Photo Credit: Getty Images
Seeing the world through rose-colored glasses is wonderful; the world seeing you with rose-colored skin isn’t. Rosacea is a skin condition that causes periodic, sometimes severe, red, acne-like breakouts on the face. It can look like you’re constantly blushing. It affects over 14 million Americans, but it’s often misdiagnosed. Confirming if your bumpy, red skin really is rosacea can help you get the proper treatments to minimize its effects and keep your skin looking healthy. New York City dermatologist and cosmetic surgeon Dr. Neil Sadick says that more importantly, “severe rosacea-like symptoms can even be indicators of other diseases such as diabetes. Go see a doctor if you have the symptoms and get a proper diagnosis”.
Rosacea typically affects women with fair skin who are over 30, and are of Western or Northern European descent. Rosacea can mimic acne, sunburn, windburn, allergies or eczema, which is why it’s often misdiagnosed. Symptoms vary from person to person and can include everything from a mild flush to persistent redness and even thickening of skin tissue, especially in the cheeks, forehead or nose. Other symptoms are burning, itching or stinging sensations, red bumps, visible blood vessels and eye irritation. The most severe form of rosacea is the swelling and overgrowth of the nose, although this is more common in men (think actor W.C. Fields).
Acne versus rosacea
Though it takes a clinical diagnosis to determine which condition you have, you can usually tell the different between rosacea and acne. Rosacea is limited to the face, and almost always the middle. Acne can occur on the face, chest, back and upper arms. Acne is generally caused by clogged pores and bacteria, but no one knows for sure what causes rosacea, says Dr. Sadick. “However, some treatments for the two overlap, such as antibiotics like tetracycline.”
If you suspect you have rosacea, go to a dermatologist who regularly treats rosacea patients. He or she can recommend treatments that might include topical creams; oral medication, such as a low dose of doxycycline or antibiotics; and/or laser procedures such as Intense Pulse Light (IPL), Pulsed Dye Laser (PDL) or V Beam laser to reduce visible blood vessels and get rid of redness and bumps. The good news is once you find the right doctor and the right treatment, along with avoiding rosacea triggers, you can keep your symptoms under control.