood vessels.
- Cosmetic surgery to remove thickened or bumpy skin.
Work with your doctor to figure out which treatment options are best for you. Rosacea affects everyone differently, so treatment won’t be a one-size-fits-all.
- Learn what triggers your flare-ups, and then avoid them. Keep a food diary, and take note of what you were doing on days that the symptoms appeared. This will help you pinpoint your triggers. Share this information with your doctor if you need help.
- Avoid direct sunlight. When you go outdoors, always wear a sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher. Use sunscreen that protects against both UVA and UVB rays. Wear a wide-brimmed hat or visor to protect your face.
- Wash your face with a gentle, oil-free, water-based cleanser. Avoid products that contain alcohol, menthol, and exfoliating agents as these may irritate your skin.
- Wear corrective makeup. A green-tinted primer is a good choice for a makeup base as it can help counter redness and even out your skin tone. If you need extra cover, use a concealer a shade lighter than your skin tone. Then, apply a foundation suitable to your skin colour. Avoid oil-based products as they may not cover your skin as effectively and lead to breakouts. Try a mineral-based foundation for good coverage. Go for makeup products with UVA/UVB protection to shield your skin from exposure that can aggravate your symptoms.
- Work on de-stressing habits. Lower your stress levels with low-intensity exercises like walking or swimming. Yoga and meditation may also help reduce stress.