Rosacea (pronounced "roh-ZAY-sha") is a chronic, relapsing and potentially life-disruptive disorder of the facial skin. Because of its red-faced, acne-like effects on personal appearance, however, it can cause significant psychological, social and occupational problems if left untreated.
While the cause of rosacea is unknown and there is no cure, today medical help is available that can control the signs and symptoms of this potentially life-disruptive disorder. Any one of the following warning signs is a signal to see a dermatologist or other knowledgeable physician for diagnosis and appropriate treatment before the signs and symptoms become increasingly severe:
- Redness on the cheeks, nose, chin or forehead.
- Small visible blood vessels on the face.
- Bumps or pimples on the face.
- Watery or irritated eyes.
While outbreaks can be triggered by alcohol, caffeine, stress, wind, cold, spicy food and sun, the underlying cause is a mystery. Even though there's no known cure for rosacea, there are ways to help control it. In fact, early diagnosis and treatment are key to preventing the initially mild symptoms of rosacea from becoming more severe.
To treat rosacea:
- Wash with a gentle cleanser. Rosacea sufferers already have sensitive skin and harsh cleansers will just increase sensitivity.
- The sun can trigger rosacea, so applying sunscreen daily is critical. Choose one with zinc oxide or titanium dioxide - chemical blocks like Parsol 1789 can irritate sensitive skin.
- After cleansing, apply a moisturizer which contains anti-inflammatories such as green tea and vitamin E.
- Avoid any acids or retinol.
- To reduce swelling, use a cold compress.
- Resist the urge to slather on a cortisone cream as it can trigger rebound flares of rosacea.