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Rosacea is a common skin condition, affecting an estimated 415 million people worldwide. Even in America, though, only 18 percent of people with the condition receive treatment for it. Characterized by flushing, redness, and inflammation on the central face, rosacea is a chronic condition that cannot be cured but can be treated. Many patients with the condition go through flareups and periods of remission, with much of the condition's management focused on preventing future outbreaks.
Medical science is not yet sure what causes rosacea, but there are a variety of traits that are shared by many people with the condition. Most people with the disease have one or more of these:
Women are more likely than men to be diagnosed with rosacea, but men more often have severe outbreaks. Despite all of these risk factors, scientists can only speculate about the causes of rosacea. Possibilities may include:
Beyond physical symptoms, rosacea's impact on self-esteem and socialization can be profound:
If you think you have rosacea, a proper diagnosis from a dermatologist is necessary. Other skin conditions, allergic reactions, or diseases have similar symptoms.
Rosacea has no cure, but can be managed, with the goal of reducing or eliminating visible symptoms, easing discomfort, and preventing both worsening and future breakouts.
Triggers: A person with rosacea has very sensitive skin, and is prone to flareups from a variety of causes. These are called triggers, and finding yours is a central component of any rosacea management plan. They can include:
Such common factors can require numerous lifestyle choices to prevent flareups. Consider the following:
Sun Protection: Skin with rosacea can be very sensitive to sunlight. Even if this is not a regular trigger, dermatologists recommend you practice regular sun protection methods, including:
Prevent Overheating: Increases in body temperature are a common trigger. Make sure you're using fans, air conditioners, or even a wet cloth when you get hot. Don't sit near heat sources like heaters or fireplaces. Take breaks during exercise and drink plenty of cool water. Avoid hot baths or showers.
Safe Skin Care: Ask your dermatologist to recommend mild skin care products that will be gentle on your skin. Be careful when applying products or washing your face, as overly harsh scrubbing can cause a flareup.
Safe Food Choices: You may want to avoid not only spicy foods, but hot foods and beverages that can potentially cause flareups by raising your body heat. Let foods and drinks cool, and consider iced versions of coffee and tea.
Reduce Stress: If stress triggers your rosacea, you may have to discuss ways to reduce it with a doctor. Stress relieving activities like tai chi, yoga, or meditation may help. A rosacea support group may help reduce your stress regarding the condition.