Rosacea (pronounced “roh-ZAY-sha”) is a chronic and potentially life-disruptive skin disorder primarily of the face, often characterized by redness, swelling, dilated blood vessels, papules and pustules. Worldwide, there are roughly 45 million people with rosacea who suffer from the symptoms associated with the disorder, which include flare-ups and remissions.
Rosacea is primarily found in caucasian people of northwestern European descent, typically between the ages of 30 and 60. It affects both sexes and all ages, but is more common in women. Left untreated, it can worsen over time.
There are four rosacea subtypes:
- Subtype 1 – (facial redness): Erythematotelangiectatic rosacea is characterized by persistent redness in the center of the face, often referred to as the “butterfly region.”
- Subtype 2 – (bumps and pimples): Papulopustular rosacea is characterized bumps (papules) or pimples (pustules) and includes red patches.
- Subtype 3 – (skin thickening): Phymatous rosacea is characterized by thickening of the facial skin and irregular surface nodules. Thickening that causes enlargement of the nose is called rhinophyma.
- Subtype 4 – (eye irritation): Ocular rosacea is characterized by watery or bloodshot eyes, tearing and inflammation of the eyes/eyelids. Itching, burning and a gritty sensation in the eye can be felt.
Most individuals with rosacea have only mild redness and are never formally diagnosed or treated. No single, specific test for rosacea is known. Since the disorder can be confused with other skin conditions, such as acne vulgaris and/or seborrheic dermatitis, it is best to have a physician or trained medical professional confirm a diagnosis.
Avoiding triggers that worsen the condition can help reduce the onset of rosacea, but alone will not normally lead to remission, except in mild cases. Rosacea triggers may include:
- Food and beverages (spicy foods, hot beverages, caffeine, alcohol, etc.)
- Gastrointestinal disorders
- Sunlight/UV exposure
- Emotional stress
- Irritating skin care ingredients like products with alcohol or astringent properties, including some toners, artificial colorants and fragrance and certain types of harsh exfoliating facial scrubs
- Hot showers and heat-inducing activities
Rosacea Treatment Options
Treatment options for rosacea include the following:
- Laser therapies, such as BBL (BroadBand Light) or IPL (Intense Pulsed Light), which help reduce the redness associated with rosacea
- Topical medications, such as Metronidazole, Brimonidine, Doxycycline, Tretinoin (AKA: Retin-A), creams with azelaic acid, and other antibiotics
- Skin care ingredients, such as aloe vera, chamomile, cucumber, honey, oatmeal, thyme and white willow bark, which help soothe and calm the skin
- Hydroxy acid chemical peels with lactic acid, mandelic acid and salicylic may help relieve redness caused by irritation, and reduce the acne-type lesions associated with rosacea.
Famous people with rosacea included Diana, Princess of Wales, and W.C. Fields (a film star in the 1920s and 1930s). Former president Bill Clinton also has rosacea.
There is no cure for rosacea, but with proper skin care and treatments, the symptoms can be controlled.
The original article is at: uwhealth.org