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What Exactly Is Rosacea?

You may have heard Rosacea called “adult acne,” often because it can manifest in a number of ways, one of these ways being a form of supposed acne (it’s not). This is typically seen in patients who are 30-60 years old. The condition has no known cause but has four common sets of symptoms, each of which involves a reddening or “flushing” of the face.

Rosacea – It’s Not Acne

Rosacea Acne should not be confused with ordinary acne that manifests itself on your face during puberty. The mechanism of action of the varying types of Rosacea is unknown and while some symptoms of Rosacea may look like traditional acne, the treatment methods differ. Trying to treat Rosacea Acne like regular acne just spells trouble.

If you have acne-like breakouts combined with reddened areas, the likelihood of Rosacea is high. Specific medical assessment and treatment is the only way to control Rosacea and there is no “self-treatment” option.

Four Common Types of Rosacea

– “Red Face” Rosacea: This type of Rosacea is characterized by reddening or flushing across your nose and central face area that can last for long periods of time.

– Papulopustular Rosacea: This version of the condition features bumps or pus-filled lesions on your face that are often confused with typical acne. This type of Rosacea may be present with our without a red face.

– Rhinophyma: In this kind of Rosacea, a slow enlargement of oil glands and skin around your nose can eventually lead to a twisted or knobbed-looking nasal area. Rhinophyma is more common in men and requires laser treatment for improvement.

– Ocular Rosacea: Often a precursor of skin changes, this type of Rosacea can cause your eyes to feel gritty or burn with or without a reddening of the surrounding skin.

What Causes Rosacea?

The precise answer to this question is unknown. While the condition affects mostly adults from 30-60 years of age and often those who have fair skin, no causal link has been identified between Rosacea and overactive blood vessels, your genetic inheritance or environmental factors.

Your innate immune response can have an impact on the severity of the condition, as some people are more prone to severe face flushing and redness. Steroids on the face and the use of facial cream or oil on your skin can contribute to the severity of Rosacea.

You may also find that a number of environmental factors will trigger a Rosacea attack, often those that will also cause a natural flushing of the face. These can include sunlight, hot drinks, spicy food and exercise.

Caring For Your Rosacea Skin

Just as there is no known cause for your Rosacea, no absolute cure exists.  The goal is control and minimizing occurrence. There are a number of things that you can do to lessen the impact of this condition.

First, avoid oil-based cleansers or make-up and use water-based products instead. Never apply a topical steroid of any kind to your face and try to limit the amount of unprotected sunlight you receive.

There are also a number of medical treatments we can provide to help keep your Rosacea in check, including topical or Rosacea-specific oral antibiotics that can reduce redness on your face. If your Rosacea is more severe, surgical treatment using lasers or electrocautery (destroying tissue using heat) may help to manage it