When you continually have a red face that looks as though you have a sunburn that won’t go away, you will likely start to wonder what’s going on with your complexion. This becomes more confusing when those rosy cheeks are accompanied by additional symptoms such as itching, burning, extreme dryness, or little pimples that resemble whiteheads.
Diagnosis of rosacea is becoming increasingly common, but as there is no specific test for this condition, doctors tend to rely on a physical exam of the skin, in combination with a history of your symptoms in order to reach a conclusion with regards to what is afflicting you.
For this reason, misdiagnosis of rosacea is common. It is often assumed to be a form of acne, eczema, psoriasis, or even lupus, as all of those conditions can present with similar types of symptoms. Therefore, if you have been showing symptoms of a red face that just don’t seem to be going away, it’s important that you do speak with your doctor and not simply assume that it is rosacea.
At the same time, this same issue works the other way. Many people with rosacea have been treating their skin for another condition following a misdiagnosis. This can cause symptoms to worsen, or it can allow the condition to progress because it is being improperly controlled.
Make an appointment with a doctor
If you think that you may have rosacea because of symptoms of a red face, rosy cheeks, burning, little pimples, or any of the other symptoms of rosacea it is important to speak with a doctor. The diagnosis may be made by your regular physician, or you may need to see a dermatologist.
To prepare for your appointment, you may find that a diary of rosacea symptoms will be a helpful tool. If you record the symptoms that you experience over the days that precede the appointment, you’ll be able to show your doctor the times of day when you experience the most symptoms, the types of things you ate when symptoms occurred, the amount of sunlight to which you were exposed, exercise and physical exertion, and even the amount of stress that you were feeling. This can help to point to certain triggers, which is very helpful for both yourself and the doctor in making a diagnosis and in suggesting rosacea treatments that will work.
There aren’t any screening tools such as blood tests for rosacea, so the most important thing that you can do when you prepare for your first visit to the doctor’s office is to go with a clean and moisturized face. Don’t wear makeup. Observing your skin is one of the primary techniques that a doctor can use to help to decide whether or not your red face is caused by rosacea. If you cover it or change it with makeup, that could mislead your doctor.
At the dermatologist appointment
Your doctor or dermatologist will likely speak with you about your medical history. This may include questions about medical conditions, your skin care routine, mental health issues (as stress and anxiety can be some primary rosacea triggers), lifestyle (such as time spent outdoors in direct sunlight), whether or not your family has a history of rosy cheeks, and even about your menstrual cycle (if you are female, of course).
Some components of a physical exam may also be conducted in order to rule out other potential causes of the symptoms. This will mostly involve a careful skin examination during which the symptoms are carefully observed. At this time, you will likely be asked about other symptoms such as any pain, itching, burning, or stinging that you feel in the red parts of your face.
Receiving a rosacea diagnosis for your red face symptoms
The actual diagnosis of rosacea should be relatively fast, easy, and painless. This will be even faster if you have taken note of your symptoms and potential triggers, in advance. The reason is that it will help your doctor to more quickly rule out other potential conditions that could be causing the symptoms.
An accurate rosacea diagnosis is key to being able to treat and overcome your red face symptoms and to reduce or eliminate the discomforts associated with this condition, such as burning and stinging. Beginning treatment early on is also important to helping to slow the progression of the condition. While not every rosacea sufferer’s symptoms will worsen over time, many people who have this skin disorder do find that it becomes more severe as the years pass.
Since there are many different components to a rosacea treatment, and it takes some trial and error to discover what will work for each specific individual, an early start is your best advantage. Some of the things that you should expect to have recommended to you include:
- Dietary changes (to identify and avoid trigger foods and drinks)
- Sun protection
- Gentle skin care including proper cleansing and moisturizing
- A topical product, such as a prescription medication or natural treatment.
- An oral antibiotic (this is a common first effort to clear symptoms)
- Avoiding excessive heat and steam (stoves, hot beverages, soups, saunas, hot tubs, etc)
- Red light therapy
Light therapy is a relatively new type of treatment for red face symptoms, but positive responses over the last decade to treatments involving red light or red combined with other colors of light, have made this a much more common practice. If your doctor or dermatologist does not bring up the topic among the initial forms of treatment for rosacea, don’t hesitate to bring up the subject in order to discuss whether or not it will be appropriate for you and your new skin care routine.