3 Steps to Recognizing and Responding to Rosacea
An extremely common skin disease that affects the faces of more than 16 million Americans is oftentimes left untreated or misdiagnosed. But, with an early diagnosis, lifestyle changes and proper care, rosacea can be managed.
Rosacea creates red, acne-like effects usually on the faces of its sufferers, who are most likely men over the age of 30.
The number of rosacea (pronounced roh-ZAY-sha) cases are increasing as the baby boom generation enters the most vulnerable ages.
“Rosacea is genetic,” says James Morgan, MD, a dermatologist in Lake Wales and Polk County Medical Association member. “And, although that makes it unpreventable, the disease can be managed – just not cured. It is more common in men and people with blond or red hair and fair-skinned patients.”
Dr. Morgan recommends that those who find themselves suffering from rosacea take these steps, including consulting a dermatologist as soon as symptoms begin to appear, to help control the disease:
- Determine the type.
Subtype 1) Facial redness – Flushing and persistent redness. Visible blood vessels may also appear.
Subtype 2) Bumps and pimples – Persistent facial redness with bumps or pimples. (Often seen following or with subtype one.)
Subtype 3) Skin thickening and enlargement, usually around the nose. “The enlargement of the nose (subtype 3) is illustrated by W.C. Fields, Jimmy Durante, and Bill Clinton,” Dr. Morgan observes.
Subtype 4) Eye irritation. Watery or bloodshot appearance, irritation, burning or stinging.
- Lifestyle changes.
There are a variety of things that can activate a patient’s rosacea, but awareness and behavior medication can help.
“The redness can be worsened by extreme temperatures like sun exposure or hot showers. On the other hand, cold weather can also be a factor. Other things like spicy foods, caffeine, alcohol, cigarettes, stress, and some skin care products can be triggers, as well,” Dr. Morgan explains. “It’s important that patients stop doing the things that can make it worse. They need to change their lifestyles.” Using sunscreen, alternate spices and stress management techniques can help decrease some sufferers’ symptoms.
- Proper care – medically and topically.
“There are medications that can be used to help alleviate the symptoms,” Dr. Morgan says. Depending on the level of severity, laser treatment or other medical and surgical procedures may be used to remove visible blood vessels and redness or correct nose disfigurement. Sufferers should adopt a gentle skincare routine using a mild and non-abrasive cleanser, lukewarm water and soft – non-abrasive – towels.
Studies have shown that the disease affects sufferers emotionally, as well. Most patients said the condition had lowered their self-esteem and caused them to avoid social situations. Even a larger group of patients said that the disorder had adversely affected them professionally and nearly half had missed work because of their condition.
story by Anita Whitaker