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Rosacea Awareness Month: Five Things to Know About Rosacea 

“I’m not blushing. It’s rosacea.” 

These words may well be familiar to people who live with rosacea. In fact, the National Rosacea Society is leading its 2022 campaign with this quote to raise awareness and understanding of this distinctively inflammatory skin condition. 

Over at Skin + Me, we’re shining a light on National Rosacea Awareness Month by explaining more about symptoms, diagnosis and treatment for people who may struggle to manage rosacea. 

Think you may have rosacea? Here are five things to know.

1. Rosacea is sometimes mistaken for (or misdiagnosed as) acne 

But there can be an overlap between the two conditions. Our Head of Medical, Dr Jason Thomson explains, “Rosacea is an inflammatory skin condition that is a common cause of breakouts in adults. You may have had clear skin as a teenager and then develop breakouts in adult life. This may be due to rosacea and not acne, as is sometimes wrongly assumed.”

2. There are different types and symptoms of rosacea

Dr Jason Thomson again, “The most common rosacea symptoms include redness, flushing or blushing, broken small thread vein and spots, particularly over the cheeks, nose and forehead. Sensitive dry skin is also common.

“Rosacea can also less commonly cause redness and enlargement of the facial skin such as the nose (called rhinophyma) or other parts such as the forehead, cheeks, chin or ears.

“Rosacea can also affect the eyes causing red inflamed eyelids and making the eyes feel dry and gritty.”

3. Rosacea is a chronic condition that can’t be cured.

But it can be managed.

Dr Jason Thomson explains, “The treatment of rosacea is very much dependent on the individual’s features and symptoms and will consist of a combination of lifestyle factors, prescription creams (and tablets in some), rosacea-friendly skincare and lasers. The aim of the treatment is to control the symptoms.

“Avoiding your triggers is the first step and for some, this may be alcohol and for others, it may be spicy food.”

4. A healthcare professional can advise on your optimal combination of treatment

When it comes to medical treatments some work better for the spots and bumps and others work better for redness and flushing. 

Dr Jason Thomson outlines the breadth of treatments that may be recommended by professionals, “Common treatments include topical and oral antibiotics (such as metronidazole), azelaic acid, ivermectin (an antiparasitic drug that helps reduce Demodex mite thought important in rosacea) and topical and low dose oral retinoids as well as medication and lasers that target blood vessels.

“As rosacea can often lead to dry sensitive skin using appropriate skincare that helps inflammation, protects the skin barrier and does not clog pores thus worsening rosacea breakouts is key.”

5. Sun protection and keeping your routine simple can help manage rosacea

If you do one thing, wear sunscreen daily. Dr Jason Thomson says, “UV light is a major trigger of rosacea flares. Mineral sunscreens are usually better tolerated.”

When you’re ready to take off that sunscreen in the evenings? Choose gentle hydrating cleansers. Avoid oil-based cleansers that can worsen rosacea breakouts or cleansers containing AHAs or BHAs which can be irritant to rosacea-prone skin. 

Moisturise daily with a light oil-free moisturiser. Go for products that are anti-inflammatory but avoid thick, rich moisturisers aimed at eczema-prone skin.

Avoid skincare with long product lists and ideally, avoid fragranced products or products with a high alcohol content to avoid further irritation. As with managing most skin conditions, keep your skincare routine simple for the best results.

Medical facts checked by Consultant Dermatologist, Dr Jason Thomson 

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