Did you know that April is Rosacea Awareness Month? Although rosacea is becoming more widespread, very few Canadians have any knowledge of the condition, including how to recognize it, or how to improve it. If left untreated, rosacea’s effects on personal appearance can lead to significant social, psychological, or occupational issues. Let’s learn more about this very common, yet misunderstood skin condition.

What is Rosacea?

Rosacea is a skin condition that first appears as redness or blushing on the face – usually on the cheeks, nose, chin, or forehead. Over time, the redness becomes more persistent, and visible blood vessels may appear in these areas. As the condition progresses, red bumps or pimples may also develop on the skin. Because of this, rosacea is often misdiagnosed as acne.

In severe cases, rhinophyma may occur in which the nose becomes swollen or bumpy due to thickened tissue. Another form of rosacea, ocular rosacea, causes the eyes to become red, watery or irritated.

How Common is Rosacea?

Rosacea affects approximately 1.6 million Canadians, in particular those who are fair-skinned and who blush easily. These individuals are often of northern European descent (i.e. English, Irish, Scottish). Rosacea typically appears after age thirty, and tends to affect more women than men.

What Causes Rosacea?

The cause of rosacea is still a mystery, however scientists believe it may be attributed to one or more of the following:

  • Blood vessel or connective tissue disorder
  • Microscopic skin mites, fungus, or bacteria
  • Genetic predisposition
  • Abnormal immune or inflammatory response
  • Sun damage of the connective tissue under the skin

Rosacea sufferers often find that certain triggers will cause their condition to flare-up, where there is an intense outbreak of redness, bumps, or pimples. Triggers may include:

  • Weather – sun, cold, heat, humidity
  • Food/Drink – hot beverages, alcohol, spicy foods, chocolate, dairy products, spinach
  • Intense exercise
  • Stress
  • Medical conditions – fever, colds, cough, menopause/hot flashes
  • Medications

Is There a Cure for Rosacea?

Unfortunately there is no known cure for rosacea. However, there are treatments available that can significantly reduce rosacea symptoms and keep the condition under control. These include:

  • Oral antibiotics
  • Topical medications (antibiotics, steroids)
  • Laser treatments to reduce redness (Intense Pulsed Light, vein reduction)
  • Use of gentle skincare products to reduce inflammation
  • Daily use of sunblock

Rosacea sufferers can also manage their symptoms by identifying and controlling the triggers that cause their flare-ups.

If you suffer from rosacea, please schedule a complimentary consultation with our team of experts to discuss the treatment options available at our clinics.