Rosacea is a common chronic skin disease that affects about 14 million people, including such famous ones as Bill Clinton, the late Princess Diana, and Prince William. Being royalty is not a requirement for rosacea, but since the condition does tend to run in families, it's not unusual that more than one member of the royal family has had it.
Other factors that may contribute to rosacea in addition to family history are fair skin, a tendency to blush easily, and being a middle-aged or older woman. Rosacea is characterized by red, flush, and swollen skin. Flare-ups can last for several weeks to several months.
While there is no cure for rosacea, there are treatments to help you look and feel better. And at Los Gatos Dermatology, we’re experts in treating rosacea.
Common rosacea symptoms
Rosacea is not only unpleasant to look at, but it can also be uncomfortable and painful. There are so many symptoms for rosacea that it's often mistaken for acne or another skin condition. Symptoms are broken down into four subgroups. Subgroups and symptoms include:
This subgroup of symptoms is clinically referred to as erythematotelangiectatic rosacea. Typical symptoms include red, raw-feeling and raw-looking skin as well as visibly broken blood vessels and skin swelling. The skin also feels dry and rough and may be sensitive to touch.
Acne-like red bumps
With this subtype, also called papulopustular rosacea, your rosacea might be mistaken for an acne breakout rather than a rosacea flare-up. Symptoms include pimples, oily skin, and skin that feels hot.
This type of rosacea, also called phymatous rosacea, affects your skin texture as well as appearance. Typical symptoms of this subtype include bumpy, thick skin with large pores and a bulbous nose. While the nose is most often affected, skin thickening can also occur on your chin, forehead, cheeks, and ears.
Common eye issues, or ocular rosacea, include eyes that feel dry, swollen, and irritated and look red.
Common rosacea triggers
While the medical community doesn't know exactly what causes rosacea, we do know that certain triggers often cause flare-ups. Once you discover your trigger or triggers, you should try to avoid them.
The best way to determine your triggers is to keep a journal of the activities you do and the foods you eat, and then record when you have a rosacea flare-up. See if you can connect the dates from your journal. Common triggers include:
- Hot foods and beverages
- Spicy foods
Rosacea treatment options
Your treatment depends on your symptoms and the severity of your condition. It's best to seek treatment right away so that your skin and symptoms don't become worse. Lifestyle treatment options include:
- Wearing sunscreen
- Wearing sunglasses
- Avoiding the sun when possible
- Using gentle skin care products
Other treatment options include:
- Topical creams or gels
- Oral antibiotics or acne medication
- Non-invasive skin procedures such as intense pulse light (IPL) treatment
If you think you have rosacea, call us at Los Gatos Dermatology to make an appointment to learn about your treatment options. Board-certified cosmetic dermatologist Bruce Saal, MD, and his team look forward to helping you.