Rosacea vs. Redness: How to Tell the Difference
Did you know that almost 16 million people in the U.S. have rosacea, but most of them might not even know it? Here are a few key things you should know if you suspect skin redness might be something more.
What Is Rosacea?
Rosacea is a skin disorder that primarily causes redness in skin on the nose, cheeks, forehead, and chin. It occurs most often in people from 30 to 60 years old, but rosacea can affect anyone.
While this skin disorder isn’t life-threatening, it can worsen over time if left untreated and cause discomfort. Some cases of rosacea have been known to cause a stinging sensation in the skin. In addition, while women are more likely to be diagnosed with rosacea, men are more likely to have severe cases of rosacea. How can you tell if your skin redness is rosacea? Let’s review a few key rosacea symptoms.
Most people with rosacea have a history of frequent flushing or blushing. Whether it’s full facial redness or redness primarily in a few areas on the face (cheeks, nose, forehead), this is often the earliest sign of rosacea.
That being said, flushing every once in a while doesn’t mean you have rosacea. Flushing is a normal reaction to embarrassment, anger, and even stress. It’s probably not rosacea if you only flush in times of great emotional stress. But if you notice more frequent bouts of flushing, it may be a good idea to consult a dermatologist.
Persistent Facial Redness
If your face is constantly red, it may be a sign of rosacea. You might be told it’s because of your lineage or genetics, but the reality is it could be a skin disorder like rosacea.
Persistent facial redness might look like a sunburn that won’t go away, even if you haven’t been in the sun lately. Your skin may also feel more sensitive than normal. If you feel like you haven’t been in the sun for weeks, but you still look like you just walked off the beach, it could be time to consult with a dermatologist.
Bumps and Pimples
Rosacea causes small red bumps and sometimes pus-filled pimples on the skin. These blemishes may resemble acne at first, but rosacea leaves a distinct lack of blackheads. This phenomenon is, in part, why rosacea is sometimes referred to as acne rosacea. Patients with this particular symptom also report burning or stinging sensations on their skin. All that said, cystic acne and hormonal acne can also cause skin redness and irritation. It might seem easy to tell the difference on your own skin, but do not self-diagnose. For an accurate diagnosis and the appropriate treatment plan, it’s important to consult with a dermatologist.
Visible Blood Vessels
Another key symptom of rosacea is visible blood vessels in the face. This isn’t like a vein popping in your forehead or neck when you yell and your face gets red. You’ll be able to see these capillaries regardless of whether you’re yelling or not. They typically look like small clusters of dark, thin lines. They’re most often visible on the nose and cheeks.
While it’s still unknown what exactly causes rosacea outside of some genetic influence and possible swelling of blood vessels, treatments are available and diagnosis is fairly straightforward. The primary rosacea treatment is to avoid all known triggers. These may include extreme heat, stress, certain skincare products or cosmetics, alcohol, spicy food, and more. The key to this treatment is having concrete knowledge of what your particular rosacea triggers are. A dermatologist can help you identify them.
Other rosacea treatments include oral and topical medication, as well as laser skin therapy. Each treatment plan is individualized for a patient’s needs. In addition, sunscreen is an absolute must for people who have been diagnosed with rosacea.
When you step out of a hot shower, you might notice your skin is a little red. That’s probably not rosacea. But if you notice any of the symptoms we covered in this blog, contact Eastside Dermatology to consult with one of our doctors today.