Rosacea isn’t as well known as other skin conditions like acne and eczema, but it’s common. One study found that 415 million people worldwide deal with this chronic, incurable illness.
Rosacea is often harder to diagnose because it’s confused with other common skin conditions, such as an allergic reaction. So the global numbers may actually be higher. The good news for those with rosacea is it can be managed, if you know what triggers your flare-ups.
At three New York City locations, Dr. Javier Zelaya and the skilled medical team at Skinworks Dermatology can help you manage many skin conditions, including rosacea.
Facts about rosacea
Rosacea is a skin condition characterized by visible redness on your face and sometimes small, pus-filled bumps. These symptoms, known as flare-ups, usually come and go.
The root cause of rosacea isn’t well understood. Possible causes include an overactive immune system, environmental factors, and genetics. Other threats include skin mites and bacteria.
Rosacea isn’t linked to hygiene, isn’t contagious, and is more common in women than men. Smoking, having skin that burns easily in direct sunlight, and being a woman over 30 increase your chances of getting rosacea.
Symptoms of rosacea
In addition to redness and bumps, symptoms of rosacea can include:
- Skin thickening
- Visible blood vessels
- Eye irritation
- Burning or stinging sensation in your skin
- Facial swelling
- Dry or rough facial skin
If you have darker skin, a rosacea flare-up may also include a feeling of warmth in your skin and hard, yellowish bumps around the mouth or eyes.
Be aware of rosacea triggers
To avoid rosacea flare-ups, it helps to know what triggers to look for:
Hot foods and drinks, caffeine, alcohol, and dairy products can cause rosacea flare-ups. Other possible triggers include seasonings that contain capsaicin, like hot sauce, cayenne pepper, and red pepper, and foods with cinnamaldehyde, such as chocolate, tomatoes, and citrus.
Extreme hot or cold, sunlight, humidity, and wind can trigger rosacea.
Intense exercise can trigger a rosacea flare-up, as can being in a sauna or hot bath.
Rosacea has been linked to stress and other emotional responses like anxiety, anger, and embarrassment.
Corticosteroids and medications to treat hypertension can also lead to outbreaks on your skin by increasing blood flow just beneath the surface.
Ironically, hypertension can also trigger rosacea, along with colds, coughing, and fevers.
Treatment options for rosacea
Remember, rosacea isn’t curable, so treating it mainly focuses on managing symptoms and triggers.
Treatment varies depending on the severity of your condition, but options include medications — topical medications, oral antibiotics, and oral acne drugs — and lifestyle changes — avoiding triggers, protecting your face from the elements, and taking care of your skin.
Laser therapy can make enlarged blood vessels less visible.
You may have to live with rosacea, but you don’t have to live with the symptoms. To get help, call the Skinworks Dermatology office in Maspeth, Chelsea, or Park Slope, or book your visit online.