Rosacea is a fairly common, noticeable inflammatory condition of the skin that affects as many as 3 million Canadians. It is characterized by facial redness or flushing along with other symptoms such as acne-like bumps and a burning sensation, and is often easily mistaken for an allergic reaction or other skin-related conditions. In rare cases, rosacea can also affect the eyes and cause them to become irritated.

While there is no definitive cause of rosacea, studies have suggested that it may be a hereditary condition. There are also certain things that can trigger rosacea’s symptoms, such as emotional stress, drinking alcohol, drinking hot beverages, eating spicy foods, physical activity, being in extreme weather/temperatures, cosmetics, as well as certain medications that dilate the blood vessels. To decrease the symptoms that are associated with rosacea, it is important to try to avoid any known triggers as much as you can.

Anyone can develop rosacea, although it is more common if you are over the age of 30, are female, have fair skin or skin that has been damaged by the sun, smoke, or have history of rosacea in your immediate family.

There are no tests that can be done to diagnose rosacea — it is solely diagnosed based on the symptoms that the patient is experiencing an examination of your skin. Depending on the severity of the symptoms, Dr. Ali Ghahary, a family physician from Vancouver, may refer patients to a dermatologist — and, if the eyes are involved, an ophthalmologist.

Topical prescription-strength ointments, such as Metronidazole, can be used to reduce the inflammation and redness associated with rosacea. However, you may experience a burning sensation when it is first applied, and this can last for a few weeks before it subsides. You can also try natural remedies to reduce the symptoms of rosacea, such as applying aloe vera gel, eating organic fruits and vegetables, and drinking green tea.

Dr. Ali Ghahary is a Family Physician in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. http://www.alighahary.ca

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