Not Sure if Your Rash is Rosacea? Your Dermatologist Can Help

Woman's face with rosacea Not Sure if Your Rash is Rosacea? Your Dermatologist Can Help

Most skin conditions display visible symptoms. And as it turns out, many of these symptoms can look and feel quite similar. Because of this, it’s often difficult to determine the actual problem on one’s own skin. For instance, rosacea, a chronic skin condition with mysterious causes, can often resemble a rash, blush, acne, or sunburn. To make matters more complicated, someone with rosacea may also develop an unrelated rash in a similar area.

If parts of your skin are red, swollen, and irritated, how can you figure out what’s causing it and how to take care of it? Is it a rash, rosacea, both, or neither? No amount of online research alone will give you a guaranteed right answer. Instead, you should visit your dermatologist whenever your skin shows mysterious symptoms.

Here’s how your dermatologist can help you determine if your skin rash is rosacea, and treat the issue accordingly.

Examining Your Health History and Risk Factors

Rosacea remains a somewhat elusive skin condition. Dermatologists and researchers still can’t figure out an exact cause or cure, but certain genetic and environmental factors can make a patient more prone to developing rosacea. Your dermatologist will go over your personal and family health history to gauge your propensity for this condition. They’ll also take other risk factors into consideration. For instance, women in middle age and those with fair skin seem more prone to rosacea than other groups.

Your dermatologist might also ask you questions regarding your lifestyle, as certain activities and foods can act as rosacea triggers. These triggers may include prolonged exposure to extreme temperatures, sunlight, and strong winds, as well as the consumption of spicy foods and alcohol. Stress, cosmetic products, and medications that affect blood vessels can also lead to rosacea signs and symptoms.

Diagnosing Your Condition(s)

With a clearer understanding of your health and behaviors, your dermatologist can more easily make a proper diagnosis. However, to make the most accurate diagnosis of your skin condition(s), they might conduct various tests and further examinations. Specifically, they will look for diagnostic signs of rosacea, major signs of rosacea, and secondary signs. These include:

Diagnostic Signs (symptoms that are diagnostic of rosacea)

  • Persistent redness
  • Thickened, inflamed skin

Major Signs (if two or more signs are present, they’re diagnostic of rosacea)

  • Frequent skin flushing
  • Pimples and bumps (different from acne)
  • Visible blood vessels
  • Eye irritation

Secondary Signs and Symptoms (not diagnostic of rosacea on their own, but may appear alongside major or diagnostic symptoms)

  • Burning, stinging, itchy, tightened skin
  • Facial swelling
  • Skin dryness

If secondary signs of rosacea are discovered in the absence of major and/or diagnostic symptoms, you may suffer from a different skin condition, such as psoriasis or eczema.

Determining the Type of Rosacea

After conducting a thorough examination of your symptoms, if you are indeed diagnosed with rosacea, your dermatologist may go over the different types of rosacea with you to help you better understand your condition. The four main types include:

  • Erythematotelangiectatic rosacea (basic rosacea symptoms, i.e. facial flushing, minor swelling, visible blood vessels, etc.)
  • Papulopustular rosacea (oily skin rather than dry skin and acne-like breakouts)
  • Phymatous rosacea (thickened, bumpy, oily skin, often on and around the nose)
  • Ocular rosacea (affects the eye(s), may resemble a sty and lead to itching, dry, sensitive, bloodshot eyes)

Prescribing the Best Rosacea Treatment

Once you’ve received your final diagnosis, your dermatologist will then help you find the best rosacea treatment for your specific condition and skin type. They may prescribe oral or topical medications to restrict blood vessels, reduce swelling, mitigate breakouts, and/or fight off bacterial infection. Additionally, lasers, intense pulsed light (IPL) therapy, and surgical procedures can treat visible symptoms of rosacea such as prominent blood vessels.

In order to receive the right diagnosis and optimal treatment for your skin condition(s), you have to see a trusted dermatologist. Let Premier Dermatology Partners help you find the right provider for your needs. To learn more about our team and all the services we provide, contact us.

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