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Is it rosacea or winter skin? The first signs of rosacea not always clear

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If you've noticed recently that your skin is looking reddish--almost like it's got a slight sunburn or even windburn--it's easy to blow it off as just that. But if it seems to persist, then what? For some women (and men), it's just something to accept as 'the way things are' with their skin. But it could be something else: rosacea.

A recent survey conducted by the National Rosacea Society indicates that the very first signs of rosacea can not only vary between individuals, but also be hard to identify. Still, the most commonly reported early signs are flushing and persistent redness.

The survey looked at 1,072 rosacea patients and of those, 31% reported that flushing was the first rosacea symptom they experienced; 24% indicated that persistent redness was the first symptom they noticed.

This may not seem like a big breakthrough, but the information is revealing. Why? Because it isn't unusual for someone who has rosacea and who is showing early signs of the disorder, to seek medical help only to find themselves diagnosed with sunburn, irritation, an undetermined rash of sorts...you get the picture. It can be difficult to diagnose rosacea at the onset.

According to Dr. John Wolf, chairman of dermatology at Baylor University in an article at Skin Inc., "Rosacea goes undiagnosed in so many people because the most common initial symptoms--flushing and persistent redness--are often overlooked or mistaken for something else, such as sunburn."

The National Rosacea Society's survey goes on to list the signs and symptoms of rosacea, in the order in which they most frequently appear after flushing and/or persistent redness: bumps, pimples, visible blood vessels, burning or stinging, dry appearance, raised red patches, and swelling. Eye irritation was also identified as a possible later symptom.

Needless to say, this can lead to frustration for rosacea patients--first in getting a proper diagnosis, and then in trying to find an appropriate treatment. While rosacea treatments are not readily available over-the-counter, there are professional treatments that can help.

According to the Skin Inc. article, Dr. Wolf notes that 77% of survey respondents indicated that medical (i.e., professional) therapy reduced their rosacea symptoms. For those seeking information on medical treatment for rosacea, RealSelf.com can be a good resource.

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