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June 14, 2021 • read
Rosacea: what you need to know
For many people, it starts as a simple tendency to flush or blush easily. It may happen unexpectedly, or for little to no reason at all.
If this progresses to a point where the skin begins feeling inflamed, dry, or sensitive, you may be experiencing rosacea – an incredibly common skin condition that affects over three million Canadians each year.
While this disease isn’t life-threatening, it can have a huge impact on your confidence in your day-to-day life. If you’ve lived with the condition for a long time and haven’t gotten medical advice yet, you may not realize you have treatment options.
Before we talk about treatments though, let’s learn more about what rosacea is, and how to recognize it.
What is rosacea?
Rosacea is a very common long-term skin condition that can appear in a number of different forms. It may also appear as a flare-up for weeks or months at a time, gradually disappearing and reappearing in the future.
While rosacea can affect anyone, it most often occurs in fair-skinned people between 30 and 50 years old, and generally affects more women than men.
What are some common rosacea signs and symptoms?
There are a few different signs and symptoms of rosacea that may help you identify the condition.
The most recognizable sign of rosacea is facial redness, which typically affects the central area on your face. Blood vessels on your cheeks and nose can swell, which can cause them to become more visible, irritated, dry, and sore. The area may start feeling warm or tender to the touch.
Swollen red bumps or pimples may appear on the affected area, which look similar to acne. They may even contain pus, depending on their severity.
Eye issues can also be a result of rosacea. Irritated, dry, swollen, or red eyelids are known specifically as ocular rosacea. In some cases, these symptoms can actually appear before your skin symptoms, or entirely on their own.
What causes rosacea?
The direct causes of rosacea are unknown at this time. Some scientists believe that one of our body’s inflammatory mediators (cathelicidin) could potentially be involved in the appearance of rosacea.
There are, however, some risks factors known to increase your chances of developing rosacea, including:
- You’re over the age of 30
- You’re a woman
- You smoke or have smoked in the past
- You’re fair-skinned
- You have skin damage from sun exposure
- You have a family history of rosacea
Additionally, there are a number of triggers known to cause rosacea flare-ups. Some of these include:
- Exposure to sun or wind
- Strong emotions
- Hot beverages (excluding caffeinated beverages like coffee)
- Spicy foods
- Temperature extremes, hot, or cold
- Drugs that cause blood vessels to dilate
- Alcoholic beverages (particularly red wine)
- Certain cosmetic products
How is rosacea diagnosed?
There are no specific tests at this time that are used to diagnose rosacea. Instead of tests, your doctor can identify rosacea by talking to you about your history of symptoms and examining the affected area of skin.
The doctor may suggest additional testing for other skin conditions (like eczema, lupus, or psoriasis), in order to rule them out. They could also suggest you visit a dermatologist, who will have the expertise to help identify the correct skin condition.
If your symptoms are affecting your eyes more than your skin, the doctor may suggest you see an ophthalmologist to have an evaluation performed.
How is rosacea treated?
Because there is no cure for rosacea, treatment focuses more on controlling your rosacea signs and symptoms.
In many cases, this involves a regiment to maintain good skin care, as well as possibly suggesting prescription medications.
They may suggest topical medications designed to reduce redness, oral antibiotics, or acne medications, depending on your specific symptoms and their severity.
When should I see a doctor?
The reality is only you will know when it’s time to seek help.
Are you feeling embarrassed because of your symptoms? Is the redness in your face not going away, no matter what you try? Are you experiencing pain, burning, or stinging around the affected area?
If you answered yes to any of these questions, then it may be time to finally talk to someone about your condition.
Just because there is no cure for rosacea, doesn’t mean there isn’t help available. In fact, depending on the severity of your condition, rosacea treatments may make your symptoms more manageable and reduce their impact on your daily life.
Can Maple help me with my rosacea?
Yes, we can. General practitioners on Maple would be happy to talk to you about your skin and skin conditions. You can even use our platform to consult a dermatologist, who can give you insight into how you can best manage your specific symptoms.
You don’t have to feel embarrassed about your condition. Rosacea is a very common disease that affects millions of people each year. It may even become more prevalent as the current population ages.
Reach out to us today. Let us help you find solutions for managing your rosacea, so you can go back to enjoying life the way you should be.