Rosacea is a chronic skin condition that affects an estimated 415 million people worldwide. It presents with small, red, pus-filled bumps when it flares up. For this reason, rosacea is sometimes mistaken for acne.
The causes of rosacea aren’t entirely understood, and while it isn’t curable, it is treatable. Understanding this skin condition and knowing the symptoms can help you catch it early and get treatment quickly.
At their three New York City locations, Dr. Javier Zelaya and the staff at Skinworks Dermatology can help with a range of cosmetic and medical treatments for skin issues such as rosacea.
No one quite knows exactly what causes rosacea, but it could be a combination of hereditary and environmental factors. The condition comes and goes, with flare-ups appearing for weeks or months at a time, then disappearing.
Flare-ups can be triggered by things like hot drinks, spicy foods, extreme temperatures, various cosmetic products, and blood pressure medications.
While anyone can get rosacea, it’s common among light-skinned women starting around age 30. Family history, smoking, and sun damage can also increase the risk.
Signs you may have rosacea
Rosacea usually comes in four types: erythematotelangiectatic rosacea (ETR), papulopustular (or acne) rosacea, rhinophyma, and ocular rosacea. You can have more than one at a time, so symptoms may be of one or more types. Here are five common symptoms:
1. Facial redness
Persistent redness and flushing around the center of the face is a sign of ETR, along with swollen, sensitive skin. This can also happen in the neck and chest.
2. Swollen red bumps
This symptom looks the most like acne, and it’s a sign of papulopustular rosacea complete with the oily skin that acne usually brings. The bumps are sometimes filled with pus and may feel warm and sensitive. There may also be raised patches of skin.
3. Enlarged nose
This is the result of rhinophyma, which creates thick texture and bumpy skin on your nose, chin, forehead, cheeks and ears. This is more common in men.
4. Spider veins
Visible blood vessels, called spider veins or telangiectasia, can be seen on your cheeks, the bridge of your nose, and other areas in the center of your face. Multiple types of rosacea can present with spider veins.
5. Eye irritation
Blepharitis is the term for swollen, irritated, red eyes that can also indicate rosacea. Vision can be blurred, watery, or bloodshot. Swollen red lumps along the edge of the eyelid called styes are also a symptom.
Since rosacea is incurable, the focus of our treatment at Skinworks Dermatology is managing the symptoms. Topical medications like Mirvaso® and Rhofade® are used to constrict blood vessels to reduce redness, but they need to be applied regularly.
Oral antibiotics can manage moderate to severe cases of the acne-like bumps, but if that doesn't work, medications like Amnesteem™ and Claravis™ are powerful oral acne drugs to clear up your skin. Laser therapy can also reduce redness and enlarged blood vessels.
You may have to live with rosacea, but you can control the flare-ups. If you need treatment, make an appointment with Dr. Zelaya and Skinworks Dermatology today at one of our locations in Maspeth, Chelsea, or Park Slope.