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Steps on How to Identify Rosacea Symptoms Before It’s Too Late

Steps on How to Identify Rosacea Symptoms Before It’s Too Late


Rosacea is a skin disease that is more wide-spread than you might think. Even famous people, like Bill Clinton are known to have it, and Princess Diana of Wales also had it. If you are worried, do not be, because it is easy to identify and treat rosacea. This article will help you identify the symptoms of rosacea before you can take the next step, like seeking rosacea treatment.

Rosacea is not a simple skin break-out or a sign of sunburn though the skin, but the redness and flushing can make it seem like so. Also, it cannot be said that the person suffering from rosacea has poor personal hygiene. In fact, rosacea symptoms are triggered by your lifestyle choices, environment, diet and exposure to the sun.

What really causes rosacea is a mystery. There are many theories that aim to explain this. Some suggest that rosacea is actually a blood vessel disorder. While according to others, rosacea is the result of a complication originating in the tissues under your skin, but the real rosacea causes are not known.

One thing to note is that, if these unsightly marks are left undiagnosed and untreated, they can get serious. If you suspect you have rosacea, compare your symptoms with those in this article to confirm your suspicions. Then talk to a dermatologist as soon as you can.

You may have to start with your primary physician, who can then refer you to a skin specialist. It depends on your health insurance, so be sure to start there first.

Step One: Understanding the Causes of Your Primary Rosacea Symptoms

glass of wineRosacea patients blush and flush more than normal people do. If a glass of wine leaves you flushed till the morning, or an hour in the sun leaves you pink for days, you may have rosacea. Research studies have found that rosacea is common in Caucasians.

You may have rosacea if exposure to the following things makes your skin blush:

  • Stress
  • Sun
  • Caffeine
  • Spicy foods
  • Alcohol
  • Extreme temperatures
  • Long term use of steroids on your face
  • Menopause
  • Heavy exercise
  • Family history with one blood relation having this condition

Though rosacea symptoms may vary from person to person, persistent redness of the skin is often the primary sign. Most of the rosacea pictures on the internet show red patches on the face, particularly on the nose, cheeks and forehead.

Here is what distinguishes the flushing of skin due to rosacea from the normal flushing of skin:

  • The flushing and skin redness appear more frequently and stays longer.
  • The redness tends to be more intense.
  • The persistent redness is accompanied by stinging, burning or itching sensations.
  • The skin feels warmer or hot to touch.

The frequent flushing of the skin may be accompanied by the appearance of spider web-like blood vessels on the skin. This is called telangiectasia.

Telangiectasia: What’s with Those Spider Veins?

You may notice telangiectasia or spider veins on your skin as rosacea progresses. Tiny red lines begin to appear on the skin as the small blood vessels of the face begin to enlarge and emerge on the surface of the skin. It is not wise to destroy these blood vessels with a laser as many doctors might suggest. Your skin needs to have a supply of blood to sustain itself.

To ease the rosacea flushing and redness of the skin, the best way is to observe what is causing it and then to try and avoid it as much as possible. Take help from the list of rosacea causes mentioned above. The type of rosacea that is characterized by flushing, persistent redness and spider veins is called erythematotelangiectatic rosacea or subtype 1 rosacea. Both prescription as well as non-prescription treatments are available for Rosacea. Talk to your doctor to evaluate your options.

Step Two: Avoid the Symptoms Rosacea Causes by Being Proactive

Rosacea warrants immediate attention as it can progressively worsen. If you leave it untreated, your skin will slowly start to develop the following serious and uncomfortable rosacea symptoms:

  • Pustules: Inflamed, small, red blisters containing pus are called pustules. Pustules are due to the blood constantly flushing around the sebaceous glands in your skin. With time, the tissues from the blood vessels get deposited in the skin, causing inflammation. The inflamed tissues then slowly travel to the sebaceous glands or skin pores, clogging them and causing pustules.

A pustule may look like a yellowish, pus-filled pimple but it is actually not a pimple. Unlike pustules, pimples occur around a hair follicle. Pustules can become permanent if you delay treatment.

  • Papules: Papules are small elevated skin lesions that are red in appearance and hard to touch. They can be round, flat or pointy. They can range in size from that of a small measles lesion to as big as the tip of your little finger. Papules and pustules form in the same way; however, papules do not contain pus, like pustules do.
  • Swelling: As flushing continues, the walls of your blood vessels become abnormal due to the stress. Water and proteins then begin to leak from the blood vessels and accumulate under the skin. This causes the skin to swell. Your face may begin to seem swollen and red, which is a sure sign of rosacea.
  • Pimples or Acne: Rosacea and adult acne are two different diseases, but some people may suffer from them both at the same time. Acne rosacea symptoms are also different from acne vulgaris, because acne vulgaris affects teenagers whereas rosacea is an adult disease. When damaged tissues from the blood vessels, as well as bacteria, clog the sebaceous glands near the hair follicles, inflammatory skin eruptions occur which are called pimples or acne.

If you suffer from acne and rosacea at the same time, you must take special care as some treatments for acne can have adverse effects on Rosacea.

Where Rosacea Strikes

Rosacea is not limited to your face alone. You may also see the above symptoms on your:

  • Upper chest
  • Ears
  • Neck
  • Scalp

The symptoms of rosacea can last for days. The pustules, papules and acne tend to reappear as the old ones heal. For this reason, rosacea can be frustrating to deal with. The rosacea subtype 2 that is recognized by the characteristic redness, as well as the formation of pimples, papules, pustules and the swelling of your skin, is called papulopustular rosacea.

Step Three: Rhinophyma or A Red Swollen Nose Is One of The Tell-Tale Signs of Rosacea

Subtype 3, or phymatous rosacea is the type of rosacea that comes with skin thickening and an enlarged red nose as its main symptoms. There is no particular cause of rhinophyma except that the bulbous nose symptom occurs in the most severe cases of rosacea.

Certain factors determine whether or not you are prone to rhinophyma. For instance, men are more prone to rhinophyma than women. Also, you are more likely to get a bulbous nose from leaving your rosacea untreated, especially if you have:

  • Fair skin
  • Blue or green eyes
  • Light hair color
  • A positive family history with one of the blood relations having similar condition

Since rhinophyma happens at a later stage of rosacea, this symptom identifies rosacea and confirms it. Symptoms like redness of the skin and acne can be confused with other skin ailments, but that is not the case with rhinophyma.

Why Does Rhinophyma Happen?

Here is how rhinophyma affects your nose:

  • Rhinophyma affects your nose and initiates a process of inflammation in the skin of your nose. The inflammation leads to swelling and excessive tissue deposition in your nose, which then leads to a thickened, disfigured nose.
  • It also enlarges and engorges the blood vessels in your nose.
  • It also leads to an increased number of the oil glands in your nose, which further adds to its bulk and thickness.

If you ignore your rosacea, the thickening of the skin on your nose may slowly begin to enlarge the tip of your nose, eventually disfiguring it. The skin on your nose may become severely sensitive, too, as a result of rhinophyma.

Rhinophyma is treatable by both medication and surgery. You can also take a few steps to reduce the inflammation on your nose, such as:

  • Limit Alcohol Consumption: In ancient times, rhinophyma was associated with excessive alcohol consumption, leading it to be known as “brandy nose” or “rum nose.” Alcohol has a tendency to cause inflammation in the skin. It also dilates and engorges your blood vessels. Although it may not be the cause of rhinophyma, the excess consumption of alcohol can trigger rosacea and aggravate the symptoms, too.
  • Cold Water Compress: Dip a cotton ball in cold water and gently apply it to the inflamed parts. It relieves inflammation and reduces swelling.
  • Avoid Using Certain Cosmetics: Waterproof cosmetics that need to be removed with the help of solvents and products containing sodium lauryl sulfate should be avoided as they can aggravate the inflammations. Also, avoid applying astringents, toners, menthol and camphor to the affected parts of the nose.
  • Use Sunscreens: Always use a good sunscreen before going out in the sun. The sun can cause flushing of the skin, which may aggravate your rosacea.

Step Four: Ocular Rosacea- A Rosacea Type Causing Redness, Burning and Irritation in The Eyes.

Ocular rosacea is the forth subtype of rosacea. It is the type of rosacea primarily affecting the eyes. It leads to the inflammation of the eyes causing redness, burning and irritation of the eyes. According to some estimates, almost half of the people with rosacea could develop ocular rosacea, too.

Though rosacea is a disease of the skin, ocular rosacea may be the first symptom of rosacea, which may be later followed by the symptoms on the skin.

The ocular rosacea symptoms are as follows:

  • Burning or stinging in the eyes
  • Dry eyes
  • Itching in the eyes
  • Sensitivity to light
  • TearingBlurred vision
  • Redness in the eyes
  • The feeling of having a foreign body in the eyes
  • Spider veins visible on the white portions of the eyes
  • Tearing
  • Swollen eyes or eyelids

You may have severe ocular rosacea symptoms but the symptoms of rosacea on your skin may be mild. Ocular rosacea may be due to:

  • Eyelash mites
  • Blocked glands in the eyelids
  • Bacterial or viral infections
  • Family history with someone in your family having ocular rosacea

Ocular rosacea is something that should not be taken lightly. Since it causes drying of the eyes, it can cause corneal complications which may ultimately lead to the loss of vision. Make sure you talk to an ophthalmologist and get your eyes examined to keep ocular rosacea under check.

Step Five: Rosacea vs. Eczema- How to Differentiate Between These Two?

Both eczema and rosacea are skin diseases that arise from dry skin; therefore, it is common to confuse the symptoms of these conditions which leave the diseases undiagnosed and untreated for a long time.

Here are some similarities and differences between the two to help you understand them better:

Symptoms: While a reddened face, pustules, acne, spider veins and irritation on skin and in eyes are common symptoms for rosacea, eczema is characterized by red and brown patches, scabs, cracked and scaly skin and rashes.

The bulbous nose due to the thickening of skin around the nose is a characteristic symptom of rosacea. Rhinophyma does not happen in the case of eczema.

The Parts of The Body They Affect

Eczema can occur almost anywhere on the body. It mainly affects:

  • Arms
  • Hands
  • Legs
  • Feet

However, rosacea on the other hand, is limited to the face. Apart from the face, rosacea can happen on the:

  • eczemaNeck
  • Chest
  • Scalp
  • Ears

Where they happen on your body marks one of the biggest differences between rosacea and eczema. The part of the body that is affected is the tell-tale sign of whether it is rosacea or eczema.

The Age Most Prone to Skin Conditions Like Rosacea and Eczema

When in life the person has contracted the disease can also determine whether it is rosacea or eczema. Children can contract eczema whereas rosacea does not begin until the person is well into adulthood. Rosacea is a condition that most of the people develop in their late 30s. Adults who have eczema usually have had the disease since childhood. Even infants can get eczema, even though it is not common.

Factors That Aggravate Your Rosacea Symptoms

Both rosacea and eczema can be aggravated by extreme temperatures and stress. But in the case of eczema, factors like contact with certain wool clothing and blankets can aggravate the symptoms. Use of certain soaps and detergents can also aggravate eczema symptoms. In contrast to this, rosacea is aggravated by consuming spicy food, alcohol, caffeine and dairy products.

It is important to correctly diagnose whether you have rosacea or eczema, because the treatments for these diseases are different. If you have rosacea and you take medicines like corticosteroids, which are used to treat eczema, it may aggravate your symptoms, leading them to permanently damage your skin.

Therefore, it is critical that you do the following:

  • It is extremely important you pay attention to the details, as there is a fine line between these two conditions.
  • Schedule an appointment with your dermatologist for an expert opinion.
  • Do not start with any treatment option without consulting your dermatologist as it may do more harm than good.

Step Six: Skin Plaque, Dry Skin, Dandruff and More: A Few Other Symptoms of Rosacea

Rosacea, also known as the red skin disease, may occur in episodes. The symptoms for rosacea tend to flare up when in contact with the factors that have led to it. Apart from facial redness, a bulbous nose, pustules, papules, acne and spider veins, rosacea may also have few other symptoms, like:

  • Skin Plaque: The red patches on your forehead and cheeks, also known as erythematous plaque, occur when the skin undergoes constant flushing. Rosacea plaque is generally due to excessive irritation and inflammation; however, the skin surrounding the plaque is not affected.

  • Dry Skin: Dry skin can be an inconvenience for rosacea patients. Dry skin in rosacea can often be accompanied by a burning, itching and stinging sensation. The skin begins to appear flaky and dull. It is also more sensitive towards irritants, because its barrier function is impaired.
  • Oily Skin: There is no evidence that oily skin triggers rosacea, but if you have oily skin and are affected by rosacea, the chances are that you will develop acne more easily than most patients with rosacea.
  • Dandruff: Just as with your face, which becomes dry, scaly or flaky due to rosacea, your scalp may be affected, too. In this condition, you may experience mild dandruff and inflammation of the scalp. This condition is called seborrheic dermatitis.

Over 16 million Americans suffer from rosacea. Rosacea affects mostly women between the ages 30 and 50 years.

How Doctors Diagnose Rosacea

The symptoms in this article may help you detect whether you have rosacea or not, but you must not self-diagnose. It is extremely important that you get an expert’s advice as a 100-percent confirmation, which can only be received after a diagnosis by a healthcare professional.

Here is how doctors diagnose rosacea:

  • By Checking the Appearance of the Patient: A typical rosacea patient is an adult with redness in the center of the face. Some bumps and pimples might also accompany the redness.
  • Skin Scraping: Skin scraping is a non-invasive test. It is performed to decide whether the infection on the skin is rosacea or some other disease like staph infection or herpes.
  • Blood Tests: Though there are no blood tests to detect rosacea, doctors often conduct blood tests to detect whether it is Lupus erythematosus, which is an auto-immune disorder sharing few characteristic symptoms with rosacea.

Visit your doctorVisit your doctor as soon as you see the warning signs or the rosacea symptoms. It is not wise to delay treatment, as the symptoms can become permanent and can worsen with time. Earlier your treatment begins; easier it is to recover from it. It may not be easy to cope with rosacea, as like any skin disorder, rosacea can ruin your self-confidence along with the physical discomfort that it causes. Talk to your dermatologist and seek guidance to develop a rosacea management program that works best for you.  With adoption of the right lifestyle and dietary changes, you will be able to successfully fight rosacea with minimum side-effects.