Watch For These Rosacea Symptoms

The internet has turned all of us into hypochondriacs. Whenever we have a sneeze, or our children bring home a new scratch or bruise from school, it’s off to WebMD to figure out the latest thing that’s wrong with us. Spoiler alert: usually, sites like this will make you believe one of three things: that you’re pregnant, have cancer, or are just plain going to die in the next few minutes. One diagnosis, however, is easy to make by yourself. If you find yourself prone to flashes of red bumps on your cheeks, this is one of the tell tale rosacea. No, rosacea symptoms won’t give you cancer, kill you, or make you pregnant. But you might have to have a talk with your dermatologist in the near future.

Quickly Turning Red

While many symptoms of rosacea can vary depending on the individual, one that tends to stick with everyone is the flashes of blushing, or pre-rosacea. In extreme cases, these blushes can come on completely without warning and last for as long as five minutes, often reaching far to the neck and chest. Many report that the skin feels hotter than usual during these times, some unpleasantly so.

Hyper-reactivity of the Skin

Not to be confused with hyperactivity. Your skin did not just down a 5 Hour Energy Drink and does not have the coffee shakes. Hyper-reactivity means that the blood vessels beneath your skin have become extremely sensitive, to the point where they dilate quickly when triggered by touch, or sometimes even heat and sunlight. A common misnomer here is in calling this condition akin to sensitive skin. This is not true, by definition. The blood cells are what is sensitive here, not the skin. Rather, your facial skin is the stage upon which the sensitive blood vessels begin to hyper-react.

Redness That Won’t Go Away

It’s one thing to blush when you are embarrassed, but it’s another issue entirely to have that flush come completely unexpectedly and last for at least five minutes. If you find that all of a sudden your face tingles as though it were sunburned, you may want to seek the assistance of a medical professional. This is happening due to hundreds of blood vessels dilating just underneath the surface of your skin.

Papules, Pustules, and Spots, Oh My!

Besides just flaring up into a blush, another common symptom of rosacea is for little bumps to appear around the face (technically known as inflammatory rosacea). Teenagers often have this misdiagnosed by doctors and parents who simply chalk it up to being acne, but these blemishes are a whole different kettle of fish. How can you tell the difference between acne and a rosacea papule? With rosacea, the facial blemish has no blackheads. The opposite is true for acne.

Vascular Rosacea Symptoms

When rosacea symptoms are not treated right away, they can worsen. Commonly, blood vessels on the nose and cheeks can swell and become visible. In doctor speak, this is known as telangiectasia. These sometimes can look as intricate as a tiny spider web, and the skin can also become blotchy like that of an alcoholic. Of course, once again, these blotches are caused by blood vessels in the skin, as opposed to a liter of vodka. However, it is worth noting that alcohol can in fact spur on a rosacea flare up, but alcohol is never the actual source of a flare up.

Rhinophyma- Fear of Turning into a Rhinoceros

Just kidding. This medical term is actually used to describe a phenomenon of excess facial skin around one’s nose. In cases of rosacea among men, this condition tends to be more common. Its symptoms include thickening facial skin, particularly around the nose region. In some cases, the nose can become enlarged and bulbous, not unlike the skin of a rhinoceros (see where it gets its name now?) Typically, this rosacea symptom is extremely rare, and is more common in males than in females.

Gee, Your Face Sure Looks Swell

Sometimes during a rosacea flare up, excess proteins and fluid can leak out of blood vessels. When the lymphatic system can’t drain the leakage away quickly enough, it becomes overwhelmed. The result? A bit of swelling in the face region. This is one of the more moderately common rosacea symptoms.

What About Complications with Rosacea Symptoms?

If left untreated rosacea can worsen into something that is more difficult to get a handle on. In rare cases, it may even develop into a condition that affects the eyes (ocular rosacea), which may damage the cornea. If you find yourself with dry eyes or a tear deficiency, these complications could lead to a complete loss of vision.

It perhaps goes without saying, but if you find yourself suffering from what you think are complications related to rosacea, contact a doctor immediately and schedule an appointment. Before your visit, make sure to write down a list of symptoms you have been experiencing, as well as your rosacea treatment history. Remember to also include any other questions you may have about your diagnosis, complications, or other topics relevant to rosacea symptoms.

Your primary care physician should be able to take care of your concerns. However, particularly in cases related to ocular rosacea, you may be quickly referred to the care of an opthamologist. If you think your symptoms are worsening, the best course of action to take is a quick one.

In a world where everyone seems to be a sensationalist, it can be all too easy to let a medical diagnosis freak you out. However in the case of rosacea, this is a very common condition, and one that is extremely treatable. Recognizing the possible rosacea symptoms is an excellent first step. But before you have an anxiety attack (that possibly spurs on a flare up), call your doctor and set up an appointment. They will be able to give you exactly what you need to maintain this condition, and in return will also give you the peace of mind you so desire.

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