Overview of Rosacea
Rosacea is a chronic inflammatory skin condition that usually affects the face. People may mistake rosacea for acne, eczema, or an allergic skin reaction.
The main symptoms are facial flushing, irritated skin, and pimples. Other symptoms include blushing easily and eye problems.
Types of rosacea
The four types of rosacea are:
- Subtype one, known as erythematotelangiectatic rosacea (ETR), is associated with facial redness, flushing, and visible blood vessels.
- Subtype two, papulopustular (or acne), is associated with acne-like breakouts, and often affects middle-aged women.
- Subtype three, known as rhinophyma, is a rare form associated with thickening of the skin on your nose. It usually affects men and is often accompanied by another subtype of rosacea.
- Subtype four is known as ocular rosacea, and its symptoms are centred on the eye area.
Symptoms of rosacea
Signs and symptoms can vary greatly from person to person. It is more normal in individuals with a light complexion.
Rosacea symptoms are different between each subtype.
Signs of rosacea ETR:
- Flushing and redness in the centre of your face
- Visibly broken blood vessels
- Swollen skin
- Sensitive skin
- Stinging and burning skin
- Dry, rough, and scaly skin
Signs of acne rosacea:
- Acne-like breakouts and very red skin
- Oily skin
- Sensitive skin
- Broken blood vessels that are visible
- Raised patches of skin
The cause of rosacea is unknown, but it can be due to a combination of genetic and environmental factors. It is not caused by poor hygiene.
Several factors can trigger flare-ups, including:
- Hot drinks and spicy foods
- Red wine and other alcoholic beverages
- Extreme temperature
- Sunlight or wind
- Medicines that dilate blood vessels, including some blood pressure medications.
- Various beauty products
There is no clinical test for rosacea. A doctor can make a diagnosis after examining the person’s skin and asking about their symptoms and triggers. The presence of enlarged blood vessels will help the doctor distinguish it from other skin conditions.
The presence of a rash on the scalp or ears usually indicates a different or coexisting diagnosis. Signs and symptoms occur mainly in the face.
Early diagnosis and prompt treatment can significantly reduce the risk of progression. If the doctor suspects that there may be an underlying medical condition, such as lupus, they may order blood tests or refer the person to a dermatologist.
Some factors will make you more likely to develop rosacea than others. It often develops in people between the ages of 30 and 50. It is also more common in people who are fair-skinned and have blond hair and blue eyes.
There are also genetic links to rosacea. You are more likely to develop, if you have a family history of the condition or if you have Celtic or Scandinavian ancestors. Women are also more likely to develop the condition than men. However, men who develop the condition often have more severe symptoms.
Although there is currently no cure, various treatments can relieve the symptoms of this disease.
Without treatment, the symptoms may get worse over time.
A combination of medications and lifestyle changes generally gives the best results. The following sections look at some possible treatment options for rosacea.
Skin creams can help reduce inflammation and skin discolouration. Doctors may recommend using them once or twice per day. Examples include topical antibiotics, tretinoin, benzoyl peroxide, and azelaic acid.
A doctor may also prescribe camouflage creams that mask blemishes on the skin.
Eye drops can relieve eye symptoms, which occur in ocular rosacea.
For example, a doctor may recommend a type of steroid eye drop called blephamide. They may prescribe this for a few days to a week, followed by a break or tapered use.
Oral antibiotics can have anti-inflammatory effects. They tend to give faster results than topical ones. Examples include tetracycline, minocycline, and erythromycin.
Tetracyclines are antibiotics that can help with eye symptoms. Doxycycline helps improve dryness, itching, blurred vision, and sensitivity to light in people with ocular rosacea.
Isotretinoin (Accutane) is an oral medication that people use in severe cases of rosacea (if other treatments have not worked). This is a powerful drug that prevents the skin from making oil. The side effects can be severe.
This medication is not helpful for people with erythematotelangiectatic rosacea.
Since the cause is unknown, the condition cannot be prevented. However, rosacea patients can improve their chances of maintaining calm by identifying and avoiding lifestyle and environmental factors that worsen individual cases. Include some stimuli:
- Sun/wind exposure.
- Emotional stress.
- Hot/cold weather.
- Heavy exercises.
- Alcohol consumption.
- Hot baths/drinks.