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Rosacea (ro-ZA-she-uh) is a chronic, inflammatory skin condition that affects adults. It causes redness in your face and produces small, red, pus-filled bumps or pustules. Left untreated, rosacea tends to be progressive, which means it gets worse over time. However, in most people rosacea is cyclic. This means your rosacea signs and symptoms may flare up for a period of weeks to months and then lessen for a while before flaring up again. Besides acne, rosacea can be mistaken for other skin problems, such as skin allergy or eczema. Though rosacea doesn't have a cure, treatments can control and reduce the signs and symptoms. If you experience persistent redness of your face, see your doctor for a diagnosis and proper treatment.
Complications of Rosacea
In severe and rare cases, the oil glands (sebaceous glands) in your nose and sometimes your cheeks become enlarged, resulting in a buildup of tissue on and around your nose — a condition called rhinophyma (ri-no-FI-muh). This complication is much more common in men and develops very slowly over a period of years.
Causes of Rosacea
The cause of rosacea is unknown, but researchers believe it's likely due to some combination of hereditary and environmental factors. Though the exact causes of rosacea remain a mystery, a number of factors can aggravate rosacea or make it worse by increasing blood flow to the surface of your skin. Some of these factors include:
One thing is certain — alcohol doesn't cause rosacea. While the consumption of alcohol can lead to flushing of the skin and may worsen rosacea, people who don't consume alcohol at all still can get rosacea.
Signs & Symptoms of Rosacea
Signs and symptoms of rosacea include:
Rosacea usually appears in phases:
Diagnosis of Rosacea
There's no specific test that can diagnose rosacea. Instead, doctors rely on the history of the person's symptoms and a physical examination of the skin to diagnose the disorder.
Treatments of Rosacea
Though there's no way to eliminate rosacea altogether, effective treatment can relieve its signs and symptoms. Most often this requires a combination of prescription treatments and certain lifestyle changes on your part. Your doctor also may recommend certain moisturizers, soaps, sunscreens and other products to improve the health of your skin. If hot flashes appear to trigger your rosacea, you might ask your doctor what treatment options are available for the signs and symptoms of menopause.
You may need a combination of prescription-strength topical medication (lotion, cream or gel) and oral medication (pill, capsule or tablet) to treat rosacea.
Your doctor may treat ocular rosacea with oral antibiotics or steroid eyedrops. The duration of your treatment depends on the type and severity of your symptoms, but typically you'll notice an improvement within one to two months. Because symptoms may recur if you stop taking medications, long-term regular treatment is often necessary.
Enlarged blood vessels, some redness and changes due to rhinophyma often become permanent. In these cases, surgical methods, such as laser surgery and electrosurgery, may reduce the visibility of blood vessels, remove tissue buildup around your nose and generally improve your appearance.
Prevention of Rosacea
You can't prevent rosacea, but you can take steps to reduce or control your symptoms long term.
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