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This common but often chronic skin condition has 4 recognized stages and each stage has different signs and symptoms, all of which affect the face. The two stages in this article are the two early stages of Pre-Rosacea and Vascular Rosacea.
The signs and symptoms of Pre-Rosacea
The main symptom of this very earliest stage is frequent flushing. This flushing can affect the forehead, nose, cheeks and chin. The skin can become so sensitive that a burning sensation may occur when cosmetics or creams are applied. The face may even become swollen. It is almost impossible to predict when this flushing will happen but there are some triggers. These triggers will vary from person to person. They could be emotional triggers, chemical, environmental or even food.
The following is a list of likely triggers:
• Heat (including hot baths) and saunas
• Sunlight or wind or very cold temperatures
• Strenuous exercise
• Hot or spicy foods and beverages
• Alcohol consumption
• Long term use of tropical steroids on the face
• Emotional stress, anger or embarrassment
• Drugs that dilate the blood vessels, including some blood pressure medications
In time the tendency to flush or blush easily will progress to a persistent redness in the central portion of the face, particularly the nose. This redness results from the dilation of blood vessels close to your skin’s surface. By this stage, those who suffer from even pre-rosacea may start to feel self conscious about their appearance. This can lead to embarrassment, low self-esteem and depression. The condition can become a psychological as well as a physical problem.
The signs and symptoms of Vascular Rosacea
As the signs and symptoms of pre-rosacea worsen, vascular rosacea may develop. There will be small blood vessels on the nose and the cheeks which will swell and become visible, showing through the skin as small red lines. This is called telangiectasia. The skin will feel warm and look puffy. The skin may become more sensitive and the rosacea may be accompanied by oily skin and dandruff. Eventually, flushing and redness become persistent and then permanent. If you have telangiectasia, then this can be greatly aggravated by your lifestyle. Rosacea is much more likely in female adults with a fair skin between the ages of 30 and 60. If you have a lifestyle which includes a steady diet of hot, spicy food, above average alcohol consumption, smoking cigarettes and eating meals too quickly, then telangiectasia will surely follow.
If telangiectasia is present, those small delicate capillaries in the skin are affected as the elasticity deteriorates, so they remain slightly dilated. The skin gradually becomes congested and eventually the capillaries become visible through the skin’s surface.
Although there is no overnight cure for rosacea, the symptoms can be treated and controlled. The goal is to control the condition and improve the appearance of your skin. Unfortunately, rosacea rarely clears up unaided and it usually worsens over time if left. Avoid any over the counter products that contain ingredients such as acids, alcohol and other irritants as the chances are that they may actually worsen rosacea. It is safer to see your doctor or dermatologist so that they can prescribe a safe treatment for your symptoms or you may want to consider a natural alternative such as a topical homeopathic product which is FDA registered.
Try to avoid anything which you think might trigger a flare up. Keep a diary of such flare ups so that you can identify what might be a cause.
In addition to the triggers we have already described:
• Protect your face from the sun or the cold in winter.
• Avoid touching or rubbing your facial skin
• If using a topical medication, apply any moisturizer once the medication has dried.
• Use products that are labeled noncomedogenic.
• If using a natural homeopathic product, look for a topically applied, FDA registered product.
With sensible care and treatment, you can be successful in treating the symptoms of rosacea and the accompanying flare ups.