What Is Rosacea?

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Rosacea is a chronic skin disease that affects more than 16 million Americans. The cause of rosacea is still unknown, and there is no cure. However, research has allowed doctors to develop a course of treatment that effectively controls rosacea by minimizing its symptoms.

There are four subtypes of rosacea. Each subtype has its own set of symptoms. It is possible to have more than one subtype of rosacea at a time.

Rosacea’s trademark are small, red, pus-filled bumps on the skin that are present during flare-ups. Typically, rosacea affects only skin on your nose, cheeks, and forehead.

Flare-ups often occur in cycles. This means that you will experience symptoms for weeks or months at a time, the symptoms will go away, and then they will return.

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Part 2 of 10: Pictures
Pictures of Rosacea

Rosacea Picture Gallery

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Rosacea Before and After 1 of 8
Part 3 of 10: Types
Types of Rosacea
Type 1
Subtype one, known as erythematotelangiectatic rosacea (ETR), is associated with facial redness, flushing, and visible blood vessels.

Subtype two, papulopustular (or acne) rosacea, is associated with acne-like breakouts and often affects middle-aged women.

Subtype three, known as rhinophyma, is a rare form that is associated with thickening of the skin of your nose. It usually affects men and is often accompanied by another subtype of rosacea.

Subtype four is ocular rosacea, and its symptoms are centered on the eye area.

Part 4 of 10: Symptoms
Symptoms of Rosacea
Symptoms
Rosacea symptoms are different between each subtype.

Signs of rosacea ETR:
flushing and redness in the center of your face
visible broken blood vessels
swollen skin
sensitive skin
stinging and burning skin
dry, rough, and scaly skin
Signs of acne rosacea:
acne-like breakouts and very red skin
oily skin
sensitive skin
broken blood vessels that are visible
raised patches of skin
Signs of thickening skin:
bumpy skin texture
thick skin on nose
thick skin on chin, forehead, cheeks, and ears
large pores
visible broken blood vessels
Signs of ocular rosacea:
bloodshot and watery eyes
eyes that feel gritty
burning or stinging sensation in the eyes
dry, itchy eyes
eyes that are sensitive to light
cysts on eyes
diminished vision
broken blood vessels on eyelids
Part 5 of 10: Causes
What Causes Rosacea?
Causes
The cause of rosacea has not been determined. It may be a combination of hereditary and environmental factors. It is known that some things may make your rosacea symptoms worse. These include:

eating spicy foods
drinking alcoholic beverages
having the intestinal bacteria Helicobacter pylori
a skin mite called demodex and the bacterium it carries, Bacillus oleronius
the presence of cathelicidin (a protein that protects the skin from infection)
Part 6 of 10: Risk Factors
Risk Factors for Rosacea
Risk Factors
There are some factors that will make you more likely to develop rosacea than others. Rosacea often develops in people between the ages of 30 and 50. It is also more common in people who are fair-skinned and have blond hair and blue eyes.

There are also genetic links to rosacea. You are more likely to develop rosacea if you have a family history of the condition or if you have Celtic or Scandinavian ancestors. Women are also more likely to develop the condition than men. However, men who develop the condition often have more severe symptoms.

Part 7 of 10: Diagnosis
How Do I Know if I Have Rosacea?
Diagnosis
Your doctor can easily diagnose rosacea from a physical examination of your skin. They may refer you to a dermatologist who can determine whether you have rosacea or another skin condition.

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