So you’ve noticed a couple of patches of red skin and itchy bumps and you think to yourself, Should I be worried? Caring for your skin often comes down to a matter of knowing the difference between various skin conditions, and your red, itchy skin is no different. So, is it rosacea or is it just a minor rash? Let’s explore the differences between the two and help put your worried mind at ease.
Let’s begin by understanding what a rash really is. A rash is medically defined as “a noticeable change in the texture or color of your skin.” This is a very broad definition of “rash” but it offers insight into what you may be dealing with. There are many types of rashes, all with different characteristics and symptoms. So defining your inflamed skin as a simple rash is not so simple after all.
Typically, encountering foreign substances, whether they are soaps and lotions, dyes or chemicals, can cause our skin to have an adverse reaction. Rashes can also be the result of medical skin conditions like eczema or psoriasis. Even certain medications can play a role. With a large variety of types of rashes, the list of causes can seem endless.
Some types of rashes are more serious than others and can be life-threatening while others remain simply annoying. Nonetheless, there is no one common type of rash that can be ignored. All rashes are caused by something and should be evaluated by a dermatologist.
With a better understanding of rashes, let’s move on to rosacea.
Rosacea is a skin condition that causes pus-filled bumps to appear only on the face. These bumps are typically small and red and show up in cycles, disappearing and reappearing off and on for weeks or even months at a time.
There are four types of rosacea; erythematotelangiectatic, also known as ETR (affects the blood vessels), rhinophyma (of the nose), acne, and ocular (of the eyes). Symptoms vary according to rosacea type but they include visible broken blood vessels (ETR), thick skin on the nose (rhinophyma), swollen bumps (acne), and bloodshot eyes (ocular). Individuals may also experience sensitive and swollen skin as well as intermittent stinging and burning.
The cause of rosacea is currently unknown although some speculate that heredity and environmental factors may play a role. Even though the cause is unclear, rosacea seems to mostly affect people between the ages of 30 and 50. Fair-skinned individuals are also at a higher risk.
Unfortunately, there is no cure for rosacea but symptoms can be managed by knowing and avoiding your personal triggers. Triggers can include certain foods, specific face cleansers and lotions. Even weather can trigger a flare up. The best thing to do is take note of when symptoms show and manage accordingly.
If your rash is only on your face, odds are you are suffering from rosacea. However, only a dermatologist can say with absolute certainty what condition you may have.