Rosacea is a skin condition without a precise known cause. Facial skin can become red when blood vessels near the outer layer of skin expand more easily than normal. This can be caused by a number of external factors related to your lifestyle and environment, called rosacea triggers.
Rosacea is also characterised by small bumps on the face which resemble acne. Again, the exact process which causes this is unknown, but possible answers include:
There is no evidence to suggest that rosacea is contagious. Though antibiotics are often effective in relieving symptoms, this is not because rosacea relies on bacteria. Instead, it is due to the anti-inflammatory properties of antibiotic drugs.
There is some evidence which points to rosacea being hereditary – two in five people with rosacea also have a close relative who exhibit the same symptoms. No scientific research has proven the genetic link, though a recent study has suggested that genetic and environmental factors contribute an equal amount to whether or not an individual will develop rosacea.
Some teenagers and young adults experience redness of the cheeks, forehead or nose that goes beyond what is normal for regular acne. When acne treatments are ineffective or cause irritation, it might be a case of “prerosacea”.
Once these symptoms are recognised, young people can learn to avoid lifestyle choices and environmental factors which might trigger rosacea in future. Anyone exhibiting these symptoms should speak with a dermatologist for this reason.
There is no reliable self-diagnosis for rosacea. A doctor must make this assessment after considering your medical history and present symptoms. You should disclose to your GP any abnormalities you have noticed around the face – this includes any redness, swelling, itching, or other relevant symptoms.
Without treatment, rosacea will tend to worsen with time. It remains impossible to accurately predict how a particular case will progress, but the correct medication and lifestyle changes have shown to be reliable at suppressing rosacea symptoms in the long term.
There is currently no cure for rosacea, so it is a chronic skin disorder. Patients will experience recurrences and remissions; however, these relapses will become less frequent and severe in the long term following sustained treatment and lifestyle changes.
There are no specialists who are uniquely devoted to rosacea. You will need to see a dermatologist for symptoms of the skin, or possibly an ophthalmologist if symptoms are affecting your eyes. Contact us and we will help you find the right dermatologist for you.
Children very rarely exhibit rosacea, though some such cases do exist. As it often affects multiple people within a family, people with rosacea should be wary of prerosacea symptoms in their children. If these signs are diagnosed early, the appropriate lifestyle changes can be made to prevent the condition from developing fully.
Common symptoms of rosacea include burning, stinging and itching sensations. This can extend to facial swelling, which can be present from the onset of the disorder. This is most often noticed in the cheeks. Some patients exhibit a slightly enlarged nose as a result of this swelling.
Many patients do experience symmetrical symptoms, but others will have symptoms which vary in severity over different sections of skin. In some cases, rosacea seems to begin at one point of the face and spread from there.
Though rosacea and acne occur independently, some patients will experience both at the same time. Whereas rosacea is related to the blood vessels just underneath the skin, acne is caused by pores on the surface of the skin being blocked. Unlike rosacea, acne also commonly affects areas outside the face, including the back and shoulders. Because these are two different conditions, distinct treatments will be required for each. Some acne treatments have been shown to cause rosacea to worsen. For this reason, special discretion must be taken when attempting to treat both disorders at once.
Dry skin will occur in about half of all cases of rosacea. When other symptoms go into remission, skin will often stop flaking as well. If you experience dry skin, apply a moisturiser along with your daily routine of rosacea medication. Different medications will have different moisturising effects, so you should ensure with a dermatologist that yours is appropriate for your skin type.
Though many patients experience dry skin, oily skin is not an abnormal symptom. Again, you should ensure that your medication is appropriate for your skin type.
There is no proven connection between rosacea and skin cancer. However, those with rosacea often have quite light skin, to begin with, and so are already the most susceptible to cancer caused by ultraviolet radiation.
This is very common – it is more likely that these visible blood vessels were always present, but were less visible whilst rosacea was causing your skin to flush. These veins can either be covered with makeup, or removed with laser treatment.
Rosacea has been known to sometimes appear on the neck, chest or back. However, this is quite uncommon.
Women going through menopause often experience hot flushes. These have been known to trigger rosacea, and in some cases cause an initial onset.
Rosacea around the eyes can cause burning, itching or stinging of the eyes, as well as a bloodshot appearance. This is called ocular rosacea. It can also cause styes to develop around the eyelid. If untreated, ocular rosacea can cause vision problems due to the irritation of the cornea.
If you notice symptoms of ocular rosacea, consider consulting an ophthalmologist or dermatologist. They will advise the appropriate treatment for the eyes and help prevent symptoms from spreading to the skin.
Rosacea triggers can include:
The time that rosacea takes to flare up will vary depending on the type of trigger and on the patient. Try to notice how long the flare-up takes so that you have an estimate for future triggers.
Allergic reactions can manifest in a flushing of the skin, which can then trigger rosacea to flare up. You should be aware of what causes you allergic reactions so that you can avoid rosacea relapses as well.
Exercise results in flushing and heat in the face, and so can trigger rosacea. If a work-out is managed correctly, the risk of a flare-up can be reduced. Techniques include:
Rosacea is not a bacterial disorder. However, antibiotics also have anti-inflammatory effects, which have shown to be useful for treating rosacea episodes.
With the types of antibiotics that you will be prescribed for rosacea, only a very small amount will enter the bloodstream. Therefore, there is no significant risk of the medication leading to a bacterial resistance elsewhere in the body.
Like many skin disorders, rosacea involves recurrences and remissions. Antibiotics have been shown both to increase the rate of remission and to prevent recurrences when used consistently in the long term. Therefore, it is advised to continue your treatment in order to prevent flare-ups from recurring.
Antibiotic creams will maintain their effectiveness in the long term.
Dermatologists recommend a gentle yet thorough daily cleaning routine for patients with rosacea. Soft soap and washcloths should be used – try to avoid anything coarse or abrasive. Give the face a lukewarm rinse. Gently blot the face with a towel to dry it.
The face should be completely dry before the antibiotic cream is applied. The medication should be allowed a further ten minutes to take affect before the use of any other skin care or cosmetic products.
People with rosacea are likely to have sensitive skin, and so should avoid any creams that might cause burning or irritation.
More specifically, common ingredients that might cause irritation include alcohol, peppermint, menthol, eucalyptus oil, salicylic acid and witch hazel.
Exposure to the sun may trigger rosacea flare-ups, so it is important to use sunscreens with SPF of 15 or higher, which will protect against the full range of ultraviolet radiation. If common sunscreens cause you skin irritation, alternatives include physical blocks which use zinc or titanium dioxide.
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