April is Rosacea Awareness Month, and experts want to alert people to the signs of this facial skin disorder affecting an estimated 14 million Americans.
"Rosacea is frustrating and baffling for so many people because its conspicuous signs and symptoms may not only come and go unexpectedly, but they can affect various individuals in ways few might imagine," Dr. Richard Odom, a professor of dermatology at the University of California, San Francisco, said in a prepared statement.
"Unfortunately, without treatment rosacea tends to become progressively worse -- and can have a substantial impact both physically and on people's emotional, social and professional lives," Odom said.
Rosacea usually first appears between the ages of 30 and 60 and often resembles a sunburn or blush on the cheeks, nose, chin or forehead. It happens again and again, becoming ruddier and lasting longer each time. If the condition isn't treated, bumps and pimples can develop and grow more extensive over time. Burning, itching and stinging are common. Blood vessels can become visible in the face.
In severe cases, the nose may become enlarged from the development of excess tissue. The eyes are also affected in about 60% of people with rosacea. This can lead to vision problems.
"The good news is that, while rosacea cannot be cured, it can be effectively controlled with medical therapy and lifestyle changes," Odom said.
HeathDay News, April 15, 2006