Condition: Rosacea

If you look like you're constantly blushing, chances are you may have a very common condition called "Rosacea."

Rosacea gives the appearance of persistent "flushed" cheeks or sunburn. It usually affects the center of the face, but can also affect the chin, forehead, ears, chest, and back. Over time, the redness becomes ruddier and visible blood vessels may appear.

Rosacea is a chronic condition that can be very disruptive. An estimated 14 million Americans are affected by at least one symptom of Rosacea and many more are not aware that they have the condition.

Because the cause of Rosacea is not well understood, prevention of this problem is also not well understood. Rosacea may be inherited and therefore it may not be easy to prevent. However, people who have just started having Rosacea, or who have a family history of Rosacea, should avoid any foods, drinks, or other irritants (such as sunburn) that cause facial flushing. Frequent facial flushing may cause Rosacea to appear for the first time or to worsen.


Food & other Rosacea Triggers to AVOID
Some of the most common Rosacea triggers include:

  • alcohol
  • spicy foods
  • heated beverages
  • sun exposure
  • hot or cold weather
  • hot baths
  • emotional stress
  • wind
  • heavy exercise
  • certain skin care products

Rosacea family tree or...  Is Rosacea Inherited?
Although no scientific research has been performed on Rosacea and heredity, there is evidence that suggests Rosacea may be inherited. According to the National Rosacea Society nearly 40 percent of Rosacea patients surveyed said they could name a relative who had similar symptoms.
          In addition, there are strong signs that ethnicity is a factor in one's potential to develop Rosacea. In a separate survey by the Society, 33 percent of respondents reported having at least one parent of Irish heritage, and 27 percent had a parent of English descent. Other ethnic groups with elevated rates of Rosacea include individuals of Scandinavian, Scottish, Welsh or eastern European descent.

Causes of Rosacea

Sometimes, spicy foods or extreme temperature changes can aggravate or trigger Rosacea. The actual cause of Rosacea is still not scientifically known, however, the following are theories related to Rosacea:

  • The sebaceous glands have more sebum than normal, which builds up on the skin and forms a flaky film (similar to cradle cap on babies).

  • Rosacea might be related to how often and how intensely people blush. When you blush, a large amount of blood flows through vessels quickly, which causes those vessels to expand quickly to handle the flow. When this occurs, the skin’s immune system tries to control this inflammation by sending more blood supply to the area which can then cause broken blood vessels.

  • Rosacea might be related to the bacteria known as “Helicobacter Pylori.” This bacteria is known to be in the plaque residue found on teeth but also has been found in the stomach where it might be the cause of ulcers.

Symptoms of Rosacea

As the condition progresses, small pimples, which resemble acne can develop, although the actual comedones (white or blackheads) do not form. Other potential signs of Rosacea are burning or stinging of the face accompanied by itching or a feeling of tightness.

Eye irritation gives the eyes the appearance of being bloodshot or watery, a condition known as ocular Rosacea. Rosacea should be treated, because as it worsens, the skin may thicken and enlarge from excess tissue, most commonly on the nose. This more severe condition of Rosacea is called “rhinophyma.”

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