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What is rosacea? A dermatologist’s guide to symptoms and treatments


Rosy cheeks are cute. Dealing with rosacea, however, is not. If you’re suffering from the common skin condition, you’re not alone. More people than ever are sharing their experiences on social media in a sign of solidarity with fellow rosacea sufferers as well as to raise awareness of what the skin condition actually entails.

Dry, sore skin, unexplained flareups and an ongoing battle with skincare are just a few of the things those battling rosacea face on a daily basis. And that’s just on the surface. Let’s just say, when you feel like any slight embarrassment is met with the fiery-red flush of a thousand suns, you start to avoid certain situations and the common skin condition can even lead to feelings of anxiety.

We’re told there’s no cure – rosacea begins at birth and follows you through life, but is that really true? Does it only affect those with fair skin? And can giving up caffeine, dairy and alcohol really help?

To answer all our burning questions, we speak to Dr Daron Seukeran, Group Medical Director for the UK’s leading skincare clinic group, sk:n. Rosacea, meet your match.

Q: What is rosacea?
A: Rosacea is a chronic, inflammatory skin condition which usually occurs on the face and can affect all skin types. It may also manifest itself as persistent redness, blood vessels and spots which can look similar to acne, although the two should not be confused.

Q: What are the signs to look out for?
A: There are four main symptoms to help identify if you are suffering with rosacea: persistent flushing of the face – most commonly appear around the nose and cheeks; thread veins and visible blood vessels which need laser treatment to remove; red spots which can contain puss (easy to be misdiagnosed by anyone other than a dermatologist); thickening of the skin, which can also appear as bumps.

Q: Why can rosacea be misinterpreted as eczema or dermatitis?
A: In some cases, rosacea can be mistaken for eczema or dermatitis as a patient will only appear to suffer with inflammation and redness of the skin and may not have spots which
can cause it to look similar.

Q: Are some regions or ethnicities more prone?
A: Rosacea is more apparent in Caucasian and European individuals who have fair skin.

Q: What exacerbates rosacea?
A: It is not completely known what causes rosacea, although there are certain triggers that contribute to make it appear worse such as alcohol, tea or coffee and spicy foods. In some cases, the individual can be sensitive to the sun and find that going from a hot to a cold temperature, or vice versa, can trigger it to flare up. Then again, some find exposure to sun actually helps reduce the inflammation.

Q: Is there a permanent cure?
A: There is no known cure for rosacea although there are a number of effective treatments that can help to alleviate the symptoms. This includes antibiotics and topical medications which can be prescribed by a doctor and often lead to remission after about four to six months of treatment. For redness and flushing, laser treatment can be an effective solution.

Q: Does rosacea always mean dry skin?
A: Dry skin is more of a symptom for eczema or dermatitis and it not usually associated with rosacea but can be a factor in some very individual cases.

Q: What skincare advice should we follow?
A: Avoid anything you know could aggravate the skin further. It is always a good idea to try and use natural, gentle, non-fragranced skin products when suffering with a skin condition. Although, as rosacea is a medical condition, there are specially prescribed creams that can help to control it.

Q: Should makeup be avoided?
A: Green concealers are great for counteracting redness and can help to tone down the appearance of inflammation. That said, it is always advisable to try and wear as little makeup as possible to avoid irritating spots and drying out the skin.

Q: What happens if we ignore rosacea?
A: If you can identify any triggers that causes your rosacea to flare up, whether that be certain foods or drink, it is important to try and avoid these, however, the most important thing is to seek medical attention if it persists. If left untreated rosacea can cause other complications such as irritation around the eyes and enlargement of the nose, known as rhinophyma – this is rare and mostly experienced with men, but is a very unpleasant symptom.

Dermatologist appointment lined up? Great! But as fellow skincare enthusiasts, we know one tub of medical balm isn’t going to satisfy your hydrating, cleansing and exfoliating needs. Products for super sensitive, rosacea-prone skin, however, just might…


From Glamour UK

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