April is designated as Rosacea Awareness Month. Rosacea is a chronic, inflammatory skin condition that most often affects the face and is often mistaken for acne, eczema, or a skin allergy. Rosacea appears to be more common among fair-skinned people and affects an estimated 14 million Americans (1 in 20 people). It’s important for individuals who may have rosacea to seek medical help before it worsens. The earliest signs of rosacea are often overlooked because people assume they are temporary and will go away. Unfortunately, without medical treatment the effects of rosacea often persist and become increasingly severe.
Diagnostic Signs of Rosacea
• Persistent Redness
Persistent facial redness is the most common individual sign of rosacea, and may resemble a blush or sunburn that does not go away.
• Skin Thickening
The skin may thicken and enlarge from excess tissue, most commonly on the nose known as rhinophyma. This condition is less common, but can lead to facial disfigurement and inadequate nasal airflow if severe.
Major Signs of Rosacea
Many people with rosacea have a history of frequent blushing or flushing. This facial redness may be accompanied by a sense of heat, warmth or burning that comes and goes, and is often an early feature of the disorder.
• Bumps and Pimples
Small red solid bumps or pus-filled pimples often develop. While these may resemble acne, blackheads are absent and burning or stinging may occur.
• Visible Blood Vessels
In many people with rosacea, prominent and visible small blood vessels called telangiectasia appear on the cheeks, nasal bridge, and other areas of the central face.
• Eye Irritation
In many rosacea patients, the eyes may be irritated and appear watery or bloodshot, a condition commonly known as ocular rosacea. The eyelids also may become red and swollen, and styes are common. Crusts and scale may accumulate around the eyelids or eyelashes, and patients may notice visible blood vessels around the lid margins.
• Burning or Stinging
Burning or stinging sensations may often occur on the face. Itching or a feeling of tightness may also develop.
Facial swelling, known as edema, may accompany other signs of rosacea or occur independently. Raised red patches, known as plaques, may develop without changes in the surrounding skin.
The central facial skin may be rough, and appear scaly despite some patients complaining of oily skin.
In rare cases, rosacea signs and symptoms may also develop beyond the face, most commonly on the neck, chest, scalp or ears.
If you believe you are suffering from rosacea, please contact our Belmond Clinic by calling 641-444-3500. Drs. Charity and Josh Baker are available for all of your dermatology needs including rosacea treatment.