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Rosacea is being misdiagnosed in dark skin tones
As April comes to an end, so does Rosacea Awareness Month. And while rosacea has been a relatively simple condition to identify for those of Caucasian descent, the same can’t be said for people with darker skin tones.
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According to Science Direct, rosacea is infrequently reported among non-white populations worldwide. However, the lower rates – which, when reviewed by the Journal of American Dematology still sit at about 40 million cases worldwide – are suspected to be in part due to conditions going undetected or misdiagnosed.
Here’s a top-line explanation of why rosacea cases are potentially being missed in dark skin tones, and what we need to look out for:
What is rosacea?
Rosacea is a skin disorder most commonly known for its chronic facial redness and inflammation across the forehead, cheeks, nose and chin. In more severe cases, rosacea can appear as blood vessels, hardened skin or pustules and papules.
There are no single known causes of rosacea, however, genetics and environmental factors are believed to influence the development and severity of cases.
Among these causes are aggravating triggers such as alcohol, in particular red wine, exercise, extreme temperatures, stress and even spicy food.
Why is it being misdiagnosed in dark skin tones?
As a condition often distinguished on lighter skin tones as a flushed face or rosy cheeks, those with higher pigmentation in the skin make these signs and symptoms far trickier to detect.
The telltale signs are instead being confused with acne (in which case treatments such as BHAs, retinol and salicylic acids can potentially aggravate the condition) or malar rash, which is seen in patients with lupus.
Image credit: @blackdermpa
Persistent uncomfortable stinging aside, Instagram account @blackdermpa revealed that patients with untreated rosacea can have it progress to hyperpigmentation or “unsightly changes to their noses”, otherwise known as rhinophyma.
How can rosacea be detected in dark skin tones?
According to the Black Skin Directory, a few key indicators of rosacea on dark skin include (but aren’t limited to):
A persistent warm and flushed face often with a burning or stinging sensation
Swollen dry patches and acne breakouts that don’t clear up once treated
How can rosacea be treated?
As it stands, there is no cure for rosacea.
Effective techniques for long-term management, however, include using sensitive-skin friendly products that are formulated with strengthening ingredients such as ceramides and calming ones like aloe vera and green tea.
bh recommends: Ultraderm Skin Karma Moisturiser, Dermalogica UltraCalming Super Sensitive Shield SPF30, Ultraceuticals Ultra Red-Action Moisturiser, CeraVe Facial Moisturising Lotion SPF 15, La Roche-Posay Rosaliac AR Intense Anti-Redness Serum
But the best method is to avoid flare-ups as much as possible, by steering clear of the obvious lifestyle triggers (alcohol, spicy food etc), and overly harsh exfoliants, plus a diligent daily application of SPF.
In terms of treatment, Black Skin Directory recommends laser therapy as a beneficial and safe treatment for darker skin tones, as they work to resurface and support thickened skin.
Do you suffer with rosacea? What are your best tips for preventing flare ups?
Main image credit: @fridacashflow
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