What is rosacea?

There are four components to rosacea:    1. flushing/persistent redness

                                                            2. blood vessels

                                                            3. pimples

                                                    4. thickened skin tissue


Rosacea usually develops over a long period of time.  It often begins as a tendency to flush and blush easily, and it progresses to persistent redness of the cheeks, forehead, chin, and nose or a sensitivity to cosmetics. With time, small blood vessels and pimples may appear on and around the reddened area.  In more advanced cases, the oil glands enlarge causing an enlarged red nose and puffy cheeks.  This is known as rhinophyma and occurs less commonly in women.

The eyes can be involved with rosacea.  Usually it manifests as dryness and burning of the eyes.  If you have rosacea please notify your eye doctor at your next eye exam.


Why am I developing rosacea now?

Those most likely to develop rosacea are fair-skinned adults between the ages of 30 and 50.  Most people who get rosacea seem to flush or blush more often than the average person.  The exact cause of rosacea is still unknown.


What should I do?

Rosacea is a chronic condition, and that means the symptoms may come and go in cycles and fluctuate in their degree of severity.  Controlling the causes of flushing and blushing can help prevent rosacea from getting worse and blood vessels from getting larger.  In order to prevent progression try the following:

  • Rosacea is worsened by sun.  Practice good sun protection.  You should wear sunscreen every day of the year, even during the winter months.  The sun’s rays go through windows, so we are all exposed to a significant amount of sun each day just driving in our cars. The most effective sunscreen has at least 6% zinc. We have two choices here to choose from. Likewise or Elta. Use LaRoche spring water first and then apply the sunscreen while your skin is still wet.
  • Avoid rubbing, scrubbing or massaging the face.  Rubbing will tend to irritate the reddened skin. 
  • Exercise in a cool environment.  Don’t overheat. Use a fan.  If your face is turning red while you are exercising, consider taking a break.
  • Avoid food or drinks that make your face turn red.  Some examples may be caffeine, spicy foods, and alcoholic beverages.  Although alcohol may worsen a case of rosacea, symptoms may be just as severe in someone who doesn’t drink at all.  This condition has been unfairly linked to alcoholism in the past.
  • Avoid irritating cosmetics and facial products, especially those containing alcohol. Aftershave and glycolic acid are abrasive and can irritate your rosacea.
  • Keep a diary of flushing episodes and note associated foods, products, activities, medications or other triggering factors.  Try to avoid these triggers.