Rosacea is a chronic skin disease that causes redness and swelling, primarily on the face, but can affect the scalp, neck, ears, eyes, chest and back. Rosacea is often passed on in families, with women being afflicted more often than their male counterparts. Men, however, often get more severe forms of rosacea.
Rosacea may begin as a tendency to flush or blush easily, and progress to persistent redness in the center of the face that may gradually involve the cheeks, forehead, chin, and nose.
Rosacea affects an estimated 14 million Americans. Although the most commonly affected are fair-skinned individuals between the ages of 30 and 50, rosacea can affect all ages and skin types.
Since rosacea causes facial swelling and redness, it is easily confused with other skin conditions, such as acne and sunburn. The best advice for anyone who thinks that he or she might have rosacea is to see a dermatologist as early as possible. Experts believe early diagnosis and treatment not only control the signs and symptoms of rosacea, but also might actually reverse progression.
Dermatologists, while unable to cure rosacea, have a variety of treatments that diminish the disease's signs and symptoms. Today's treatments range from topical products and oral medications to treat the papules and pustules, to laser therapy for treating visible blood vessels on the face and laser surgery for the more advanced signs of the disease.