Conditions

How Does Rosacea Affect You?

Rosacea is a condition that causes a rash, redness and inflammation around the face. There is no known cure.

The condition can be triggered by a number of factors including diet, stress, the weather and medicine.

It is generally advised to treat affected areas of the skin with care to avoid aggravating the condition further.

What Is Rosacea?

Rosacea causes the face to appear red and flushed and is usually most noticeable on the chin, nose, forehead and cheeks. The flushed appearance of the skin is caused by the blood vessels dilating.

Rosacea can also cause spots and pustules, a burning or stinging sensation as well as visible blood vessels on the skin. Although rosacea is a physical condition, it can also have a psychological impact due to the effect on the physical appearance.

Symptoms can be mild, resulting in a slight reddening of the face, or it can be more severe and noticeable. Rosacea symptoms aren’t always present. There may be times symptoms are less severe, and times when the symptoms are more prominent and noticeable.

There is no known cause for the condition but symptoms can be controlled with ongoing treatment.

What Causes Rosacea?

The cause of rosacea is not yet fully understood, however there are numerous factors that may result in dilation of the blood vessels which produces the distinctive symptoms.

Abnormalities in the blood vessels of the face may be a factor and it is often thought that exposure to sunlight or UV light may aggravate the condition.

It is also suggested that harmless mites called Demodex Folliculorum may be a potential cause but this has not been proven. Demodex Folliculorum are microscopic organisms which reside in the skin. Rosacea sufferers tend to have more of these mites present on their skin than those that do not have rosacea. It is not known whether this causes rosacea or whether the increased number is due to the condition itself.

Genetics may play a part in the cause of rosacea but this has also not been scientifically proven. It has been suggested that rosacea is common amongst members of the same family but there is not enough evidence to prove this conclusively.

Rosacea is more common in those with fair skin and it is also more common amongst women than men.

Rosacea Triggers

Although the cause of rosacea is not yet fully understood, there are a number of factors that may trigger the condition.

Certain foods such as spicy foods may trigger rosacea symptoms. Paying attention to your diet is a must, to avoid aggravating the condition. The consumption of alcohol or caffeine may also be a contributing factor.

Changes in temperature can also trigger rosacea. Flare ups can occur in both hot weather and cold weather and many rosacea sufferers find that their symptoms worsen at the change of seasons. Cold and windy weather can result in the on-sight of rosacea symptoms, protecting your face from the elements is important to minimise the risk of your symptoms worsening. It’s also important to protect yourself from the sun during the summer months as sun exposure can also trigger the symptoms.

Exercise and overexertion is also a potential trigger. Avoiding exercise can have a detrimental effect on your health so you shouldn't completely rule out physical activity. Low intensity fitness workouts, exercising over shorter periods of time and making sure you exercise in a cool room can help reduce the possibility of triggering your symptoms.

In some people, make up can also affect the condition. Opt for fragrance free make up and skin care products and always test new products on a small area of your skin first to reduce the risk of irritation.

Rosacea is common in men as well as women. Shaving can aggravate the skin so it’s important to be aware of the products you use as well as your choice of razor. Opt for an electric razor and use products that are gentle on the skin.

The menopause can also trigger rosacea as can certain medications.

Treatment and Self Care

While a cure for rosacea is not currently known, there are a number of ways the condition can be managed.

Being aware of triggers and avoiding certain foods and drink that can aggravate the condition is one of the best ways to control your symptoms. Triggers will often be different for different people so it’s important to be aware of your own personal triggers in order to keep a flare up at bay.

There are treatments available from your GP if your symptoms worsen or you aren’t seeing any improvement. Treatment is generally given on a long term basis, however, it is not unusual for sufferers to experience periods of time when they are symptom free.

There are numerous creams and gels available which can be applied to the affected area to reduce the symptoms. Oral antibiotics can also be prescribed by your GP. This is usually only recommended in more severe cases and is particularly helpful in reducing spots and blemishes.

Intense Pulsed Light (IPL) treatment is also used to treat rosacea symptoms. A beam of light is pointed at the affected area to help reduce the appearance of any visible blood vessels.

It’s important to discuss treatment options with your GP in order to find the best treatment for you. Some people may respond well to simply avoiding their triggers whereas others may find a cream or gel to be particularly effective. In some cases, creams, gels and avoiding known triggers isn’t enough to control the symptoms so antibiotics are the best option.

Summary

Rosacea is a skin condition which affects the face. There is no known cure for the condition but there are many things you can do to help reduce the symptoms:

Protect your skin from extreme weather conditions as much as possible and always wear a high factor sun cream during the hot weather. Use gentle, fragrance free skin care products, avoid spicy food, limit your intake of caffeine and alcohol and avoid overexertion where possible.

Rosacea isn’t something that you should worry about as there are many rosacea treatments available. Your GP will be able to give you more information regarding the options available to you.

You can find further support and information about rosacea on the National Rosacea Society website.