Rosacea is a long-term chronic disease that affects the facial skin. According to the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Disease, over 14 million people in the United States have rosacea. Rosacea causes redness, acne and red lines on the skin. It also can affect the eyes, making them dry, itchy and red. People who have fair complexions and are between the ages of 30 and 60 years old are in the high risk group for rosacea. Unfortunately, there is no cure, but treatment and control can bring relief.
The cause for rosacea is not known. Part of the underlying reason for rosacea is that the blood vessels may expand too easily in rosacea sufferers. This leads to excessive flushing of the face. Each person seems to be affected differently. Some of the common triggers in rosacea flare ups are heat, heavy exercise, exposure to sunlight, wind, cold, spicy foods, alcohol, heat flashes during menopause, emotional stress and long-term use of steroids on the face. Not everyone has the same triggers, so each treatment program must be customized to the individual.
Medical treatment offers some relief for rosacea. For skin rosacea, antibiotics are prescribed in topical form or in oral form. Sometimes electro-surgery or laser surgery can help with the small red lines beneath the skin. With rosacea that affects the eyes, frequent eye cleaning will help along with oral antibiotics and steroid eye drops. A dermatologist will recommend a skin care routine. This involves cleaning the face with a mild non-abrasive cleanser, rinsing with lukewarm water and blotting the face dry. Never rub the face, as this will aggravate rosacea. Use mild moisturizers and products labeled for use on sensitive skin. Avoid skin products that sting, burn or cause redness.
Keep a daily diary that logs rosacea fare ups and their suspected causes. This will help determine individual triggers. Other self care suggestions for relief include avoiding these triggers. Exposure to sunlight is a very common trigger so a rosacea sufferer should use an SPF sunscreen of 15 or more everyday and protect the face from the sun. Also stay in a cool environment on hot days and reduce the heat level in hot beverages. During cold days, cover the face. Limit alcohol intake, since it causes skin flushing when consumed in large quantities. The best advice when looking for relief from rosacea is to avoid all known triggers.