Rosacea is a common skin condition characterized by reddening of the face, visible blood vessels, and sometimes small, pus-filled red bumps. Because rosacea makes the skin unattractive, and because it affects the most visible part of the body, the condition frequently affects self-esteem (similarly to other skin problems, like acne). There are, however, several ways a skilled cosmetic dermatologist can treat the disorder. Dr. Harvey-Dent, founder and medical director of Unique Dermatology in Valrico, Florida, runs a holistic practice, focusing not only on her patients’ symptoms but on their emotional reactions to those symptoms. If you are suffering with rosacea, therefore, she is the perfect physician to consult. She knows only too well that, while rosacea is a benign inflammatory skin condition, it is a significant problem for those who suffer with it, causing both psychological as well as medical symptoms.
Risk Factors for Rosacea
Although anyone can develop rosacea, it is more common in fair-skinned individuals, especially those who blush or flush easily. The condition shows up most often in middle-aged fair-skinned women. Nonetheless, whatever your age or skin tone, having rosacea will likely cause you emotional, as well as physical, discomfort. Smoking, sun damage, and a family history of rosacea are also risk factors for the condition.
Symptoms of Rosacea
Though most obvious on the face, the condition can affect the ears, chest, and back as well. The symptoms of rosacea are often mistaken for acne or an allergic reaction, so it is important to seek an accurate diagnosis and treatment from a well-trained dermatologist. Symptoms of rosacea may include:
- Skin redness
- Visible blood vessels on nose and cheeks
- Swollen red bumps or small cysts
- Pimples resembling acne (sometimes containing pus)
- Sensation of heat and sensitivity in affected areas
- Eye dryness, swelling and/or redness of the eyes
- Thickening of facial tissue, especially of the nose
- Bulbous appearance of the nose (more common in men) — rhinophyma
Perhaps the most familiar face of rosacea in the early decades of the 20th century was that of W.C. Fields, a comedian whose condition was, at the time, blamed by most of the public on alcohol abuse. It has since been established that even though alcohol can cause rosacea symptoms to flare up, drinking too much is not a risk factor for rosacea.
Diagnosis of Rosacea
Because there is no diagnostic test for rosacea, dermatologists arrive at their diagnosis by physical examination and by ruling out other types of skin disease, such as acne, psoriasis, eczema or lupus.
Triggers of Rosacea Flare-ups
The symptoms of rosacea, like those of many other medical conditions, wax and wane, so one successful method of keeping the problem under control is to identify your triggers and avoid them as much as possible. Triggers for flare-ups of rosacea include:
- Sun or wind exposure
- Exposure to extreme heat or cold
- Experiencing a high level of stress
- Spicy foods
- Hot beverages
- Medications, particularly ones that dilate blood vessels
- Various types of cosmetics have also been linked to rosacea flare-ups, as has hairspray.
Causes of Rosacea
While the causes of rosacea are not yet known, the condition is presumed to occur because of a combination of hereditary and environmental factors. Poor hygiene as a cause of rosacea has been ruled out. It is believed that abnormalities in the blood vessels make them more visible and cause the skin to flush.
There are a number of treatments for rosacea; different ones may work on different people and on different manifestations of the condition. It is very important that you receive care from a cutting- edge dermatologist who knows all the newest methods of treating rosacea and who will investigate the particular aspects of your case that may make one treatment more likely to be successful than another. Dr. Harvey-Dent will take the time to analyze your case carefully and to listen to what you have to say regarding your medical history so that she can start you on a successful treatment plan.
Possible treatments for Rosacea include:
- Topical medications, such as anti-inflammatories, antibiotics, and anti-acne creams
- Laser treatments
- Chemical peels
Dr. Harvey-Dent can also assist you in choosing concealing cosmetics and sunscreen products that will not irritate your skin going forward.
Don’t Let Rosacea Isolate You
Please don’t make the mistake of letting rosacea outbreaks keep you from participating in your normal activities. After all, lots of people have the condition — you’re in good company. Princess Diana, her son Prince William, Renee Zellweger, and Bill Clinton have all dealt with rosacea without impediment to their careers or social lives and you can, too. What you need is fine dermatological care, techniques for managing your triggers, and means to maintain a positive attitude. Dr. Harvey-Dent at Unique Dermatology & Wellness Center can provide all three. Why not give the office a call or fill out one of the contact forms on our website? You will be glad you did.