Typically characterized by redness and / or pimples that appear on the face and most commonly affect adults between the ages of 30 and 60, rosacea is a chronic inflammation that is inclined to worsen over time, especially if gone untreated.
Rosacea is quite often misdiagnosed as any number of other skin disorders including acne. Nonetheless, it is considered to be a common skin condition that is calculated by statisticians to affect as many as 50 or more million people around the world. Although it has been found among all races and ethnicities as well as both genders, the most apt to develop it are fair skinned female Caucasians who are descendants of north-western Europeans and Celtics.
Symptoms of Rosacea
In most sufferers of rosacea, the condition tends to be cyclical as it goes through periods of eruption and then subsides in order to erupt once again. The length of such cycles varies from one person to another. Furthermore, the rosacea cycles can also vary in the same person as they are aroused by an assortment of factors.
Rosacea usually begins to appear as red splotches (erythema) across the nose, cheeks, forehead and chin. In rare cases it will also spread to the neck, chest, ears and scalp. As the disease advances, it produces semi-permanent erythema known as telangiectasia which is a dilation of the superficial blood vessels of the face which are usually visible on the nose and cheeks. It then also produces little red bumps known as red domed papules, small pimples filled with pus or pustules and a red lobulated nose known as rhinophyma. The sensations these symptoms evoke are usually burning and stinging of the eyes which is known as ocular rosacea.
For some unknown reason, patients of rosacea appear to blush more easily than most other people. Also, rosacea may affect the inner skin of the eyelids which will become inflamed and scaly and lead to a painful condition called conjunctivitis.
Causes of Rosacea
Medical science does not yet know what exactly causes rosacea but they suspect that heredity and a variety of external factors may play significant roles. Among some of the assumed culprits are hot and spicy foods and beverages, high consumption of alcohol and caffeine, exposure to extreme temperatures and prolonged sunlight, excessively hot baths or saunas and overly strenuous physical activities as well as emotional factors such as stress, anger or embarrassment. Drugs that dilate blood vessels such as those taken for controlling of high blood pressure and steroids have also been blamed for the onset of rosacea, for its progression and for the worsening of its symptoms.
Currently, there are no known cures for rosacea. However, symptoms can be managed and decreased with certain medications.
1/ Topical medications such as moisturizers in forms of lotions, creams, gels or oils; medicated soaps and sunscreens may be helpful. Antibiotic topical treatments are commonly prescribed for rosacea patients along with oral antibiotics or on their own as well as topical steroid.
2/ Oral antibiotics are frequently prescribed in addition to topical treatments for two main reasons: a) they have fast working anti-inflammatory properties, and b) rosacea reacts quicker to oral antibiotics than to topical.
For extreme cases of rosacea which do not respond to other treatments, isotretinoin (accutane) is prescribed. Due to the seriousness of its side effects, takers of isotretinoin must be very closely monitored by a dermatologist.
3/ Invasive procedures such as laser surgery and electro surgery may be performed to visibly reduce the appearance of enlarged blood vessels. These procedures are cosmetic rather than curative.