What is rosacea?

What is rosacea? It is, plain and simple, an ongoing nightmare for many of us who have it. I never know if I'm going to wake up to red blotches or a clear face, so every morning is a surprise. I approach the mirror with hesitation, and then I know if it's an easy makeup day or if I have my work cut out for me.

Rosacea is an incurable inflammatory skin condition that causes redness, bumpiness kind of like acne and often visible blood vessels on your face. It can be in just one area, like your nose or chin, or pretty much all over your face. It shows up on me on my nose and cheeks, chin and right above my eyebrows. I also have a permanent broken capillary on the left side on my nose.

In the late stages, some people develop a big red, bumpy nose called rhinophyma. This happens more to men than women, and it’s not common. When it does happen, surgery is necessary to remove the excess growth.

Some of us, about 50%, also have ocular rosacea. This causes visible blood vessels in the whites of your eyes, dry eyes, styes, and red eyelids. You may even have blurred vision. I actually stopped wearing contact lenses because they just weren't comfortable, although I don't really have dry eyes. The rims of my eyelids are often itchy.

The cause of rosacea is unknown, but demodex mites and small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO) have been named. Demodex mites are actually one of the types of mite that cause mange in dogs. Don't worry--it's not transmitted to humans from dogs! Dogs that have demodex mites typically have no symptoms, but if the dog becomes immunocompromised (like from cancer) or severe malnutrition, the mites can become a very itchy problem.

Both demodex mites and SIBO are treated with antibiotics, and the fact that antibiotics work pretty well for rosacea may seem to confirm some bacterial involvement. However, the fact that there are plenty of people without rosacea who are positive for mites and SIBO provides some room for question.

It's a complicated disease that looks different on everyone. It can come and go, and sometimes it disappears on its own for months or even years. But even though everyone is different, some things will help every person battle rosacea, including decreasing sugar in the diet and trying some specific supplements.

Go back to I have rosacea from What is rosacea?
Go to SIBO from What is Rosacea?