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Rosacea Symptoms, Causes and Treatment Options

About one in every 10 people will experience rosacea symptoms. Often confused with acne in its initial stages, the symptoms of this irritating and sometimes painful skin condition include:

  • Redness
  • Itchiness
  • Dryness
  • Increased skin sensitivity
  • Sensations of stinging and burning

Symptoms commonly appear in the areas around the eyes and nose and can be accompanied by styes (a swollen lump on an eyelid) and swelling of sebaceous glands. The condition also carries a psychological impact, because its appearance in facial areas affects how people feel about themselves. Almost 90 percent of patients surveyed said the condition had an effect on professional interactions. Highly visible bumps in the skin, pimples and a swollen nose can become evident when the condition is left untreated. The eyes can also be affected and become bloodshot, watery and irritated.

Causes and Triggers

People with sun-sensitive and fair complexions tend to be at greater risk for the condition. Studies have also demonstrated that there is a greater risk for rosacea associated with people who have seasonal or food allergies, hypertension, hormonal imbalances or gastrointestinal disorders. Depression and anxiety are additional factors that have been shown to have a connection to individuals developing the condition.

Researchers are still collecting evidence regarding what specific triggers cause the condition to develop. Studies are looking into the effects of exposure to ultraviolet light, temperature extremes, disruption of the skin barrier, stress, and nutrition. Although more frequently diagnosed in women, the condition can develop more severe symptoms in men.

The basic mechanism behind the onset of symptoms is the body’s immune system reacting to a perceived or legitimate threat. The skin inflammation that characterizes the condition is an attempt by the body to defend itself. Some researchers have considered a certain microscopic mite, Demodex folliculorum, to be a contributor to the onset of symptoms. This microorganism, which is a normal inhabitant in human skin, has been detected in a much larger number of rosacea patients than in healthy individuals; the difference is up to 18 times greater.

Rosacea Treatments — Then and Now

Medical science has come a long way in the manner in which the condition has been treated. The skin condition was first noted in the 14th century, and the original treatments included bloodletting in the forehead, nose and arms along with other (thankfully) no-longer-approved approaches. It was also mistakenly assumed that the condition was a result of an excessive consumption of alcoholic beverages. It can, however, be quite severe even for individuals who never drink. It was not until the 1890s that a New York dermatologist recommended that the condition be distinguished from acne. This was fortunate, not only because the two conditions can show similar signs at their onset, but also because some therapies used to treat acne can also worsen rosacea’s symptoms and effects.

Modern skin treatments require patients to work with a dermatologist to be sure that the prescribed medication is compatible with their specific condition and symptoms. The manner in which rosacea reveals itself can vary from one person to another, and treatment should be tailored to the individual. When treated properly, more than 70 percent of patients reported that their social and emotional well-being was improved in addition to their physical symptoms clearing up. The key to obtaining the most effective treatment is to see a dermatologist before the symptoms become severe.

Don’t Wait for Things To Get Worse

Because the symptoms of rosacea can progressively become worse if left untreated, you should always seek professional treatment as soon as you suspect you have the condition. Call us at 609-443-4500 or contact us online to schedule an appointment. The team of skin specialists at Windsor Dermatology has built a reputation based on a commitment to integrity, honesty, and a strong focus on each patient’s individual needs. You can count on a board-certified dermatologist providing an accurate diagnosis and the best possible course of treatment.

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