Rosacea is an incurable condition affecting 14 million Americans. Despite the high number of afflicted people, 78% of the United States population admits to have never heard of it.
Typically, signs of rosacea begin to appear after a person's 30th birthday. These first signs show as reddened patches of skin. Over time, the red patches can develop small bumps or thickened bumps within them. The disorder can also cause the skin to have a flushed appearance, and blood vessels are often apparent.
People with rosacea tend to be fair skinned and to blush easily. Although there is no cure for the condition, proper skin care can keep flare-ups minimal. It is not contagious and most experts believe it is caused by an underlying condition involving overactive blood vessels. Nonetheless, the medical community remains unsure of its cause. Studies have shown, however, that 33% of all diagnosed rosacea patients are of Irish heritage and 40% have an immediate family member coping with the disorder.
Common triggers of a rosacea outbreak include extreme cold weather, hot weather, physical and emotional stress, strenuous exercise, hot baths, spicy foods, exposure to the sun, and alcohol consumption. Typically, a person diagnosed with the condition can easily name the circumstances that cause it to flare up. Avoiding or limiting these situations can help keep flare-ups to a minimum.
Certain medications and topical creams can be used to help prevent rosacea flare-ups. A number of patients have found consistent use of special creams and medications throughout a ten-year period can ultimately prevent it from flaring up again. Antibiotics are also prescribed at times to help with the disorder. Though there is no proof rosacea is a bacterial condition, the anti-inflammatory qualities of the antibiotics have been shown to prevent flare-ups from occurring. Topical ointments are used on a more regular basis than antibiotics, however, because they are usually safer to use over an extended period of time.
Many dermatologists recommend the use of a hypoallergenic facial wash in the mornings to prevent rosacea flare-ups. When washing, facial skin should be gently rubbed with a soft washcloth and scrubbing should be avoided. The skin should be blotted dry afterward because it is delicate and rough treatment can worsen the condition. Exposure to the sun should also be limited for those with rosacea. When in the sun, it is important for those with the disorder to use a sunscreen with an SPF of at least 15 in order to prevent flare-ups.