Rosacea is a skin condition that is often confused with acne as it causes tiny pimples to appear on the skin. What makes it different from acne is that it affects only the blushing area of the face… the lower nose, forehead and chin. The tiny blood vessels dilate and are easily visible through the skin as tiny red lines. Overall the effect is a permanent blush, which can be quite embarrassing. Unlike common acne, adults in the age group of 30 to 50 years, particularly fair skinned people, are affected by Rosacea. Rosacea does not bring along blackheads or whiteheads either.
It is estimated that more than 14 million Americans are suffering from Rosacea without so much as being aware of it! The cause of Rosacea has not been established. Various theories suggest that Rosacea may be a reflection of a generalized disorder of blood vessels or perhaps, a condition caused by microscopic mites. None of these are proven facts so far. There is some evidence that it is inherited and may have its roots in certain ethnic descent.
There is no certain cure for Rosacea . However there is medication to help control the condition. Symptoms like a permanent flush, burning, stinging or itchiness of the face, raised red patches or thickened skin, facial swelling or eye irritation can all point to Rosacea . They may occur independently or in combination. Should you have the slightest doubt, it is best to consult a dermatologist. No diagnostic tests exist to affirm Rosacea making the diagnosis of the condition very difficult.
Symptoms of Rosacea
Rosacea is medically a more severe condition than acne. Rosacea, left untreated, may lead to a disfigured nose. The nose grows enlarged, bumpy and red. Thick bumps might appear on the cheeks as well. A severe condition can call for correction through surgery. Watery, irritated or burning eyes could be yet another symptom pointing to Rosacea and leading to ocular Rosacea . This could lead to corneal damage and vision loss if not treated. The good news is that Rosacea is not contagious.
Rosacea is seen to be more frequent in women. However, the severity of the condition appears to be far higher in men. Symptoms vary from person to person. An independent course of medication has to be selected for each patient. Treatment usually involves oral and topical medicines in combination. Oral antibiotics combined with a topical antibiotic cream often helps bring the condition under control.
Treatment for Rosacea
Laser treatment may be used when visible blood vessels or extensive redness have to be removed. Heat from the laser targets the tiny blood vessels, disintegrating them. The severity of redness or visible blood vessels determines how many laser sitting are required. Surgical treatment is also used in some cases, to remove the excessive tissue that causes bumps on the nose and cheeks.
The long-term use of oral antibiotics potentially increases the risk of adverse reactions hence topical therapy is preferred for long term. This assists to minimize side effects because the amount of medication absorbed into the blood is limited, if any. Your dermatologist is the best person to ascertain that the medication will not cause detrimental side effects in the long run.
Rosacea patients must, as a matter of routine, use mild skin care products, treat the skin gently and always protect from the sun. Each patient has to be vigilant about the triggers that cause increase in their own symptoms and define the lifestyle that suits them best. Smoking, drinking or spicy food, anything that normally causes a flush, might be best avoided or kept in moderation. Emotional stress, hot or cold weather, wind, heavy exercise, hot baths, heated beverages and certain skin-care products are a few more examples of the possible triggers.