An introduction to the symptoms of rosacea
Rosacea can be a difficult condition to diagnose because of the similarities that it shares with other skin complaints such as sunburn, or some forms of eczema. Rosacea is sometimes known as ‘adult acne’ – this however can further perpetuate the tendency for misdiagnosis.
Being aware of what symptoms to expect will help you to achieve a correct diagnosis, enabling you to take steps towards treating your symptoms and easing your discomfort.
Flushing is common in the erythematotelangiectatic variant of rosacea and can be caused by certain triggers, such as spicy foods, caffeinated or alcoholic drinks, sunlight or the menopause. You will likely experience a feeling of heat around your cheeks accompanied by a redness that can spread down to the neck.
Erythema or facial redness is again a very common symptom of rosacea, particularly in the erythematotelangiectatic variant. The symptom can be brought on by increased blood flow when your blood vessels expand. It usually presents itself in the facial area but can sometimes spread as far down as the chest.
Pimples are commonly found in a variety of skin conditions, such as acne or eczema. Although they can be distressing to sufferers and a source of embarrassment, pimples in rosacea are not considered to be as lasting as with other conditions and they usually fade without leaving a noticeable mark.
Facial burning normally accompanies flushing or erythema and can be described as a feeling of excessive heat, usually appearing in your cheeks although it can occasionally show itself in the nose as well. It can be triggered by certain beverages and food products, stress or vigorous exercise.
Dry, flaky skin is usually experienced by most rosacea patients and new research suggests that this could be because some sufferers have a weakened epidermal barrier, lowering the levels of water present in the outer layer of skin.
Certain cosmetic products or topical creams may aggravate this further by drying out and damaging sensitive skin cells.
Eye problems are usually associated with ocular rosacea and can be extremely uncomfortable for sufferers, often causing itching, burning and weeping, making your eyes appear red, inflamed and bloodshot.
Common in the papulopustular subtype of rosacea, plaques can also be associated with other skin conditions, such as psoriasis. The name refers to inflamed and scaly portions of skin and can often be a source of distress because of their unsightly nature.
This can arise in rosacea as a result of excess histamine produced by the immune system.
Histamine can be released into your body when you are stressed, anxious or consume alcoholic or caffeinated beverages.
It can cause your skin to appear swollen, sometimes even affecting your eyelids and nose, leading to complications such as photophobia.
Visible blood vessels
Also known as telangiectasia, your blood vessels can become visible when they are dilated.
This increases the blood flow around the body, leading to symptoms such as flushing and erythema. Watch out and be aware that certain cosmetics, food products and medication may trigger this sign.
An overgrowth of tissue can cause the skin to thicken, particularly around the nose, making it appear swollen and enlarged. This is known as rhinophyma.
Stress is a common, overarching issue in most skin conditions, usually related to either the visibility or irritability of your symptoms. However, stress can also dilate the blood vessels and enhance your physical symptoms, so you should try to find an effective way of coping with any stress or anxiety present.