What is Rosacea?
Rosacea is a chronic medical condition of the face characterized by erythema (redness). Pimples may also sometimes appear. The neck and upper chest may also be affected. Rosacea is usually a harmless cosmetic condition affecting middle aged and older people. It can however become serious if the eyes are affected.
Causes of Rosacea
- No one single factor is responsible for the onset of Rosacea. It is caused by a combination of genetic disposition and environmental factors.
- A few researches have established a link between mites that survive in facial hair follicles and development of Rosacea.
- A bacterium named Helicobacter pylori which reside underneath the mucus layer near the stomach and causes peptic ulcers and gastritis has also been linked with Rosacea.
- Various triggers that cause flushing episodes may play a part in Rosacea’s development.
- Exposure to extreme temperatures
- Severe sunburn
- Heat from sunlight
- Stress and anxiety
- Cold wind
- Certain food and beverages such as those containing alcohol, caffeine. Foods containing high levels of histamines such as aged cheeses, cured pork products, yoghurt
- A few medications and topical irritants such as wrinkle and acne treatments can trigger off Rosacea. Chemical peels, microdermabrasion, isotretinoin, tretinoin, benzoyl peroxide can also cause Rosacea. The use of nasal and topical steroids can also induce Rosacea if they are stopped abruptly.
Diagnosis of Rosacea
Diagnosis for Rosacea is made clinically. Acne is commonly confused with Rosacea but can be distinguished by age, presence of comedones and absence of flushing.
Medication for Rosacea
Dermatologists may prescribe topical antibiotics like metronidazole gel or cream, clindamycin solution, lotion or gel for 5-8 weeks for a significant response. In case topical treatments fail, oral antibiotics may be prescribed. The common anti bitocs given for Rosacea include tetracycline, erythromycin, doxycycline and minocycline. Isotretinoine can be prescribed for severe cases of Rosacea but because it causes adverse side effects, pregnant women should avoid this.
Surgery for Rosacea
Laser surgery and electrosurgery can be used to treat rhinophyma and redness. A yellow light laser can be used to treat skin lesions.
Prevention of Rosacea
The best way to prevent Rosacea is to avoid the various triggers. Avoid going out in bright sunlight. Wear protective hats and dress appropriately while out in the sun. Make a daily habit of using a sunscreen with a SPF of 15 or higher. Avoid subjecting yourself to extremities of temperature. Avoid using harsh chemicals on the face and on sensitive skin.
- The nose, chin, cheeks and sometimes the entire face takes on a rosy hue.
- The nose may become enlarged
- Inflammatory red bumps called paules or pus filled bumps called pustules may be present.
- There is a tendency for the person to flush easily while experiencing a stinging or burning sensation.
- In about half the cases of rosacea, the eyes are affected. The symptoms for this may include a burning sensation and the feeling that some foreign body is lodged in the eye. Sometimes, the eyelids may swell but this condition does not affect the vision.
Treatment for Rosacea
Treatment for Rosacea aims to improve cosmetic appearance of the face and keeping the condition under control.
Classification of Rosacea
There are 4 kinds of rosacea based on their symptoms:
- Erythematotelangiectatic Rosacea is a condition characterized by permanent redness of the face and a tendency to flush easily. Small blood vessels can be commonly visible just under the surface of the skin. The person suffering from this kind of Rosacea can have itching or burning sensation.
- Papulopustular Rosacea is characterized by some permanent redness and a few red bumps (papules) or pus filled bumps (pustules) on the face which typically last for a few days. This condition is easily confused with acne.
- Phymatous Rosacea is commonly associated with rhinophyma (swelling or enlargement of the nose with thick knobby bumps). The symptoms for this include thickened skin and a few irregular surface enlarged nodulrd. This kind of rosacea can also affect the forehead, chin, cheeks, ears and eyelids. Visibly small blood vessels can be present near the skin surface.
- Ocular Rosacea is a type of Rosacea where red, irritated and dry eyes and eyelids can be observed. The affected person may complain of burning and itching.