April is Rosacea Awareness Month

by Shelly Crossman, DCNP, FNP-C, Owner, Dermatology & Skin Care by Shelly

Do you have any flushing and redness of the face? Possibly even an enlarged bulbous nose, pimples, other bumps, burning, stinging, even swelling of the face? What about bloodshot, irritated eyes?

You may have rosacea. However, be aware that these symptoms can be that of other medical conditions such as lupus erythematosus, eczema, seborrheic dermatitis or actinic damage just to name a few.

Rosacea is diagnosed more in women, but tends to be more severe in men. It can affect people, emotionally causing them to feel embarrassed or insecure. Those strong emotions can also exacerbate the condition.

Other known triggers include sun exposure, alcohol, spicy foods, marinated meats, heat, cold, wind, heavy exercise, skin products, medications, etc. Another trigger, a mite called Demodex folliculorum, normally inhabits human skin.

Research is being done on other causes involving our nervous system and innate immune system, the role of neuropeptides, lymphatics, mast cells and genetics.

Whether you know or suspect you have rosacea and you have not already been diagnosed, get into a dermatology specialist to see if you can be helped by medications and other current treatments. You want to be sure you are indeed dealing with rosacea and not another medical condition.

A few tips for those with rosacea:

  • Make a list of the known triggers and record your flare-ups to try to match what your triggers may be. One’s known triggers may not affect another.
  • Use physical sunblock (zinc oxide/titanium dioxide) as other chemical sunscreens can irritate the condition.
  • Omega-3 fatty acids such as ALA, EPA and DHA are thought to help with rosacea and the integrity of the skin. These are in fish and other seafood, algae, canola and flaxseed oil, nuts (especially walnuts) and chia seeds, to name a few.
  • Wash your face with your hands and avoid abrasive materials including wash cloths.
  • Let your face dry before applying topical medications to help decrease stinging.
  • Change out your cosmetics and wash brushes often.
  • Try yellow/green tinted cosmetics to help camouflage.

If you are struggling, I encourage you to visit the National Rosacea Society at www.rosacea.org for more tips, resources and ongoing research.