Rosacea is a chronic inflammatory skin condition which primarily affects the face, commonly involving the nose and cheeks. Initially it presents as facial flushing then gradually red pimples appear. Over time, small broken blood vessels become visible and the skin thickens especially over the nose which becomes more bulbous (rhinophyma). Rosacea may also affect the eyes and cause conjunctivitis and/or blepharitis. Rosacea is more common in adults, women and fair skinned people. It is also referred to as acne rosacea. It is not contagious and is a progressive disease.
Rosacea, based on the characteristic appearance, is categorized into four types.
- Erythematotelangiectatic rosacea
- Papulopustular rosacea
- Phymatous rosacea
- Ocular rosacea
The exact cause is uncertain but rosacea is often triggered by hot or spicy foods, alcoholic drinks, sun exposure, strenuous exercise, stress as well as very hot or cold temperatures.
Signs and Symptoms
- It most commonly affects the central part of the face – chin, cheeks, nose and central forehead.
- The most common symptom is frequent blushing or flushing (redness) of the skin.
- Small red pimples and pus filled bumps known as papules or pustules may appear.
- Small blood vessels across the nose and cheeks are dilated. The area of the skin may be swollen warm and red.
- Other symptoms may include burning sensation, fluid under the skin (oedema), and dry appearance of the skin.
Dermatologists diagnose the condition by collecting a thorough medical history and by observation of the lesions appearing on the skin.
Your dermatologist will suggest some practices to avoid exposure to triggers and prescribe treatment for the lesions.
Medications – Medicines used to treat rosacea include antibiotics. These may be applied topically or taken orally. Antibiotic cream or gel called metronidazole (Rosex gel or cream) can be applied to the skin. Tretinoin, benzoyl peroxide, and azelaic acid (Finacea cream) are commonly prescribed topical medications. Isotretinoin may also be recommended in certain cases. Oral antibiotics tend to give faster results than topical treatments and include tetracycline, minocycline and erythromycin.
Laser and IPL treatment – Laser treatment is recommended in severe cases. Dilated blood vessels are treated with lasers. In this form of treatment, pulsed dye laser is used. Beams of light with a specific wavelength target blood vessels under the skin. The energy of the lasers produces heat that damages the lining of the blood vessels and seals them. This reduces the redness and visible vessels on the skin surface.
Cosmetic surgery and plastic surgery– Surgical techniques may be used to correct the irregularities of the nose.
- Practicing some healthy tips may help you prevent rosacea.
- Avoid spicy foods
- Avoid alcohol
- Do not rub or irritate the skin
- Use moisturizers and sunscreen
- Avoid sun exposure
- Avoid temperature extremes of hot and cold
- Avoid stress