Rosacea is one of the most common skin care conditions treated at our dermatology practices in Martinsburg West Virginia and Hagerstown Maryland.
But what is rosacea? What causes it? And how do you treat it?
We’re answering your most common questions about rosacea.
What is rosacea?
Rosacea is a skin condition that affects about 14 million Americans. It can affect anyone at any age. However, it is most common in people between the ages of 30 and 50. Fair-skinned people are more likely to develop the skin disease, especially those from Celtic or Scandinavian ancestry.
A family history of rosacea increases the odds that you will develop it. A personal history of acne also makes you more likely to develop rosacea.
It is predominantly found in the facial region although it can occasionally affect the neck and chest area.
The symptoms of rosacea include:
- Redness on the cheeks, nose, chin, and/ or forehead;
- Bumps that may resemble pimples on the face, especially the cheeks;
- Small blood vessels on the face that are noticeable or visible;
- Irritated or watery eyes.
What causes rosacea?
Rosacea is a chronic condition. We know the risks of the disease but not the direct causes. We do know, however, that family history plays a large role in developing rosacea.
Dermatologists also speculate that the immune system may play a role in who develops rosacea.
How one reacts to common infections, mites and proteins normally found on the body also may have an impact.
While dermatologists are unsure what causes the onset of rosacea, we do know the disease symptoms can come and go. The redness, bumps, and watery eyes can subside for periods of time. These same symptoms may then reappear later.
What are the best treatments for rosacea?
Rosacea cannot be cured, yet the symptoms may be treated in various ways. Treatment for rosacea symptoms can be summarized in these 3 steps.
1. Avoid, or at least become aware of, your rosacea triggers.
Sufferers of rosacea will often notice that their condition varies in severity. Therefore, one of the best ways to treat the disease is to know what triggers a rosacea flare-up.
Triggers vary from person to person. Environmental factors like sunlight, heat, wind, or cold may cause flare-ups. Stress, alcohol consumption, or eating spicy foods are also common triggers. And in some people, certain skin care products, makeup, or medicines can make rosacea symptoms worsen or flare.
Not all of these factors can be completely avoided.
But, at least knowing your triggers can help you minimize your exposure to them.
Keeping a diary of flare-ups and exposure to triggers can help patients identity what they should avoid.
2. Develop a rosacea friendly skin-care routine.
It is especially important for people with rosacea to develop a good skin care routine.
For example, rosacea sufferers should use a soft, non-irritating washcloth to cleanse the skin. Skin should be rubbed excessively or too aggressively.
Cleaners and moisturizers should also be mild and non-abrasive. And make-up should be fragrance free and allergy tested.
Those with rosacea should always use a sunscreen. An SPF 30 or higher sunscreen should be applied daily.
Sunscreen, as well as all skin care products, should be irritant free to prevent rosacea outbreaks. For sunscreen, this means choosing a non-chemical (mineral) product that contains zinc or titanium dioxide.
If a skin care product makes your skin burn, itch, or feel irritated it should not be used.
3. Seek dermatologic care.
Often, rosacea may not be completely controlled by environmental prevention of flare-ups. While these methods help, they sometimes need to be done in conjunction with other treatment.
A dermatologist is able to assess your severity and type of rosacea. In doing so, he or she will be able to offer suggestions on at-home care. Additionally, dermatologists are able to prescribe prescription medications to treat rosacea.
Many rosacea medications are topical creams or lotions to be applied daily. In some more severe cases of rosacea, oral medication is also prescribed.
Our dermatologist in Hagerstown, Maryland and Martinsburg, West Virginia has treated thousands of cases of rosacea. If you think you may suffer from rosacea and would like help treating your condition, we can help. Call our office at 240-347-4937 or 304-263-3933 to schedule your appointment.