Rosacea: causes, symptoms, and treatments

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Rosacea: causes, symptoms, and treatments
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Rosy cheeks or a natural blush can look aesthetically pleasing. When pimples, skin irritation, and spider veins accompany it then that is a whole new and different story.

Rosacea is a skin condition that is common to individuals of Celtic and European lineage but can also affect people of Asian descent.

Some famous international artists, celebrities and personalities that suffer from rosacea include Princess Diana, Prince William, Bill Clinton, Cameron Diaz, Renee Zellweger, Sam Smith and Rembrandt.

If you have noticed redness on your skin that would not go away, this may be a hint of rosacea. This skin impurity is more obvious on the faces of persons with fair skin. Reports on rosacea experienced by people with darker skin is less, most probably because it is not easily detected as the colour of the skin masks its existence.

You may have stumbled on this article in an attempt to search for more information or a cure to rosacea. You are on the right track, as this piece is dedicated solely to this red-hot topic.

What is Rosacea?

Rosacea is a chronic condition characterized by inflammation on the skin. The surface of the skin may feel hot, prickly, or itchy, coupled with a flush of redness, and sometimes the appearance of pustular acne. Rosacea normally develops in people over the age of 30 and is more common in women than men.

What are the causes of Rosacea?

There are several causes of Rosacea. The most popular instigators of this condition are:

  • Alcohol
  • Food
  • Disorders in the Immune System
  • Genetics
  • Ultraviolet Light

Alcohol. Excessive consumption of alcohol over a long period of time can result to developing phymatous, or excess tissue, which is one of the primary symptoms of rosacea. Alcoholic beverages more often than not cause the face of a drinker to redden that may eventually lead to trigger a flare-up of rosacea.

Food. Some patients have developed rosacea after eating certain foods. The most notable commonality among all reported food triggers is spicy food.

Disorders in the Immune System. The immune system is responsible for protecting the body from diseases. It develops antibodies that attack and kill bad bacteria that cause different kinds of sickness. However, there are times when the body’s immune system overreact and excessively produce these antibodies. This overproduction often leads to the cells’ attack on the body, when it should be protecting it. Rosacea can be a result of this abnormal occurrence.

Genetics. Some studies have shown that rosacea can be passed on through generations of families that have a history of the skin condition. However, there is no concrete evidence that the illness is formed by genetic incompatibility.

Ultraviolet Light. Exposure to the sun’s UV rays can cause extensive damage to the skin. The ultraviolet light can still get through the clouds during overcast days. When the skin remains unprotected, the UV light can bring damage to the skin’s capillaries, causing it to redden and develop spider veins, which is a symptom of rosacea.

What are the symptoms of Rosacea?

Rosacea skin

There are various symptoms of rosacea. A few of these symptoms may sometimes be similar to, but should not be confused with acne.

  • Blemishes
  • Burning or stinging of skin
  • Dry skin
  • Eye redness
  • Pimples (papules and pustules)
  • Redness of face
  • Red patches on the face (plaques)
  • Skin thickening and sensitivities
  • Spider veins
  • Strawberry nose

The most obvious sign that a person is suffering from rosacea is the face’s reddish colour. This may be prominent on the chin, cheeks, forehead, and nose. The face may experience an occasional that may immediately disappear. This may not be a rosacea symptom. Stubborn redness that remains and flares up when exposed to further triggers is a typical onset of rosacea.

As mentioned, rosacea can be misdiagnosed as acne due to hard and soft pimples that can sometimes surface on the skin along with other symptoms. Some patients have mistakenly used treatment for acne on their skin that is plagued with rosacea and ended up making matters worse as the treatment caused dryness and irritation to the skin. It is best have a dermatologist check on the skin’s condition for it to be diagnosed and treated accurately.

Strawberry nose or rhinophyma is another symptom of rosacea. This causes the skin on the nose to swell and thicken, giving it a reddish hue and a shape that is similar to a strawberry. Pustular pimples usually cause this to occur.

Another cause of rosacea is damaged blood vessels that surface on the epidermis looking like spiders, hence the earning the name spider veins. This may sometimes appear in bluish or purplish colour.

In addition, it is important to note that rosacea does not only affect the skin but also the eyes. Rosacea can be identified when the eyes are unusually red and this redness is accompanied by itching and swelling.

What are Rosacea triggers that should be avoided?

The following are probable rosacea triggers that should be avoided:

  • Alcohol
  • Cold weather
  • Coffee and tea
  • Heat
  • Some cosmetics and medications
  • Stress
  • Sun exposure

Sun exposure

For women, one trigger that cannot be avoided is menopause.

Is Rosacea contagious?

Fortunately, this skin condition is not contagious.

Which parts of the body does Rosacea affect?

Rosacea commonly affects certain parts of the face such as the cheeks, eyes, forehead, chin, nose, and ears. Facial pores may be larger when affected with rosacea. Rosacea is not only reserved to the face and may also develop in other parts of the body.

What are the types of Rosacea?

There are several types of Rosacea. The table below outlines the definition and possible treatments for each kind for easier reference.

TYPE OR ROSACEAINDICATIONS
Erythmatoteangiectatic rosaceaRedness and the appearance of spider veins on the cheeks, forehead, and lower part of the nose.
Ocular rosaceaBlurry eyesight, bloodshot eyes, itchiness, watery eyes, and sensitivity to light.
Papulopustular rosaceaHard pimples that feel like burning or stinging on the skin.
Phymatous rosaceaSkin thickening that is generally found on the nose. Sometimes this may also develop in the other parts of the face, such as the cheeks, ears, and forehead. Spider veins may also be present in these areas.

Is there a permanent cure for Rosacea?

A permanent cure for rosacea, sadly, has not been found. Symptoms may, however, be controlled and managed by dermatological treatments and medications. The type of treatment will depend on the kind of rosacea that a patient has. When the condition responds positively to a certain treatment and is successfully removed, patients should make changes in their lifestyle that would improve the skin’s health.

What are the treatments available for Rosacea?

Rosacea skin before-after

Rosacea treatments may vary on the kind of skin condition that a patient has. Likewise, the response to treatment may differ from person to person. Administration of medications and clinical procedures must be under the supervision of a medical professional.

Below are the treatments that can be done to eliminate rosacea:

SYMPTOMSTREATMENTS
Erythmatoteangiectatic rosacea
  • Brimonidine (Topical Gel)
  • Clarithromycin
  • Oxymetazoline hydrochloride (Topical cream)
  • Broad Band Light (BBL)
  • Intense Pulsed Light (IPL)
  • Pulse Dye Laser
Ocular rosacea
  • Cyclosporine (Eye drop or oral medication)
  • Eye lubricants (Artificial tears)
  • Metronidazole (Topical Gel)
  • Steroids (Topical ointment)
  • Tetracycline (Oral medication)
Papulopustular rosacea
  • Azelaic Acid (Topical Gel)
  • Benzoyl Peroxide (Topical Gel)
  • Isotretinoin (Oral medication)
  • Ivermectin (Topical cream)
  • Metronidazole (Topical Gel)
Phymatous rosacea
  • Carbon Dioxide (CO2) Laser Surgery
  • Electrosurgery

When should I consult a doctor?

Individuals should seek a doctor’s advice when either of the symptoms is present on the face for an extensive amount of time. Do not stall treatment on its onset as this may only aggravate the symptoms and lead to a more severe condition. Self-medication is also a big mistake as, without the proper guidance of a health professional, the medications can only flare up rosacea.