The symptoms often start with skin flushing with the complexion turning red for short periods of time and this can be accompanied by burning and stinging, dryness, spots as well as small blood vessels becoming visible.
There isn’t an exact cause of rosacea but abnormalities in facial blood vessels and reactions to microscopic mites are thought to be two possible reasons for flare ups. It is also thought that stress, light exposure, hot and cold weather, alcohol, caffeine, spicy foods are triggers that can make things worse.
There are no specific tests for rosacea, but seeing your GP about persistent symptoms and getting an early diagnosis can help to stop things getting worse and offer peace of mind. They will talk over your concerns, ask about your possible triggers, examine your skin and while there is no cure they can help with a treatment plan.
When medication is offered, it generally comes in the form of creams and gels that are applied, under guidance, to the affected skin areas and in some cases antibiotics are prescribed too.
A lot of the treatment is around self-care, so leading a healthy lifestyle and avoiding your own personal triggers, be that not drinking alcohol, choosing decaf tea and coffee and reducing exposure to sunlight, is advisable.
In some cases laser and intense pulsed light (IPL) treatment might be offered. This involve beams of light being directly aimed at the inflamed blood vessels in the skin so they shrink and become less visible.
While treatment can control the symptoms (there is no cure), rosacea can change the appearance of the skin which can cause embarrassment and affect everyday life.
“I suddenly found myself with rosacea in my early 40s and it had not only an impact on my skin but also my confidence and self-esteem”.
It is important to know that millions of people around the world suffer with this condition and you aren’t alone. Taking care of your diet and lifestyle will help you feel more in control and following your treatment plan will hopefully keep your skin calm and healthy. If you do feel self-conscious, try not to let it take over your thoughts and some people find meditation helps them keep calm and grounded.
If you really do struggle with the physical impact of rosacea, go back to your GP and see if they can help with some counselling or support. It is also worth noting that the charity, Changing Faces, offers a variety of services for anyone in the UK who has a condition that affects their appearance.