April is International Rosacea Awareness Month but what is it and is it having you, or someone you know, see red?
Rosacea (pronounced rose-AY-sha) is a common, chronic, skin condition that begins with a tendency to blush or flush more easily than other people. It gradually spreads on the nose and cheeks to the forehead and chin. Over time people with rosacea develop a permanent red centred face. The ears, chest and back can also become red, all the time. It is likely that you either have, or know someone with, this condition.
Women are more likely than men to get rosacea, however are not as likely as men to get severe forms of the condition. People of all ethnicities and children get rosacea.
Rosacea starts on the cheeks and gradually spreads across the face. Image: www.racgp.org.au
What are the triggers for rosacea? Some known triggers include:
embarrassment, anxiety or stress
having cold wind blow on your face
hot environments, radiant heat, saunas, steam etc.
Impact of living with rosacea Rosacea causes more than a red face. There are many signs (what you can see) and symptoms (what a person feels) of rosacea.
Rosacea can affect more than the skin and eyes. Many people report problems at work, in their marriage and with meeting new people. Unfortunately people with rosacea are often mistakenly believed to have a drinking problem, causing anxiety and depression.
A survey of more than 400 people with rosacea found that:
76% had of people had lowered self-confidence and self-esteem.
52% said their rosacea caused them to avoid public contact or cancel social engagements.
of those whose rosacea is severe, 70% of people said the disease affects their interactions at work. Nearly 30% said that rosacea caused them to miss work.
Rosacea can affect the entire face (A) and in rare cases the nose, causing a thickening of skin and a bulbous nose (B) Image: www.racgp.org.au
What can you do? Finding out what your triggers are, making some lifestyle changes to avoid the triggers and treating rosacea can prevent flareups and the rosacea from worsening.
Also think sun protection 24/7. People who have rosacea often find that their skin is quite sensitive to the sun. Sunscreen, protective clothing, sunglasses and a widebrim hat will protect your skin.
What treatment is available The management of rosacea is focused on the treatment of symptoms. Getting the right management of the condition will ensure your skin does not age prematurely and will reduce associated sensitivity. It will also improve quality of life and confidence.
Treatment improve a person’s quality of life. Studies show that when people have fewer signs and symptoms of rosacea, their quality of life improves.
Rosacea treatment before and after. Image Rodan Fields