While rosy cheeks are generally a sign of good health, you can have too much of a good thing. When facial blushing and flushing become chronic, you may be living with a skin condition called rosacea.
The National Rosacea Society estimates that more than 16 million Americans are affected by the condition. While rosacea can happen to all ages, genders, and races, some groups tend to experience it more often: women, people with a family history of the disorder, and those between 30-50 years of age.
While it is not contagious or life-threatening, rosacea can profoundly affect the self-image of people who live with it. Redness, inflammation, and pus-filled bumps are common symptoms, worsening during flareups or in severe cases.
The Four Types of Rosacea
Rosacea is categorized into four distinct subtypes, depending on the specific set of symptoms and where they occur on the face. It’s possible to have multiple subtypes at the same time.
Type 1: ETR, or Erythematotelangiectatic Rosacea
This is the most common type of rosacea, named for erythema, the medical name for skin redness, and telangiectasia, the medical name for spider veins. These conditions are the most common symptoms of Type 1, along with a burning sensation and frequent flushing.
Sunlight, alcohol, stress, and irritants can trigger a flareup or worsen symptoms.
Type 2: Papulopustular, or Inflammatory Rosacea
Inflammatory rosacea causes redness, along with fluidless bumps called papules and fluid-filled spots called pustules. Pustules are a form of acne. Combination therapies of topical creams, ointments and oral antibiotics can help reduce symptoms.
Type 3: Phymatous Rosacea
Phymatous rosacea causes facial skin to thicken. Those with Type 3 may experience rhinophyma (thickening of the nose skin), gnathophyma (thickening of the chin skin), metophyma (thickening of the forehead skin), or some combination. Oral medications are often used to treat phymatous rosacea, along with laser removal of excess tissue.
Type 4: Ocular Rosacea
Ocular rosacea affects the eyes and eyelids. Symptoms might include dryness, visible redness and irritation, blurred vision, and cysts on the eyelids caused by lack of moisture. For that reason, eyedrops and oral medications are used in conjunction to treat Type 4.
If you are experiencing signs of any of these four types, you should speak with a dermatologist for diagnosis and treatment options. Mild cases can often be controlled with the proper skincare, while moderate to severe cases require medication to help control symptoms.
Next week, we’ll look at some of the products that Advanced Skin Therapeutics offers to treat redness and inflammation for mild cases of rosacea, as well as tips for avoiding flareups. Check back then!