A chronic skin disorder that causes inflammation of the skin particularly affecting the "blush" areas of the face, especially cheeks, forehead, nose, chin, and is more common in people who flush easily. It is characterized by frequent flushing, irregular redness (erythema), inflamed swelling, papules and pustules. Rosacea is sometimes mistaken for rosy cheeks, skin sensitivity, sunburn, or even acne. Unlike acne vulgaris, rosacea does not have blackheads, is uncommon in children, and tends to be more frequent in women but more severe in men. It is also less frequent in people with dark skin. Rosacea generally lasts for years, and if left untreated, tends to worsen over time.
Types of Rosacea
Erythematotelangiectatic rosacea: Redness, flushing, visible blood vessels.
Papulopustular rosacea: Redness, swelling, and acne-like breakouts.
Phymatous rosacea: Thickened skin with a bumpy texture.
Ocular rosacea: Reddened and irritated eyes, eyelids may be swollen, leaving them to resemble a sty.
What are the Symptoms / Signs?
The basic process seems to involve dilation of the small blood vessels of the face.
What are the causes?
Health researchers notice that a variety of triggers such as alcohol consumption, spicy foods, certain medications, smoking, as well as climatic changes like strong winds, extended UV exposure and heat, are known to cause rosacea to flare. Emotional factors such as stress, fear, anxiety, or embarrassment may also produce blushing and aggravate rosacea.
Studies show that other factors like genetics play a part so it is possible to inherit the genes for rosacea. The body’s immunity may also play a role as scientists found that most people with acne-like rosacea react to a bacterium called bacillus oleronius. This reaction causes their immune system to overreact. People with rosacea are also found to have large numbers of demodex a mite that commonly lives on everyone’s skin, especially on the nose and cheeks. However, some people who do not have rosacea also have large numbers of this mite on their skin. Additionally, dermatologists suggest that abnormalities in the blood vessels of the face can cause the flushing, persistent redness, and visible blood vessels. But what is causing the inflammation of the blood vessels is still unknown.
To diagnose rosacea, your dermatologist will examine your skin and your eyes.
Your dermatologist may also want to make sure you don’t have another medical condition which may resemble rosacea. Although there is no cure for rosacea, there are however treatments available to help reduce or eliminate signs of rosacea, ease any discomfort and prevent rosacea from worsening.
While certain medication or laser treatment can help reduce or clear signs of rosacea, your everyday habits may cause a new flare-up. Consider the following:
Many things you do can cause rosacea to flare. Common triggers include becoming overheated, having cold wind blowing on your face, and eating spicy foods. These may or may not cause your rosacea to flare as everyone has different triggers.
Rosacea sufferers often find that their skin is quite sensitive to the sun. Protect your skin from the sun by applying a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF 30 (or higher) every day. Avoid the midday sun and seek shade and wear protective clothing as much as possible.
Many skincare products can irritate skin with rosacea. Avoid skincare habits like scrubbing and consider switching to milder skincare products that are gentle on the skin.
These help reduce inflammation and redness and are applied to the skin either once or twice a day. They are commonly used in combination with some oral medications. Antibiotics like metronidazole, tretinoin, benzoyl peroxide, and azelaic acid are examples of commonly prescribed topical medications.
Research studies show that between 70 to 80% of patients have experienced noticeably less rosacea with the use of azelaic acid. You may feel some tingling or burning at first but this tends to go away with continued usage. If it persists, stop using and seek help from your dermatologist. Another possible side effect is skin lightening. Be sure to tell your dermatologist immediately if it happens.
Research shows that it can effectively reduce both the redness and the acne-like breakouts. With metronidazole, some patients are able to stop application and keep the results they gained. Possible side effects of using metronidazole gel or cream include itching, stinging, irritated skin, or dryness where you apply the medication.
Sodium Sulfacetamide and Sulfur:
These ingredients are considered safe for treating acne-like breakouts and surrounding redness. They are available in over-the-counter treatments such as a cleanser. Seek professional opinion if you have kidney disease, are sensitive to sulfur, pregnant or planning to become pregnant.
In research findings, patients typically see a 65 to 78% improvement in 6 to 8 weeks.
Possible common side effects include itching, dryness, temporary redness, or irritated skin. These tend to decrease as you use the medication.
A form of vitamin A that can though can irritate the skin, it can also help you prevent flare-ups, reduce signs of aging. This option may not be suitable for everyone so check with your medical professional if retinoid is right for you.
Prescribed for their anti-inflammatory properties, oral antibiotics such as tetracycline, minocycline, and erythromycin tend to give faster results than topical ones. Research studies show most patients having noticeably fewer acne-like breakouts within one month. Once under control, another treatment such as low-dose doxycycline will be recommended to maintain results to prevent antibiotic resistance.
Although approved to treat severe acne or inflammatory rosacea and shown to reduce the redness and acne-like breakouts, isotretinoin is a powerful drug that inhibits the production of oil by the sebaceous glands. Side effects may be severe such as birth defects so it’s not an option for every patient.
Laser or light therapy
Laser treatment options such as pulsed dye laser and Intense Pulse Light (IPL) can be useful in treating visible blood vessels of rosacea and reducing persistent redness. For rhinophyma, the Carbon Dioxide Laser can be used to reduce the thickness of the skin. Side effects can sometimes include bruising, crusting of the skin, swelling, tenderness, and, very rarely, infection. But these complications will usually disappear within a few weeks. To achieve optimum results, several treatment sessions may be required.