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Rosacea 101

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It's easy to understand why rosacea was called "acne rosacea" for so many years -- rosacea and acne look so much alike. They both often have red pimples and, of course, both appear on the face. A major difference is that rosacea usually turns up in people from age 30 to 50. Unfortunately, rosacea is typically a longer lasting condition than teenage acne because it can go on and on through one's adult life.

What causes rosacea?

Although the precise cause of rosacea remains a mystery, researchers believe that heredity plays a major role. It has been suggested that abnormalities of blood vessels, certain bacteria, or skin mites often found in patients with rosacea may be what's behind it; however, evidence that these factors play a central role in the development of this disorder is lacking.

Despite the lingering myth, ones drinking habits have nothing to do with causing rosacea; however, it is accepted that the blushing and flushing of rosacea can flare when some people drink alcohol. They may get a short-term redness, especially from red wine. It's doubtful, however, that drinking alcoholic beverages brings about a long-term worsening of this condition.

Who is likely to develop rosacea?

Anyone can develop rosacea; however, people from certain ethnic backgrounds are most likely to get it. If you have fair skin and have ancestors hailing from Great Britain (including Ireland, Scotland, and Wales), Germany, and Scandinavia, or certain areas of Eastern Europe, you have the greatest tendency to develop rosacea. The condition is rare in Hispanic, African, and African-American populations along with other dark-skinned people. Women are affected with rosacea more often than men.

What does rosacea look like?

Rosacea is characterized by persistent redness (erythema) on the cheeks, nose, chin or forehead. These areas comprise the central one-third of the face. Besides the redness, there are often visible blood vessels called telangiectasias. Many people refer to telangiectasias as "broken blood vessels", but there's nothing broken about them. They're actually enlarged blood vessels that look like thin red lines on the face, especially on the cheeks.

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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.



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