Rosacea is a common, chronic, incurable, acne-like skin condition that is easily controllable and medically manageable. There are four subtypes of rosacea and each subtype has its own set of symptoms.

Rosacea may be mistaken for rosy cheeks, sunburn, or quite often, acne. It can be bothersome and embarrassing.

The symptoms of rosacea differ according to the subtype of rosacea. The most common symptoms include –

  • Facial flushing
  • Burning
  • Skin redness
  • Tiny red pimples and red fine lines
  • Rhinophyma – an enlarged, bulbous red nose
  • Visibly broken blood vessels

The symptoms of rosacea tend to come and go. The skin may be clear for a while and then erupt again.

The exact cause of rosacea has not been determined. A combination of hereditary and environmental factors may be the cause. Many things are known to trigger or make the symptoms of rosacea worse. These include –

  • Alcohol
  • Hot or spicy foods
  • Emotional stress
  • Hot or cold weather
  • Heavy exercise
  • A skin mite called Demodex and the bacterium it carries

Rosacea is generally diagnosed based on the red or flushed facial skin appearance and symptoms. In most cases, no specific tests are required for the diagnosis. Many people don’t even realise that they have rosacea.

The facial redness of rosacea may be transient and come and go very quickly and many people may not associate the flushing symptoms with a medical condition. If rosacea is left untreated, it tends to worsen over time.

In the rare case that the dermatologist cannot confirm the diagnosis of rosacea based on the redness of the facial skin, a skin biopsy may be done. Blood tests are not usually required but may be used to help exclude less common causes of facial blushing.

Because there is no cure for rosacea, treatment focuses on controlling the signs and symptoms. Often this requires a combination of skincare and prescription treatments.

The medications that the dermatologist prescribes will depend on what signs and symptoms you’re experiencing. Prescription treatments include medications that reduce redness, oral antibiotics, and isotretinoin.

Laser therapy may help to reduce the redness of enlarged blood vessels. Dermabrasion, intense pulsed light therapy, and electro-surgery may also be used to treat the signs and symptoms of rosacea.

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