April is Rosacea Awareness Month, and while many people have heard of this chronic inflammatory skin condition, there is still a lot of confusion surrounding its diagnosis and treatment. As a dermatologist, I often see patients who have been told they have rosacea by someone who is not a medical professional, which can lead to a lot of misinformation and ineffective treatment. In this blog post, I will explain what rosacea is, its symptoms, and how to effectively treat and prevent it.
Rosacea is a chronic inflammatory skin condition that affects millions of people worldwide. The word “rosacea” comes from the Latin “rosa” meaning made of roses and “aceus” which means resembling or belonging to. Those suffering from this disorder have a pervasive redness to the face, which most commonly affects the central areas of the face. Rosacea is more common in those between the ages of 30-60 but can occur at any age. It affects men and women equally, and it occurs more often in ethnic groups that tend to flush readily, such as those with fair skin (often of Celtic or North European descent). While patients of color can have rosacea, it is less common and often underrecognized. Rosacea can have a relapsing and remitting course which is often precipitated by lifestyle, skincare choices, and the environment.
To have a true clinical diagnosis of rosacea, there are specific diagnostic criteria. Essentially, having persistent (all the time) central facial redness that gets worse with triggers or having two of the following:
The treatment of rosacea is highly dependent on its symptoms, and there is no one-size-fits-all solution. Most patients who come to see me with a presumptive diagnosis of rosacea are using drugstore anti-redness creams and a topical metronidazole prescription, both of which do little if anything to help facial redness.
We flush because our body thinks we are hot and in easy flushers because our nervous system gets it wrong. Flushing is a technique that lowers the body’s temperature.
Give it a try and see if it works for you!
Prevention is as key as treatment. Lifestyle, skincare, and environmental factors can trigger and worsen rosacea symptoms, so it is important to take steps to prevent flares.
A patient of mine who had significant rosacea and would often visit me during big flares, complaining that the medication I had prescribed was not working. My response was the same every time, “If you insist on eating cayenne peppers no amount of medicine will work, I am not a magician.” It became apparent that his diet was a major trigger for his symptoms. Despite my best efforts to explain this to him, he continued to eat spicy foods like cayenne peppers, which only exacerbated his condition. I often reminded him that no medication would be effective if he continued to consume trigger foods.
When comes to taking care of your skin, there are some important steps to keep in mind, especially if you suffer from rosacea or sensitive skin. They are:
Follow the products on my Product Elimination Diet or look for the PED approved logo on my webstore. These products have been vetted by me and are fragrance and botanical-free, making them ideal for patients with sensitive skin, rosacea, and eczema/dermatitis.
By following these simple skincare tips, you can help manage your rosacea symptoms and keep your skin looking and feeling its best.
Rosacea is a complex and nuanced skin condition that requires individualized treatment and prevention strategies. By understanding its symptoms and triggers, patients can take control of their symptoms and improve their quality of life. If you suspect you have rosacea, it is important to see a dermatologist for a proper diagnosis and treatment plan. With the right treatment and lifestyle modifications, those suffering from rosacea can live full and healthy lives, free from the burdens of this chronic skin condition.