If your face appears flushed every time you step into sunlight, maybe you are not just sun-sensitive. It can be rosacea, a skin disease which leads to red patches and occasional pimples or bumps resembling acne, on particular facial areas. Luckily, it is not contagious and doesn’t spread on using the patient’s towel or skin-care products.
The fair-skinned population, namely, those from Caucasian, English and Scottish backgrounds are more prone to this disease. As estimated in 2010, over 45 million people are detected with rosacea out of which 16 million belong to the United States. Even former U.S President Bill Clinton was not spared! Fortunately, dark skin is less susceptible to rosacea with only 4% of the patients belonging to Asian or African descent as assessed in a publication “Rosacea: A Review” by the researchers Brittney Culp and Noah Scheinfeld.
However, a different form of rosacea, known as granulomatous rosacea, is prevalent in Afro-Caribbeans and it is characterized by skin-colored bumps or papules around their eyes, nose, and lips. Another study has estimated the occurrence of Rosacea among 186,299 Puerto Rican natives in the Caribbean Islands.
Types of Rosacea
Depending on the rosacea symptoms, rosacea is classified into four types. So let’s check them out:
- Erythematotelangiectatic rosacea: Fortunately, the symptoms are not as complex as the disease sounds. It is characterized by persistent facial redness, prominent blood vessels and intermittent swelling or burning.
- Papulopustular rosacea: In this type, the red patches are often accompanied by sudden break-outs of papules or pus-filled pimples. While most people mistakenly identify the symptoms as acne, they torment your skin with a stinging sensation unlike the latter.
- Phymatous rosacea: It leads to a thicker and coarser skin with an irregular texture owing to the lesions.
- Ocular rosacea: Rosacea doesn’t spare the eyes too. So if your eyes are bloodshot or feeling watery, you might have rosacea.
If left untreated, the rosacea symptoms deteriorate and can lead to a thick skin or blindness. Few rosacea patients face rutted nodules on the nose, a condition known as rhinophyma.
What causes Rosacea?
The actual causes of rosacea still remain a mystery. However, it’s proven to be genetic and affects people who have a history of rosacea occurrence in their families. Women within 30-50 years of age, especially those going through menopause, also fall prey to rosacea. There are certain factors which trigger the symptoms of rosacea to aggravate or flare-up. They are:
- Prolonged exposure to sun and wind
- Sudden temperature change from hot to cold or vice-versa
- Hot baths
- Emotional turmoil or stress
- Spicy food
- Intestinal flora
Earlier, people had a wrong notion that consuming excess alcohols might lead to rosacea though latest studies have proven them wrong. Nevertheless, drinking alcohols might lead the symptoms to flare-up. Foods like dairy products, soy sauce, citrus fruits, beans, chocolate, avocados, spinach, and yeast extract can also bring bad news to rosacea patients. So keep them away from your rosacea diet plan.
Your skincare products might also contain potential triggers like menthol, clove oil, salicylic acid and witch hazel. So always make a point to take a look at the chemical composition of such products before you go for them.
How can you treat rosacea?
Rosacea treatment is essential to protect your skin from permanent damage. Unfortunately, a cure to rosacea is yet to be discovered but the doctor will prescribe medicines to tame the symptoms. Facial redness and pimple breakouts can be treated with antibiotic pills like doxycycline or by topical application of ointments containing metronizadole. Irritated, rosacea-affected eyes are often taken care of by eye-drops like cyclosporine while prominent red blood vessels might call for laser treatments. But don’t forget to keep a sunscreen rated SPF 15 handy to save your dry, sensitive skin from the blazing sun and hence prevent flare-ups.
How can you cope?
While medicines will do their best to deal with rosacea symptoms, certain precautions and rosacea natural remedies can help you cope with the disease and prevent it from getting worse.
Find the flare-up triggers: Make a note of all the activities and food which lead the rosacea symptoms to go downhill. Stay away from them and notify your doctor of the same.
Cleanse your skin naturally: dilute 1 part table vinegar in 6 parts water and use this solution to clean your face. Green tea is also found to be an equally effective natural disinfectant for your skin. But don’t overwash your face to prevent any irritation.
Moisture your face: Nourishing your skin with gentle moisturizer or sweet almond oil after any topical medication prevents the skin from drying up.
Follow a healthy rosacea diet plan: Including nuts, whole grains, salmon, halibut, chicken, blueberries, cherries and flax seed oil in your balanced diet will help you control the unwelcomed flare-ups.
Rosacea often causes its patients to lack confidence when it comes to making public appearances. Are you are a victim of rosacea, have you made up your mind to fight against the disease or still remain a social outcast?
By: Liya Das