What is Rosacea?

There are many incorrect perceptions of rosacea and very limited awareness of the skin condition. Despite being so common, a recent survey revealed that nearly one-third of people are unaware of what it is, and is often misjudged1.

Here’s what you need to know about the skin condition, including the symptoms and treatments.

What is rosacea?

Rosacea is a relapsing, multi-symptom, long-term skin condition caused by abnormal blood flow to the top layers of the skin.

What are the symptoms of rosacea?

  • Facial redness and flushing
  • Bumps and pimples
  • Burning and stinging sensations
  • Permanent redness
  • Spots (papules and pustules)
  • Small blood vessels in the skin becoming visible

The exact cause of rosacea is unknown, but chronic inflammation plays a significant role. Certain triggers include2:

  • Heat and cold
  • Intense physical exercise
  • Alcohol and caffeine
  • Exposure to sunlight
  • Stress
  • Hot drinks and spicy foods

If you have rosacea, it’s advisable to avoid or limit these triggers.

How it can affect mental health

Despite rosacea affecting approximately 10% of the UK population, individuals continue to suffer in silence3. People with the condition are often emotionally affected by both their appearance and associated social stigmas.

Due to the visible symptoms, mostly on the face, it often has a significant effect on self-esteem, which can unfortunately cause anxiety and depression in sufferers4.

Individuals with rosacea often go a long time before seeking a medical advice, a correct diagnosis and treatment. They often rely on make-up and other cosmetic products to cover up the symptoms rather than addressing them and getting treated.

Treating rosacea

Currently, there isn’t a specific cure for rosacea, but there are treatments available that can help control the symptoms and ease discomfort.

For most individuals with rosacea, treatment involves a mixture of self-help measures and medication, including5:
  • Avoiding known triggers
  • Creams and gels that you can apply to the skin to reduce spots and redness
  • Oral medications and antibiotics that can help clear up more severe spots

In some more severe cases, laser and intense pulsed light (IPL) treatment and procedures may help. Beams of light are aimed at the visible blood vessels in the skin to shrink them and make them less visible.

Dr Anton Alexandroff, Consultant Dermatologist at BMI The Manor Hospital, said, ‘Rosacea is often misunderstood and until now we have been extremely limited in the options we can offer people suffering from facial redness. Some patients are prescribed anti-inflammatory antibiotics, which treat the pimples and pustules associated with rosacea but fail to combat facial redness and flushing. But different treatment options are becoming available so people suffering need to speak to their healthcare professional. Typically the symptoms associated with rosacea get worse if left untreated so it’s key that we recognise and treat this condition.’

To raise awareness of rosacea and to create an online community for sufferers, the ‘Experience My Rosacea’ microsite has been created. On the site, those with rosacea, or an interest in the skin condition, can share stories, experiences and advice from their own blogs. These include posts on personal experiences with rosacea, as well as general skincare and beauty tips. To find out more about the Experience My Rosacea campaign, please visit www.experiencemyrosacea.co.uk. It’s important not to ignore your symptoms and we urge people to get a diagnosis as soon as they can so they can be treated. If you have any further questions about rosacea or you think you’re suffering from it, feel free to get in touch. 

To find out more call us on 0808 101 0337 

or make an online enquiry.

Sources

1http://www.rosacea.org/rr/2009/summer/article_4.php
2http://www.nhs.uk/Conditions/Rosacea/Pages/Introduction.aspx
3http://www.rosacea.org/rr/2009/summer/article_4.php
4Blount BW, Pelletier AL. Rosacea: a common, yet commonly overlooked, condition. Am Fam Physician. 2002;66:435-440.
5http://www.nhs.uk/Conditions/Rosacea/Pages/Treatment.aspx

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