Rosacea is a common but often misunderstood condition that is estimated to affect more than 45 million people worldwide. Bill Clinton and Princess Diana have been among the sufferers of this chronic (life-long) disease. People in their 30s to 50s are most likely to first see signs of rosacea. Women are more likely to get rosacea, but it affects men more severely. It affects fair-skinned people of mostly north-western European descent and has been nicknamed the ‘curse of the Celts’ by some in Ireland.
Perioral dermatitis is a variant of rosacea that causes a rash of red bumps to develop around the mouth and is most often seen in young women. Unlike rosacea, however, perioral dermatitis can be cured.
The non-contagious disorder often begins with a tendency to blush or flush more easily than other people, particularly on the central face and across the cheeks, nose or forehead. It can also affect the neck and chest. The redness slowly spreads beyond the nose and cheeks to the forehead and chin.
As rosacea progresses, other symptoms can develop such as semi-permanent erythema, telangiectasia (dilation of superficial blood vessels on the face), red domed papules (small bumps) and pustules, red gritty eyes, burning and stinging sensations, and in some advanced cases, a red lobulated nose (rhinophyma). The disorder can be confused and co-exist with acne vulgaris and/or seborrheic dermatitis.
Since rosacea appears on a person’s face, it is readily noticed and can sometimes be mistaken for a sign of a drinking problem. Sufferers have expressed having difficulty at work, in their marriage, or an unwillingness to date or meet new people. These experiences may lead to embarrassment and worry, a low self-image, anxiety or depression.
Rosacea is a disease that can get worse over time and may even cause disfigurement. With early diagnosis and effective treatment, you can control symptoms and stop the progression of the disease.
Scientists have identified four major subtypes from among the many different signs and symptoms of rosacea. Each subtype requires different treatment, and you may have more than one of these subtypes of rosacea at one time.
What Causes It?
While there is no clinically proven cause or spectrum of causes for rosacea, consuming certain foods and liquids may cause the unwanted symptoms. Exposure to extreme hot or cold or stress may also trigger rosacea symptoms. Doctors suspect rosacea may be the result of a vascular disorder or a microscopic mite known as demodex folliculorum commonly found in the skin. Certain bacteria may also increase gastrin levels which may stimulate skin flushing. Family history may also play a role.
Many everyday things can cause rosacea to flare, including sunlight, stress, spicy foods, hot-water bathing or showering. What causes rosacea to flare for you may not trigger a flare-up for another person.
Studies show that effective treatment for rosacea not only reduces the physical signs and symptoms of the disease but improves your overall quality of life. If allowed to worsen over a long period, the symptoms of rosacea become more difficult to treat.
Riverchase dermatologists are trained in proven, cutting-edge procedures to help you feel and look your best. For a rosacea diagnosis, your Riverchase dermatologist examines the skin and eyes and asks questions about your signs and symptoms. Your treatment plan is based on the rosacea subtype, severity, skin type, past treatment success and your preferences.
Your dermatologist will recommend a skincare plan that is customized to help you achieve the best results, but you must follow the plan in order for it to be effective. Skin care plays an important role in keeping rosacea under control, so avoid harsh skin care regimes that can make rosacea worse. Wearing sunscreen every day can help protect against new breakouts.
Often, a combination of treatments may produce optimal results. Common treatments for the skin include topical creams or lotions, sunscreen, emollients to repair the skin, laser and other light treatments and antibiotics.
Thickening skin that appears on the nose and other parts of the face can be removed by a dermatologist with lasers, dermabrasion, electrodesiccation, or prescription eye medication (for ocular rosacea).