What is Rosacea?

If you think that you might have the condition, or if you have already received a diagnosis, then one of the first questions that you have probably asked yourself is “What is rosacea?”.

Rosacea subtype 1 and 2
This is me on the day I received the first copy of my novel, “Love at First Plight”.       I wish I could say that my cheeks were rosy from excitement, but it is Rosacea subtype 1 & 2.

Also sometimes called “acne rosacea”, the short answer to that question is that it is a disorder of the skin that can cause redness, bumps, pimples, thickening of the skin, and even irritation to the eyes, depending on which subtype of you have.  There are four rosacea subtypes and it is possible to have one or several at a time. Each of them has its own symptoms and can be disrupting to your life in different ways.

It’s also important to note that just because you have only one or two types now, it doesn’t mean that you things will stay that way. Rosacea has a nasty habit of worsening over time.  This is why it is very important to start now to find out the best way to treat your skin; because the more you control it, the better you will be able to slow its progression.

Discovering how to treat rosacea is a process because everyone’s skin is different and everyone’s case of the condition is their own. What is perfect for me might not be perfect for you.  However, I’m hoping that you will be able to learn from what I have discovered over the years so that your path to the best rosacea treatment will be faster than mine.

The subtypes of rosacea are:

  • Subtype 1Facial redness. Usually on the cheeks and nose.  You may also have visible blood vessels. Mine is on the cheeks and up the edge of my face toward my temples. I have only a light speckling of pink on my nose that comes and goes.
  • Subtype 2Bumps and pimples.  I have started having these over the last couple of years.  Combined with the redness, it can make me look like I have a bad case of acne vulgaris (check out my “before pictures” to see what my skin looked like before I finally figured out the best rosacea treatment for me).
  • Subtype 3Skin thickening.  I don’t have this, but I saw it when I was a child, in older members of my extended family. It can lead to that look of a bulbous nose and can give that “drunk nose” appearance of a large, reddened nose.
  • Subtype 4Eye irritation.  Eyes can look bloodshot and/or watery, and can feel itchy or sandy.  I’m not sure whether or not I have this, as I also have seasonal allergies, which have the same symptoms.

Rosacea can be very uncomfortable or quite embarrassing. Additional rosacea symptoms that can affect many of us can include blushing very easily (and quite darkly, ugh!), sunburning easily from very little sunlight exposure, experiencing skin flushing that can be hot, itchy, or even feel like it is burning, very dry skin, “plaques” of dry skin (they feel like thick sheets of dry skin), among other skin discomforts.

At times, it can feel like rosacea is taking over.  There are a huge number of different factors that can affect your skin and cause flushing.  It’s up to you to discover what makes your own skin react so that you can reduce the impact of those factors as much as possible.

I recommend keeping a rosacea diary of your symptoms and possible issues that cause flushing in your skin, to help you to identify what your triggers really are.  There is a great template for one at the National Rosacea Society. If you don’t want to print out the sheets, you can order a rosacea diary booklet by mail. It’s free to members of the National Rosacea Society, which is free (though they do request a donation).