Rosacea is a facial skin condition that affects approximately 16 million people in the United States. It is a long-term condition that causes the face to appear red, bumpy, inflamed and flushed. It is not contagious and cannot be passed on to another person. According to the National Rosacea Society (NRS), it is most common among people with fair skin.
Geography seems to play a part, as well. Research from the NRS has found rosacea to be most prevalent in the Northeast, especially in New England. In fact, over 10 percent of the adult populations of Maine, Rhode Island, New Hampshire and Connecticut suffer from the condition. Experts say these geographical areas are home to more fair-skinned people with English, Irish and northern European heritage.
Rosacea affects other parts of the body
In addition to skin problems, rosacea is also associated with eye issues. About half of all people who have it experience redness, dryness, itching and burning of the eyes, as well as excess tears. In extreme cases, the condition might cause blurred vision or eyes that are sensitive to light.
The cause of rosacea is not fully understood at this point. Some experts speculate that it’s the result of blood vessels that expand too easily. Regardless of the cause, the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases reports that some environmental factors are thought to trigger rosacea symptoms. This includes extreme temperatures, stress, hormonal changes (especially during menopause), alcohol, spicy foods and excessive exercise.
As far as treatment is concerned, there is currently no cure for rosacea. However, oral and topical antibiotics are a common approach. Rosacea is not caused by bacteria – it’s the anti-inflammatory effect of antibiotics that can improve symptoms. Some may find laser surgery or electrosurgery to be effective for addressing red lines on the skin. Some people with rosacea may feel self-conscious about their skin. Online support groups can help a person with rosacea learn to cope with the condition.