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Getting redness, flushing, irritation, bumps, thickened skin, or eye irritation is decidedly not fun. It’s not only aesthetically disruptive, it’s downright irritating, in more than one sense of the word. All of the above are possible symptoms of rosacea, a fairly common, chronic condition that can be difficult to manage. While it is not directly terribly harmful and is certainly not life threatening or debilitating, it is a constant thorn in many peoples’ sides which merits discussion. So let’s talk about it.
What Is it?
Naturally, we’ll want to properly define the phenomenon before we can really adequately address it. Rosacea is, as mentioned above, a skin condition that is always chronic, meaning it lasts indefinitely and can’t be “cured,” but the symptoms can be reduced or eliminated over time with proper care. Redness, bumps, thickened skin, and eye irritation are possible symptoms, but the most common characteristic observed in most people with rosacea is persistent, periodic flushing, wherein some stimulus causes blood to flood into the vessels in the face and cause an unpleasantly warm sensation in addition to redness. Rosacea typically flares up for awhile and then goes into remission, only to flare up again another day. Rosacea can be dormant and flare up in response to stimulus such as skin irritation, but the silver lining there is that if one can avoid the stimuli that cause flare-ups, the flare-ups can be avoided entirely.
The cause of rosacea is not actually known and there is no conclusive proof, but there are a few theories with anecdotal evidence. Rosacea may be hereditary, and it may result from blood vessels in the face being closer to the surface than average.
One other important note: rosacea is not contagious, and is not an infectious disease. The exact cause is unknown, but this much is fairly clear.
How Can I Treat it?
If you have rosacea or believe you might have rosacea, your best bet is to make an appointment with your dermatologist A.S.A.P. Various dermatological treatments for rosacea exist, such as topical and oral rosacea therapy, laser treatments, and—though they are rarely necessary—surgical treatments which can remove blood vessels responsible for flushing symptoms.
Home care is important too, of course, and you should be using gentle, soothing skincare, especially products designed for sensitive skin, as these are less likely to contain anything that will irritate your skin and cause a flare-up.
It is also advisable to avoid lifestyle and environmental factors that can cause or worsen a flare-up. For instance, sunburn and sun exposure, in general, is a common cause of rosacea flare-ups, so avoiding the sun and using stronger sunscreen (say, SPF 50 or higher as opposed to the typical 30 or higher recommendation) are advisable.
You can also, of course, use makeup to conceal the visual symptoms of rosacea. The usual foundation, concealer, powder combo works reasonably well, but for an extra redness-correcting boost, use a green-colored powder. It won’t actually color the skin green, but it will neutralize the redness and make your skin tone appear more balanced and even.
Facials with shea butter also offer a promising option for reducing the symptoms of rosacea, and will give your skin a boost of radiance and softness to boot, which might help boost your confidence some; an important thing when dealing with a chronic skin condition that can be rather damaging to self-esteem.
So if you have rosacea, don’t despair; there is plenty to be done, and you can absolutely still have gorgeous, healthy skin.