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April is Rosacea Awareness Month

Rosacea – What is it?

Rosacea is a chronic skin disorder that most often affects the face; nose, forehead, cheekbones, and chin. Groups of tiny micro-vessels close to the surface of the skin become dilated, resulting in blotchy red areas. Over time the redness becomes ruddier and more persistent and visible blood vessels may appear. Bumps and pimples often develop, and in severe cases, left untreated, the nose may grow swollen and bumpy from excess tissue (W.C Fileds had rosacea). The eyes may also be affected in many rosacea patients, feeling gritty and appearing watery or bloodshot.

14 million Americans have rosacea, and most of them don't know it. It most often affects adults between the ages of 30 to 60. Although rosacea can develop in people of any skin color, it tends to occur most frequently and most apparently in people with fair skin. Doctors do not know the exact cause of rosacea, but some researchers believe that rosacea is a disorder where blood vessels dilate too easily, resulting in flushing and redness. Factors that cause rosacea to flare up in one person may have no effect on another person. The good news is that, while rosacea cannot be cured, it can be effectively controlled with medical therapy and lifestyle changes.

Factors that may activate rosacea are heat, strenuous exercise, sunlight, wind, very cold temperatures, hot or spicy foods and drinks, alcohol consumption, and emotional stress.

Some lifestyle changes that may help to keep rosacea under control:
•Avoid exposure to the sun whenever possible and use a good, non-irritating sunscreen whenever exposure cannot be avoided. Extremes of heat or cold, even hot showers, baths and warm rooms may cause a problem for some people.
•Avoid spicy foods, dairy products and any sort of hot drinks and alcohol.
•Avoid tobacco products, they damage blood vessels and stimulate your system.
•Choose skin products carefully; avoid products which may irritate the skin including exfoliant and astringent products.
•Avoid stressful situations and strenuous exercise. Anger, embarrassment and fright may all result in triggering Rosacea symptoms.

The National Rosacea Society created a Rosacea Diary to help keep track of lifestyle and environmental factors preceding flare-ups. Keeping a written record of when flare-ups occur may provide clues regarding what irritates your skin.

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