Rosacea is a common but poorly understood long-termskin condition that mainly affects the face.
It can be controlled tosome degree with long-term treatment, but sometimes the changes inphysical appearance can havea significant psychological impact.
This topic covers:
When to see your GP
Treatment and self-help
Symptoms often begin with episodes of flushing ,where the skin turns red for a short period, but other symptoms can develop as the condition progresses, such as:
Rosacea is a relapsing condition, which means there are periods when symptoms are particularly bad, but less severe at others.
Read about the symptoms of rosacea .
See your GP if you have persistent symptoms that could be caused by rosacea. Early diagnosis andtreatment can help stop the condition getting worse.
There's no specific test for rosacea, but your GP will often be able to diagnose the condition by:
In some circumstances your GP may arrange further teststo rule out other conditions with similar symptoms, such as lupus or the menopause . For example, these could be a blood test orskin biopsy , where a small scraping of skin is removed and examined.
The exactcause of rosacea is unknown, although a number of possible factors have been suggested, including abnormalities in the blood vessels of the face and a reaction to microscopic mites commonly found on the face.
Although they're not thought to be direct causes of the condition, several triggers have been identified that may make rosacea worse.
Read about causes of rosacea .
There's currently no cure for rosacea, but treatment can help control the symptoms.
Long-term treatmentis usually necessary, although there may be periods when your symptoms improve and you can stop treatment temporarily.
For most people, treatment involves a combination of self-help measures and medication, such as:
In some cases procedures such as laser and intense pulsed light (IPL) treatment may be helpful.These involvebeams of lightbeing aimed at the visible blood vessels in the skin to shrink them and make them less visible.
Self-help measures for rosacea
Any long-term (chronic) condition can have an adverse psychological effect, but rosacea can be particularly troublesomeas it affects your appearance. This can change how you feel about yourself and how you interact with others.
Many people with rosacea have reported feelings of low self-esteem, embarrassment and frustration.
It's important to try to come to terms with the fact you have a chronic condition that, although incurable, is controllable.
Persevering with your treatment plan and avoiding your individual triggers are the best ways of controlling your symptoms.
As your physical symptoms improve, youmay start to feel better psychologically and emotionally.
If you have rosacea, take comfort in knowing you're not alone. There are millions of people living with the conditionin the UK and across the world.
You can find support and information from organisations such as:
Speak to your GP if you're feeling depressed as a result of your condition. They may recommend further treatment if necessary.
Rosacea that affects your eyes (ocular rosacea) can lead to a number of eye problems, some of which can be serious.
Symptoms of ocular rosacea can include:
Rosacea can sometimes cause the cornea, the transparent layer at the front of the eyeball, to become inflamed and damaged. This is known as keratitis.
This damage can make the cornea vulnerable to ulceration and infection, which could potentially threaten your sight.
Symptoms of serious problems with your corneas include:
Contact your GP immediately if you think you may have a problem with your corneas. If this isn't possible, visit your nearest accident and emergency (A&E) department .
If keratitis isn't treated promptly by an ophthalmologist, a doctor who specialises in treating eye conditions, there's a risk of permanent vision loss.
Read about rosacea, a common but poorly understood long-term (chronic) skin condition that mainly affects the face.
Read about the symptoms of rosacea, such as flushing, facial redness, visible blood vessels, and papules or pustules.
Read about the causes of rosacea. The exact cause of rosacea is unknown, although a number of potential factors have been suggested.
Treatment for rosacea aims to help keep the symptoms under control. There's currently no known cure for rosacea.
Read about self-help measures for rosacea, including avoiding triggers, skincare techniques and eyelid hygiene.
If you have rosacea, there are a number of things you can do to help keep the condition under control. Avoid triggers. Many people with rosacea notice certain triggers make their symptoms worse.