According to the National Rosacea Society, more than 16 million Americans are affected by rosacea. A recent study showed that genetics contribute to approximately half of rosacea risk, while the rest of the observed risk was attributed to greater lifetime sun exposure (UV radiation), older age, a higher body mass index (an indicator of obesity), smoking, drinking, heart disease and/or skin cancer.
Rosacea is an inflammatory skin condition that most often affects the face in middle age adults. It often presents as burning, tingling or itchy red patches involving the forehead, cheeks and chin. Pustules and pimple-like blemishes can also be seen.
Occasionally rosacea can affect the eyes with a gritty and dry sensation of the eyes. Some common rosacea triggers include:
- Toners and astringents
- Scrubbing the skin with washcloths or harsh cleansers
- Acne products containing salicylic acid
- Anti-aging products containing glycolic acid
- Emotional stress
- Spicy foods
- Foods containing sulfites, nitrites, and possibly monosodium glutamate (MSG)
- Sun exposure
Treatment of rosacea involves avoiding triggers, using mild skin care products for sensitive skin, prescription topical medications, oral anti-inflammatory doses of antibiotic such as doxycycline, and in some cases, laser treatment.