Rosacea is a facial skin condition characterized by redness, small bumps, and pimples. People with rosacea have flare-ups of symptoms and most do not have symptoms at all times. Over time however, the redness becomes ruddier and blood vessels will become visible. Although the condition most commonly affects the cheeks, nose, chin, and forehead, it may sometimes appear on the neck, chest, scalp, or ears. The cause of rosacea is not known, but it is believed to be a combination of genetics (changes or mutations in our genes) and environmental causes. There are four subtypes of rosacea (subtypes 1-4); these commonly affect different areas of the face and can cause slightly different symptoms.
The common symptoms of rosacea are flushing, persistent redness (often resembling sunburn), bumps and pimples which may burn or sting, and visible blood vessels. Symptoms may also include dry skin, an enlarged nose (rhinophyma), and eye problems such as dryness, irritation, or swelling. The condition mostly affects fair skinned women, although when affected, men tend to have more severe symptoms. Symptoms usually begin after age 30. Triggers of flare-ups may include any activity or substance which increases blood flow to the skin. These triggers may include hot or spicy foods, alcohol, temperature extremes, stress, anger, embarrassment, hard exercise, saunas, and certain prescription drugs.
Rosacea is normally diagnosed by examining the affected areas of the face. Often your primary doctor will refer you to a dermatologist or doctor who specializes in treating skin disorders. There is no cure for rosacea but there are treatment options including medications, laser treatments, and surgery if the nose is severely affected. Research is ongoing, so talk to your dermatologist about the most current treatment options. Support groups are also a good source of information and can help connect you with others affected by rosacea.