What is Rosacea?
According to the Medical Dictionary Online, this is the definition of Rosacea:
A cutaneous disorder primarily of convexities of the central part of the Face, such as Forehead; CHEEK; Nose; and Chin. It is characterized by Flushing; Erythema; Edema; Rhinophyma; papules; and ocular symptoms. It may occur at any age but typically after age 30. There are various subtypes of rosacea: Erythematotelangiectatic, papulopustular, phymatous, and ocular (National Rosacea Society’s Expert Committee on the Classification and Staging of Rosacea, J Am Acad Dermatol 2002; 46:584-7).
In more simple terms, rosacea is a skin condition that presents in a number of different ways. The one thing that everyone with rosacea has in common is skin redness in the affected area.
Also called “acne rosacea”, this skin disorder is typically focused on the central part of the face, such as the
cheeks and nose, but it can also affect the outer areas, such as at the temples and closer to the ears.
Some of the symptoms of rosacea can include redness, flushing, blushing easily, bumps, skin thickening, and even eye irritation. The symptoms that you experience depend on the subtype that you have.
There are four rosacea subtypes. Virtually everybody who has the condition starts with subtype 1. If left untreated, the condition will nearly always worsen.
Rosacea Symptoms and Subtypes
Each of the subtypes of the condition has its own set of potential rosacea symptoms. Since each case of this skin disorder is unique,
your case will have its own unique combination and severity of some or any of these symptoms.
Regardless of subtype, though, some of the most common symptoms of rosacea are:
- persistent redness
- very dry skin
- very sensitive/reactive skin
- blushing easily
- sun burning quickly
- hot/burning skin
- itchy skin
- the development of “plaques”, which are patches of very dry skin that vary in size.
Rosacea Subtype 1 – Facial Redness
This is usually focused primarily on the nose and/or the cheeks. As this subtype progresses, blood vessels can become visible.
Rosacea Subtype 2 – Bumps and Pimples (known as papulopustular rosacea)
These bumps can look quite similar to pink pimples or whiteheads (though not blackheads). They are not the same as the pimples caused by acne vulgaris but are the reason that the condition is sometimes known as “acne rosacea”. That name is, unfortunately, quite misleading and will frequently cause sufferers to choose the wrong treatment strategies.
Rosacea Subtype 3 – Skin Thickening
Thickening of the skin among rosacea sufferers most commonly occurs on the nose. It causes the nose to increase in size and will give it a more bulbous appearance.
Rosacea Subtype 4 – Eye Irritation
Over time, untreated rosacea symptoms can even progress to the eyelids and eyes, making them feel sandy or itchy in a way that is often compared to seasonal or dust allergies. Eyes will often look bloodshot and/or watery as the redness makes its way into them, as well.
Although the term “acne rosacea” is used as though it is a form of this condition, it is actually a kind of misnomer for subtype 2.
The pimple-like bumps, redness and inflammation from rosacea subtypes 1 and 2 can often be mistaken for acne vulgaris, to the point that many doctors will misdiagnose one condition for the other. However, acne rosacea is not a form of acne. The pimples in subtype 2 are not the result of acne vulgaris.
Many dermatologists are trying to reduce the use of the term “acne rosacea” in the hopes of promoting a greater separation between the two unrelated conditions.
There are a virtually countless number of potential rosacea triggers and every patient has a different combination that will lead to his or her own symptom flare-ups. That said, some of the most common triggers include the following:
- alcohol (especially red wine)
- spicy foods and beverages
- hot (temperature) foods and beverages
- Environmental temperature extremes
- Stress and anxiety
- Anger or embarrassment
- Hot baths, showers and saunas
- Strenuous exercise and physical exertion
- Drugs causing blood vessel dilation (including certain blood pressure medications)
- Corticosteroids (including prednisone)
To discover which factors may be triggering your rosacea symptoms, it is recommended that you keep a rosacea diary that allows you to monitor the various influences you are experiencing and track when a flare-up occurs. Identifying patterns and trends is your best route to knowing your rosacea triggers.
Now that we’ve answered the question, “What is Rosacea?”, let’s find out what could be causing it, and what the cure might be for you, next.
Light Therapy for Rosacea
Another popular type of natural treatment for rosacea is red and / or amber light therapy. This method is commonly used to help:
- heal the bumps
- reduce or even eliminate the redness
- to ease the discomforts such as tightness, itching, and the burning feeling
- soften the skin
The reason that light therapy has become popular for treating rosacea is that it
can work very well in combination with other natural methods, and has not had any side effects reported in conjunction with its use. Many rosacea sufferers can start to feel a difference within 24 hours of their first session. Learn more about light therapy…
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