If you clicked to read this, you probably either have rosacea or know someone who does.
According to the National Rosacea Society (NRS), rosacea affects 16 million Americans and is characterized by red bumps, pus pimples, and facial redness caused by overactive blood vessels under the skin that dilate and cause flushing.
It definitely is understandable to want to gain the best understanding of whatever disorder you have in order to better live with it and treat it. Here are some things about the redness-inducing skin condition.
If either of your parents has rosacea, you most likely do too
There is definitely a genetic component to this disorder -— you either have it or you don’t. If you don’t have it in your genes, you can never get it. But if you do have it, your genetic makeup determines whether your condition will be mild or more severe.
Although no scientific research has been performed on rosacea and heredity, nearly 40 percent of rosacea patients surveyed by the National Rosacea Society said they could name a relative who had similar symptoms.
Recent research in twins showed that the aggregate contribution of genes to the presence of rosacea is almost half, with environmental effects accounting for the rest.
Ethnicity also seems to be a possible factor in one’s potential to develop rosacea. In a separate survey by the Society, 33 percent of respondents reported having at least one parent of Irish heritage. 26 percent had a parent of English descent.
Other ethnic groups with elevated rates of rosacea, compared with the U.S. population as a whole, included individuals of Scandinavian, Scottish, Welsh or eastern European descent.
Initial symptoms can be mistaken for sensitive skin or acne when you’re younger
When you’re in your teen years, rosacea’s signature flush can appear to be sensitive skin, turning your skin a subtle pink shade. Rosacea’s pus-filled bumps (aka acne rosacea) that show up on the central part of the face can also be mistaken for acne (aka vulgaris, the result of bacteria, dirt, and oil mixing together, which clogs your pores).
Early detection is especially important in this case because treating acne rosacea the same way you would acne vulgaris will definitely exacerbate your disorder, drying it out further and increasing redness without getting rid of the pimple-like bumps.
Symptoms tend to get worse with time if left untreated
Make sure you get checked as soon as you think you have rosacea. You may think it’s just sensitive skin or acne and feel silly to consult a doctor. It’s better to be safe than sorry.
Rosacea can become more severe over time. If you ignore early warning signs, like prolonged flushing, it will be harder to reverse the redness.
Some cases can become so extreme that “the nose may grow swollen and bumpy from excess tissue — a condition, called rhinophyma,” according to the NRS. Not to mention, your eyes can also be affected, looking and feeling irritated and bloodshot.
Rosacea is not curable
Although the disorder is incurable, you can help keep it under control and prevent it from getting worse. How? With topical products that have soothing and anti-inflammatory ingredients. There are also oral medications like Oracea, which has a low dose of antibiotic that’s used as an anti-inflammatory.
There will be a lot of skin products that you should stay away from
People with rosacea have an abnormal skin barrier that doesn’t maintain hydration as well as it should. You want to make sure you’re not using harsh cleansers. Products that have physical exfoliants like jojoba beads or crushed seeds, chemical scrubs with glycolic, salicylic, and lactic acids, and alcohol-based toners.
Try using products like shea butter cleansing milk or ultra-gentle cleansers.
There are a ton of things that trigger rosacea flares
Anything that makes your face flush is essentially a rosacea trigger. That means alcohol, stress, anxiety, spicy foods, hot beverages, sun, cold, strong winds, and humidity. Unfortunately, that’s just a short version of the list.
Even certain foods like sour cream, cheese, chocolate, avocados, and soy sauce can be a factor. Here’s a fuller list.
Let us know how you help keep your rosacea in check!