Rosacea is a long-standing skin condition that mainly affects females in the ages between 30 to 50 years. It initially develops some redness over the face and later followed by bumps that look similarly to pimples. It commonly affects the cheeks, nose, and forehead. These symptoms are often associated with itching and a burning sensation of the skin. If you are suffering with similar symptoms, consult your dermatologist to find out if you really have rosacea or just a simple acne breakout.
There is no single blood test or any other screening tests available to diagnose rosacea. It is a diagnosis made alone with your symptoms and physical examination of your skin.
When you visit your dermatologist, he/she will first take a complete history from you including the symptoms, past medical history, and a family history of rosacea. For women, the doctor may ask questions regarding their menstrual cycle because rosacea is a common occurrence among menopausal women. Thus, women should expect some questions regarding their menstruation as well.
After taking a complete history from you, your dermatologist will continue to do a physical examination on your skin. This is done to rule out any other causes that may have a similar presentation as rosacea.
It is better to avoid wearing makeup on your doctor's appointment, so that he or she could get a better view of your skin condition. Cosmetics can hide the signs that would help your dermatologist come up with an accurate diagnosis.
During the physical examination, your doctor will examine your skin, carefully looking for the characteristic signs and symptoms of rosacea. The features he or she may look for include:
- Redness of the face – the entire face or just the cheeks, nose, and forehead
- Redness of the nose
- Change in the shape of the nose
- Thickening of the skin on the nose
- Visible dilated blood vessels
- Redness of your eyes or bloodshot eyes
Ina addition to this, your dermatologist will ask you if your face is itching or has a burning sensation.
Know your symptoms well before visiting a dermatologist
If you know all your symptoms before your doctor's appointment, it will help your doctor make a more accurate diagnosis. Knowing the triggering factors that may exacerbate your skin condition will be a great help for your dermatologist. Knowing the factors that relieve your symptoms are important as well. You can do this by maintaining a diary, where you write down all the factors that either aggravate or relieve your skin symptoms. Make sure you take your notes with you when you visit your dermatologist.
In your diary of symptoms, record everything that affects your skin condition such as exposure to sunlight, spicy food, extreme weather conditions, stress, exercise, certain cosmetic products you have applied or drinking alcohol. Note down each and every single thing that made a change to your skin symptoms. If you are at your menopausal age, note down if the symptoms began around this time or before this.
Diagnosing rosacea is a very easy thing, and it is not painful at all as it does not involve any tests. Keeping track of your symptoms and everything that exacerbates or relieves them will make your dermatologist’s job easy. Making an accurate diagnosis is the first step in planning a successful management plan.