Understanding rosacea

Talk about a rosy complexion and most people consider it as a sign of good health. Well, you might notice a red glow around the apples of your cheek after a good workout, when you’re excited or even when you’re embarrassed. But when that flushed appearance is more than just an innocent blush, it could point to something troubling. If you find the redness lasting longer than it should and causing your skin a whole lot of irritation, it may be rosacea.

Rosacea starts out as a mild redness on the cheeks and may spread to the nose or the forehead. The condition is also characterised by small, pus-filled bumps which appear over these red patches. Rosacea tends to leave its tracks on women with fair skin, especially those between 30 to 60 years of age. Its causes and cure still remain unknown but there are treatments and remedies to control the flare ups. Although rosacea is not dangerous, it does hurt your skin and your confidence.

The trickiest bit is to identify rosacea – and do so in good time. Dr. Dallah from the kaya skin clinic team says, “Rosacea can be easily mistaken for acne, sunburn or a severe allergic reaction, which might cause the condition to be left untreated for long, allowing it to worsen.” And that’s where half the damage is done. Over time, the inflammation can make your skin appear swollen and also spread to the eyes. Now we weren’t sending you into panic mode. All we’re trying to say is that if you act on that red patch now, you can stop rosacea from irritating your skin further.

Know the red signals

Let’s wrap our heads around this… rosacea has no absolute cure. (Not another reason to panic) However there are treatments that can control the redness and reduce the bumps. But these work best when rosacea is detected early. Here are a few signs and symptoms to watch out for. They might be subtle; they might be not-so-subtle. It all depends on your skin.

Flushing

Do you blush too often? Do you blush longer than you should? Do you blush when you’ve consumed something too spicy or too hot? “The blood vessels under your skin respond to a stimulus by dilating and staying that way for a longer period of time as compared to someone without rosacea,” says Dr. Dallah. At the beginning, this redness may simply come and go. But it lasts longer with each passing episode. That’s the first indicator of rosacea.

Sensitive skin

It could be that you’ve had sensitive skin all along (which might make it a tad difficult to identify rosacea). But it also could be that you’ve suddenly developed sensitive skin. You might find that your skin reacts unpleasantly to certain products. Dr. Dallah says, “Tightness or a stinging sensation, making your skin feel painful, are also signs of rosacea.”

Red bumps

You might write off those red, pus-filled bumps as acne. But be warned! These red bumps are not caused by bacterial infection or by clogged pores. They are a result of waste lymph fluid. So if you find pustules appearing over red patches of skin without the presence of blackheads, it could be rosacea.

Swelling

Rosacea may cause the reddened areas to swell. “The soft tissue around your nose especially may thicken, causing it to appear enlarged and bulbous,” says Dr. Dallah. Something you simply cannot imagine yourself with!

 Eye problems

Left unattended over a long period of time, rosacea can give rise to ocular troubles. It begins with extreme dryness and itching in the eyes. The irritation can cause it to swell and make your eyelids appear red. What could be the worst case scenario here? Vision loss due to complications from ocular rosacea.

Keep calm and fight rosacea

Although the root causes of rosacea may not be within your control, you can choose to be mindful of certain known triggers such as hot and spicy foods and beverages, or alcohol. “Too much exposure to the sun can also cause your skin to go red,” says Dr. Dallah. While hot baths and saunas may be delightful, overindulging may not be the right choice for your skin. As with every skin condition, stress never fails to make it to the list of top causes. So you might want to avoid these risk factors, especially if your skin’s already aggravated or you’ve suffered an episode of redness in the past.

We know it all sounds grim and worrisome… but there’s a bright side. Catch rosacea early, and it’s not going to get this far. Keep an eye out for the signs and symptoms… at all times. Never let your guard down. If you sense trouble, an appointment with your dermatologist should become a priority. With the proper treatment and care, your beauty and confidence will never have to hide behind those red patches again.

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