Those with a family history of rosacea may want to pay close attention to their children, as studies suggest that heredity could play a role in developing this skin condition. According to a survey from the National Rosacea Society, nearly 40 percent of 2,000 rosacea sufferers interviewed shared they had a family history of rosacea, with 27% clarifying they had a parent with the condition.
Although dermatologists most commonly see rosacea in adults between the ages of 30 and 60, a small percentage of children and teens develop rosacea. The good news is that a prompt diagnosis from a dermatologist can help improve a child's symptoms. Continue reading to learn more about rosacea in children and when to see a dermatologist.
WHAT IS ROSACEA?
Rosacea is a chronic inflammatory skin condition characterized by facial redness, pimples, and broken blood vessels. However, parents and caregivers may notice distinct rosacea symptoms in children like irritated, red eyes, styes or pinkeye, swollen red eyelids, and long-lasting flushing on the face. When rosacea affects the eyes, it is medically referred to as ocular rosacea.
WHAT HAPPENS TO ROSACEA WITHOUT TREATMENT?
If left untreated, rosacea symptoms in children can progressively worsen. For instance, long-lasting flushing may result in permanent redness in the middle of the face. Kids can also develop acne-like blemishes.
Children with ocular rosacea may continue to get frequent styes and cases of pinkeye, even after treatment. This condition can also cause the eyes to feel gritty and become highly sensitive to sunlight. Finally, open sores on the eyes (from untreated ocular rosacea) can lead to partial or complete vision loss. Ocular rosacea typically responds well to treatment, making early treatment imperative.
WHEN SHOULD A CHILD SEE A DERMATOLOGIST FOR ROSACEA TREATMENT?
If you notice that your child has any unexplained changes in their skin, it's time to make an appointment with their dermatologist. Unfortunately, rosacea is commonly mistaken for other skin conditions such as facial rashes, acne, skin infections, or allergic reactions. Mistakenly treating these conditions will only worsen your child's rosacea. That's why it's essential to have a dermatologist diagnose this condition.
HOW DO DERMATOLOGISTS DIAGNOSE AND TREAT ROSACEA IN CHILDREN?
A dermatologist will start by asking a series of questions to determine if your child is at risk of developing rosacea. These questions cover topics about medical history, medications, and if you have a family history of rosacea.
Although there is no test to determine if your child has rosacea, a dermatologist will be able to diagnose rosacea by a physical examination of their skin and the description of their symptoms and heredity. In some cases, a blood test is used to rule out other possible medical conditions.
If a dermatologist determines that your child has rosacea, they will tell you where the rosacea is (the skin, the eyes, or both) and what type of treatment they recommend. If rosacea affects a child's skin, their dermatologist will most likely recommend a combination of medication, lifestyle changes, and follow-up appointments. If the rosacea is ocular, their dermatologist can treat it if it's mild; however, a dermatologist may refer a child to an ophthalmologist if the condition is severe.
WAYS TO REDUCE ROSACEA FLARE-UPS IN CHILDREN
Anyone can develop rosacea, and while the direct cause of this condition is still unclear, hereditary and environmental factors could, in part, lead to its development. Please take note of these precautions from the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD), as they can help prevent rosacea flare-ups in children.
Common irritants that cause rosacea flare-ups in children include extremely hot or cold temperatures, consuming hot beverages, eating spicy foods, and using fragranced products. Remember, every child is different, so what causes a flare-up can differ from child to child.
Use Sun Protection
Sun protection is always a vital part of skin care, especially for children and adults with rosacea. This is because sun exposure naturally leads to a rise in body temperature and flushing, which can cause a rosacea flare-up.
Apply sunscreen to any areas of your child not protected by clothing, such as the face, ears, and hands. Ensure the sunscreen is fragrance-free, broad-spectrum, SPF 30 or higher, and water-resistant. Finally, make sure the sunscreen contains titanium oxide, zinc oxide, or both. You can view the sunscreen products we offer here.
Use Makeup With Caution
Makeup often contains ingredients like fragrance, alcohol, mineral oil, and propylene glycol – all of which can irritate sensitive skin.
Choose the Right Skincare and Haircare Products
Choosing the right combination of skincare and haircare products is vital to skin health, especially for those with rosacea. If your child suffers from rosacea, pay close attention to the ingredient list in their skincare and haircare products. For instance, avoid any products containing sodium lauryl sulfate (often found in shampoo and toothpaste), menthol, and camphor.
Use Medication as Prescribed
Dermatologists often prescribe topical and oral medications to kids with rosacea. For example, dermatologists may prescribe metronidazole (a topical treatment) for mild to moderate rosacea. Metronidazole helps get rosacea under control and is stopped after 12 weeks of use. For severe cases of rosacea or ocular rosacea, dermatologists might prescribe antibiotics. Be sure that your child takes the antibiotics for the entire time prescribed by their doctor.
Schedule Regular Follow-ups
Lastly, make sure you schedule regular follow-up visits with a dermatologist so they can monitor your child's rosacea and any medications they are taking for their condition. Again, every child is different and, thus, responds differently to treatments. Your dermatologist will work with you to find the best treatment and ways to reduce flare-ups for your child.
ROSACEA IN CHILDREN | DERMATOLOGY CENTER FOR SKIN HEALTH, PLLC
Rosacea is a challenging skin condition for children and adults alike, and it can be frustrating to try to understand it alone — but you don't have to. Our dermatologists at the Dermatology Center for Skin Health, PLLC, located in Morgantown, West Virginia, are here to help you understand your child's skin and find the proper treatment. If you have any questions about rosacea or are concerned that your child might have rosacea, call us at (304) 598-3888. We look forward to hearing from you!