Rosacea is classified as a chronic skin disease that now inflicts an astounding 16 million Americans. It is most frequently seen in people of Northern European, Scottish, Irish, and English descent. It is more commonly seen in females than males (possibly due to thinner skin), and people with fair skin, red hair, and blue eyes. These genetic propensities make it far more rare to see this disease in those of African American or South Asian descent. Despite these statistics, a recent Gallup poll showed only 22% of sufferers have been medically diagnosed as having Rosacea. It is probable that Rosacea is commonly misdiagnosed due to its similar characteristics with acne, and therefore correct treatment is often delayed.
The rosy appearance of one’s complexion is where the name “Rosacea” (derived from the Latin word for “roses”) is founded. Many times Rosacea is diagnosed as Acne Rosacea since they have similar appearances and can often co-exist, but they are actually caused by very different processes. Rosacea tell-tale signs include flushing or persistent redness of the face, the visibility of small blood vessels in the skin, and the presence of numerous bumps and pimples.
Many sufferers of Rosacea feel their self-esteem has been affected by the visual symptoms of this chronic and relapsing condition. A red face was once the tell-tale sign of a drunk or someone on hormonal drugs like steroids. Flushing was often seen as a sign of embarrassment or being “flustered”. In surveys conducted by the National Rosacea Society among Rosacea patients with severe symptoms, 88 percent stated that they experienced problems in interacting socially and professionally and 51 percent admitted that their work has been affected by their condition.
While there is still a lack of clear medical consensus as to the exact causes of Rosacea and while there is no outright cure for this disease, signs and symptoms can be controlled and managed when understanding the triggers. Some of the warning signs of a Rosacea flare-up include:
- Excessive blushing or flushing on the face, particularly the cheeks, nose, chin or forehead
- Appearance of red and dome-shaped papules and pustules throughout the skin
- Tiny dilated vessels can be seen on the skin
- Watery or irritated eyes
The key to managing Rosacea is identifying the factors that often trigger its symptoms. It is a skin condition that must be kept under control and treated. A number of factors have been identified as responsible for triggering the condition. These include:
- UV light
- Stress and anxiety
- Physical exertion
- Extreme variations in temperature and humidity
- Spicy food
- Red wine
- Topical steroids and skin care products that contain alcohol