Rosacea is a common condition that causes redness on the cheeks and across the nose, and is sometimes accompanied by more persistent red bumps, known as papules or pustules if they have a yellow centre. Its full name is actually acne rosacea. Episodes of flushing may precede a more persistent redness.
Certain triggers are thought to cause blood vessels just under the skin to widen, becoming more visible and causing redness, but the underlying cause is not well understood. It is common – affecting up to 10% of people – and typically appears in those aged 30 to 60 as well as in fair-skinned/blue-eyed people. The exact cause remains unknown, but triggers for its development include sun damage, leaky tiny blood vessels under the skin, a skin mite called * Demodex folliculorum *, and a family history of rosacea. It is not contagious, so you cannot catch it from someone else.
It’s a good idea to keep note of any potential causes. Common triggers include alcohol, stress, strenuous exercise, hot or cold weather, sunlight, hot drinks, caffeine, foods (particularly spicy foods), steroid creams and certain medications such as calcium-channel blockers. Some people complain of a condition alongside called blepharitis, where eyes become inflamed, sore, dry and watery.
Exposure to sunlight, which can trigger flushing, can be managed by using sunscreen or alternatively wearing make-up containing SPF 30.
Skincare is important so always ensure the skin is clean and moisturised adequately - you could also try using water-based makeup (if you do wear it), so it is easier to remove without needing alcohol-based cleansers that can irritate the skin.
Stress as a trigger can be managed by getting the right amount of sleep, taking regular low-intensity exercise and eating a healthy balanced diet. If your skin is dry, using hypoallergenic or mild emollients may help to relieve the symptoms.
You are fit for work if you have rosacea.
You should book a routine appointment with your doctor to confirm the diagnosis and discuss possible treatments. They will consider your symptoms, likely triggers, and examine you. Treatments may include gels or creams and they may consider other treatments such as brimonidine or ivermectin to reduce the skin inflammation.
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