Rosacea is a non-infectious chronic skin condition that causes redness of the skin. It happens especially on the face, although it may come and go from time to time. Besides the presence of facial redness, there are a lot more things people should know about rosacea. In fact, many people ask about rosacea and some people who have it don’t even know it.
Here is a list of the most common and important frequently asked questions about this skin disease. The answers are sure to shed some light on the many mysteries surrounding the skin condition we call rosacea. You may have it and not be aware that’s what it is, or perhaps one of your friends may be experiencing this troublesome condition. If this is the case, the following questions we’ve listed should provide all of the most critical information you need to understand about rosacea:
1. What Causes Rosacea?
The exact reason as to why one would acquire rosacea isn’t confirmed in the medical community. Even though this is the case, doctors have found symptoms that can help you detect whether you or someone whom you may know has rosacea.
The appearance of rosacea is due to a certain dilation of the facial muscles. This, in turn, results in increased blood flow near the skin’s surface, thus making he skin appear reddish in color.
There have been many speculations and studies about the origins of rosacea, but nothing has been proved yet to this date.
It is also said that lifestyle can trigger the symptoms. Your immediate or frequent environment mostly immersed in can also bring about rosacea. There are times where rosacea may look similar to acne. The only reason this happens is because of the accumulated bacteria on the damaged surface of your face.
There have been recent studies that point to our immune system is one of the major factors in play. Rosacea could be the result of an immune response that is triggered by an antimicrobial protein.
Other studies point to genetics as one of the main causes, although more studies are necessary in order to establish that theory as a valid one. We will talk about this more in the next point.
2. Are Rosacea and Acne Similar?
Not at all. Acne and rosacea typically do not even occur at the same time. Acne is more prevalent in your teen years. Sometimes you bring some of it with you during your twenties. We all know that acne is because of bacteria, and it is a combination of pimples, blackheads, and whiteheads.
Rosacea, on the other hand, tends to happen later in life. On average, it appears when you are in your thirties. The only similarity it has with acne is the pimple-like appearance it may have.
Acne rarely occurs with rosacea, although there is still a possibility for this to happen. Health experts sometimes fail to spot the difference between the two. They both need different types of treatment and attention.
3. What Triggers Rosacea?
Although typically, environmental factors trigger rosacea symptoms. This is often unavoidable; however, there are also some other factors that can induce your facial flare-ups. Here is a list of the most common rosacea triggers:
- Allergic Reactions
- High or Intense Emotions
- Heavy Exercise
- High Levels of Stress
- Extreme Temperatures, Either Hot or Cold
- Indoor Heat
- Spicy Foods
- Fatty Foods
- Hot Beverages
- Skin Care Products With Allergens
- Sun Exposure
- Dairy Products
- Some Marinated Meats
- Certain Vegetables
4. Does It Progress?
The short answer is yes. Acquiring rosacea is progressive, as well, much like cancer. Here is the longer and much more detailed answer: rosacea has four stages, namely: rosacea, mild, moderate, and severe.
You did not misread the first stage. It is really named after the skin disease itself. In this type, the blood vessels in the face start dilating wider than usual. They also have the tendency to stay open for longer periods of time compare to people who do not have rosacea. The good news is there is no visible damage on the face.
When it is in the mild stage, the facial redness stays for a minimum of 30 minutes or longer after it is triggered. Some of the factors that can trigger rosacea are mentioned above.
The moderate stage gets triggered the same way as the mild, but the flushing of the face becomes even redder and more frequent than before. Vascular damage may start to occur.
5. Is Rosacea Hereditary?
This is another insightful question. There is no clear or proven scientific research that can solidify the claim on whether genetics affects rosacea sufferers or their offspring. There have been, however, surveys conducted that can point a sufferer’s family member to have had rosacea before.
In a case study conducted by the National Rosacea society, almost half or 40 percent of the interviewed rosacea sufferers pointed to a family member or relative having similar skin disease symptoms.
There have even been researches done on twins, as well. This time, at least half or 50 percent of the surveyed patients attested to the fact that could be their genes. Their twin had rosacea, and they discovered that they developed it, as well. The remaining 50 percent reported they accounted their rosacea on environmental factors.
It is also worthy to note that if one person is more susceptible to skin disorders like rosacea, it is not unlikely that their family members with similar blood types could also be susceptible to the same illnesses.
6. What is the Cure for Rosacea?
Unfortunately, much like the causes, medical professionals have not found a permanent cure for rosacea. The best you can do is to quell it temporarily through the use of topical creams and medicine, but it is never fully eradicated from your skin.
Of course, in no way does this mean that rosacea sufferers should lose hope with their current condition. Doctors can use laser or LED light therapy on the affected areas to regulate the size of your blood vessels. This will not last forever, but it will give you and the affected area enough time to heal and be more comfortable, too.
It is best that you avoid the triggers of your flare-ups after laser or LED light therapy so as to prolong its healing effects. The good news is, you should be able to manage your rosacea, as long as you pay attention to the do’s and don’ts.
Some FDA-approved medications for rosacea that you can try are the following:
- Soolantra: This is a topical cream that includes one percent ivermectin in its formulation. It helps reduce red bumps caused by rosacea.
- Mirvaso: This one is a topical gel that helps temporarily reduce the redness on your face. This is great for emergency situations like having to meet with other people or going out.
- Oracea: This is an over the counter pill containing doxycycline. Like Soolantra, it helps reduce the red bumps of rosacea.
7. Is Rosacea Contagious?
Fortunately, if you are suffering rosacea, there is no reason for people to stay away from you, as it is not infectious that anyone else can pick up from you. It’s a skin condition that happens internally, unlike chicken pox, which happens outside of the skin.
Sharing the same towel, touching the effect areas, or kissing on the cheeks will not make anyone susceptible to rosacea in any way. Doctors usually prescribe antibiotics to sufferers for the inflammation and not for the bacterial infection.
If you are a friend or family member of someone who has rosacea, there is no need to be afraid. We promise that you are in the clear. If you have rosacea, you don’t need to worry about passing it on to someone else, either.
8. How is Rosacea Diagnosed?
Rosacea is not typically a skin disorder where doctors can run tests in order to find out whether you have it or not. Usually, you may be able to diagnose it yourself, or at least, help the dermatologist arrive with the conclusion. All you have to do is pay attention to the symptoms.
If you feel signs of facial swelling, itching, redness or frequent flushing, pimples and red bumps, then you can arrive at the conclusion that you indeed have rosacea. However, it is important to see your doctor to get a diagnosis and solid treatment plan. Your doctor can give you the best advice depending on your type of rosacea, as well as considering allergies and other medications you may be taking.
9. Will My Face Flush Daily?
Rosacea is a lifetime skin disorder, but will rarely affect you daily. It is classified as a short-term skin condition. There may be certain periods of your life measured in days, weeks, or months where rosacea is always present. It can also go away for the same amount of time or for even longer.
You must be highly aware of the factors that subject you to developing rosacea. For instance, it could peak out during winter, in which case you have to keep yourself warm. It is similar to allergy season. Sometimes it is your surroundings that trigger skin-related irritations and not much else.
As mentioned earlier regarding treatments, laser or LED light therapy can definitely curb the swelling or redness for a relatively longer periods of time compared to topical creams or pills.
Knowing your triggers can help a lot in looking out for yourself when your rosacea season is at peak. Keep a journal for at least four weeks to make note of any flare ups, making notes on what you ate or drank, the temperatures, where you were, and what you were doing. Soon you will be able to see a definitive pattern that will help you pinpoint your personal rosacea triggers.
10. Do Symptoms Vary for the Rosacea Sufferers?
Indeed. Symptoms vary for different rosacea sufferers. As previously mentioned, rosacea may be brought about by a lot of factors and triggers, the most common being genetics and environment. You cannot always predict how your rosacea will be triggered.
There have been anecdotes reported by rosacea sufferers that most of them experience that it begins with a small patch on one or another cheek and then it starts to spread to other areas of the face.
Some patients do say that the red patch experience happens on both cheeks. The exact way rosacea begins is different for most people as well.
Rosacea is very circumstantial, and the way it manifests on a sufferer’s skin can also differ. It is likely that our skin type and several environmental factors also come to play with this.
11. What Rosacea Products are Safe To Put on My Face?
Having rosacea can make your skin more sensitive. For some people, it could be really pronounced and visible on their forehead, nose, and cheek areas. This can understandably cause embarrassment and low self-esteem or confidence.
When you have rosacea, it is best to do an overhaul with your facial products. You have to be wary of ingredients that are not safe for your face. Little do you know that your old favorite facial cleanser could contain an irritant that could flare you up in a few minutes.
Besides gentle facial cleansers, toners, and moisturizers, it is important to own a topical cream that would best suit your skin and stage. You can apply it frequently or only as often as you wish.
There is also a matter of choosing to cover up your rosacea with makeup. Generally speaking, doing this should not be too harmful to your skin, but at the same time, makeup is not meant to cover up rosacea up too much.
In the event that you need to cover it up, it’s best to look for makeup that is suitable for sensitive skin. In addition, be sure to wash it off completely before heading to bed. It can be an irritant if left on your skin overnight. You also have to know a little bit of the complementary colors.
Since we are fighting off the redness, your new best friend will be green. Makeup with a green base or tint can help fight off and subdue the redness cast on your face. Avoid makeup that contains salicylic acid or paraben since they both trigger rosacea, and you do not want that to happen to you.
12. What Should Be the Facial Care Routine of a Rosacea Sufferer?
People with normal skin are recommended to wash their faces twice daily: once in the morning when they wake up, and again at night before going to sleep. The same is definitely true for rosacea sufferers, but with a few tweaks.
First off, when cleaning your face, it is important to never use harsh soap, exfoliates, abrasive cleansers, or those with beads. These can easily irritate your skin and will do more harm than good.
You can have the option of using a soft pad for spreading your specialized cleaner on your face instead of just using your fingertips. Although, be careful not to use sponges. They can absorb a lot of bacteria and are difficult to clean. Stay away from brushes and rough washcloths, as well.
It is best to rinse your face with lukewarm water, but never use extremely cold or hot water. When drying your face, you should only blot it with facial tissues or cotton towels. Don’t scratch or rub the towel as this can also irritate your skin.
Before applying any kind of topical cream or serum on your face, allow it to dry completely. And wait once again after applying your medication, usually around 10 minutes, before applying anything else, like makeup products.
A lot of the vital information related to rosacea has been thoroughly tackled in this comprehensive FAQ list, but it is always better to seek out medical attention once you have established that you think you may have the skin disease.
Seeking help from a medical professional will give you all the necessary information you will need, as well as the right topical creams, facial products, and day to day care on how to cope with rosacea.
It could also be beneficial to seek out support groups or connect with other people who also have the disease, since these helpful groups give each other tips and ways to cope with this skin disorder that only sufferers can come to know.
The important thing to remember is that rosacea sufferers do not need to worry too much about flare ups, or feel that they are alone. The skin condition can be managed and it is definitely neither life threatening nor contagious. The best thing to do is to seek medical attention, know your triggers, and look for the facial products that work best for you.