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Rosacea is a skin disease that causes redness on your nose, cheeks, chin, and forehead. Some people may have little bumps and pimples. The redness may come and go, but it is different from having a ruddy complexion or having a sunburn. Rosacea can also cause burning and soreness in the eyes.
Rosacea, is a chronic, inflammatory skin condition with signs and symptoms that include:
Persistent facial redness,
Small visible blood vessels,
Bumps and pus-filled pimples on the face (inflammatory papules and pustules)
Tendency to blush or flush easily
Facial discomfort—burning or stinging sensation, tightness, dryness or itch
Burning, itching, or watery eyes and/or swollen eyelids
Thickening skin on the nose, cheeks and/or forehead
While the exact cause of rosacea is unknown, researchers generally agree the process involves dilation of small blood vessels in the face.
Living with rosacea goes beyond the physical symptoms. Emotional discomfort is common, too. In a survey conducted by the National Rosacea Society of more than 1,200 rosacea patients:
Rosacea is basically different than acne, although the two can coexist. It is also sometimes called “adult acne.” Unlike common acne, rosacea is not primarily a plague of teenagers but occurs most often in adults (ages 30-50), especially in those with fair skin. Different than acne, there are usually no blackheads or whiteheads in rosacea. Furthermore, most teens will eventually outgrow acne where people with rosacea will not generally outgrow it.
Rosacea consists mostly of small red bumps that are not “squeezable” or extractable like blackheads. Squeezing a rosacea pimple usually causes a scant amount of clear liquid to expel. Unlike traditional acne where professional extractions can help remove whiteheads and blackheads, squeezing or extracting rosacea bumps does not help improve the rosacea.
People with rosacea tend to have a rosy or pink color to their skin as opposed to acne patients whose skin is usually less red.
Rosacea risk factors include fair skin, English, Irish or Scottish heredity, easy blushing, and having other family members with rosacea (called “positive family history”). Additional risk factors include female gender,menopause, and being 30-50 years of age.
A number of factors can trigger or aggravate rosacea by increasing blood flow to the surface of your skin. Some of these factors include:
- Hot foods or beverages
- Spicy foods
- Temperature extremes
- Stress, anger or embarrassment
- Strenuous exercise
- Hot baths or saunas
- Corticosteroids, such as prednisone
- Drugs that dilate blood vessels, including some blood pressure medications