So you’ve tried almost everything to get rid of your acne—benzoyl peroxide, special soaps, dietary changes—but you still don’t see results. First, you should definitely see a doctor. Make your appointment with a clinician at the Tang Center as soon as possible, because you’ll need a referral to see the dermatologist there. Second, you may not have acne at all, but the papulopustular subtype of a condition called rosacea (roh-ZAY-sha) instead.
Rosacea is a common, chronic skin disorder that mimics acne’s redness, bumps, and pimples (at least this subtype does). Fair-skinned people who easily flush or blush are at the highest risk for the disorder, but all skin types and colors are vulnerable. There is no known definitive cause or cure as of today, but there are effective treatments to clear the papules and pustules (various bumpy, pus-filled structures) and reduce the redness.
This facial redness is the hallmark symptom to watch for. In addition to the acne mimic, there are three other subtypes that involve the formation of visible blood vessels, skin thickening (particularly around the nose), and eye irritation. Early treatment for rosacea is extremely important, as all subtypes of this condition can worsen over time if left unchecked. As we’ve seen above, bumps and pimples may appear. In severe cases of untreated rosacea, the nose may become bulbous (enlarged and bulging) from the formation of excess tissue.
Bottom line: get yourself to a doctor. There’s no need to suffer without treatment, and, if you’re diagnosed with rosacea, it’s truly not the end of the world. At least 16 million Americans have rosacea, so there’s plenty of information out there to arm yourself with (and even some support groups to join). The National Rosacea Society is a nonprofit organization and a tremendous resource for all aspects of rosacea: treatment, research, tips to reduce flare-ups, and much more. They even have free booklets and a newsletter edited by a Harvard dermatologist.
- Acne or Rosacea? Accurate Diagnosis Is Key to Treatment from Rosacea.org by the National Rosacea Society <http://www.rosacea.org/rr/2013/winter/article_1.php>
Article by Robert Morgan
Feature Image Source: Allure