Rosacea : A Chronic Skin Disease

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Rosacea is a chronic, inflammatory skin condition that most often affects the face. Rosacea worsens with time if left untreated. It is often mistaken for acne, eczema, or a Skin Allergy.

  • Rosacea’s marks are small, red, pus-filled bumps on the skin that are present during flare-ups.
  • Typically, rosacea affects only skin on your nose, cheeks, and forehead
  • Flare-ups often occur in cycles. This means that the symptoms will be experienced for weeks or months at a time, the symptoms will go away, and then they will return.
  • It is more common among fair skinned people and can affect an estimate of 14 million Americans.

There may be 4 subtypes of rosacea, which may include:

  • Subtype one, known as erythematotelangiectatic rosacea (ETR), is associated with facial redness, flushing, and visible blood vessels.
  • Subtype two, papulopustular (or acne) rosacea, is associated with acne-like breakouts and often affects middle-aged women.
  • Subtype three, known as rhinophyma, is a rare form that is associated with thickening of the skin of the nose. It usually affects men and is often accompanied by another subtype of rosacea.
  • Subtype four is ocular rosacea, and its symptoms are centred on the eye area.

Causes of Rosacea:

The causes of rosacea may not be fully understood, but certain causes may include:

  • Abnormalities in facial blood vesselsSkin specialists (dermatologists) suggest that abnormalities in the blood vessels of the face cause the flushing, persistent redness, and visible blood vessels. But the cause of inflammation is not known.
  • Demodex folliculorum (microscopic mite) – Demodex folliculorum lives on human skin and usually causes no problems. However, patients with rosacea have much higher numbers of these mites than others do. But the affect of this mite on rosacea is not known.
  • pylori bacteriaH. pylori, a bacteria found in the gut, stimulates the production of bradykinin, a protein known to cause blood vessels to dilate. This may contribute to the formation of rosacea.

Risk factors of rosacea:

Certain risk factors of rosacea may include:

  • Light skin colour: It is developed at much higher percentage in fair skinned people.
  • Family history: It may be linked to genetics. Persons with close relative with rosacea have high risk of rosacea.
  • It is more common to people between the age of 30 to 50.
  • Lifestyle: Certain lifestyle may contribute a higher risk to rosacea such as:
  • Eating spicy foods
  • Drinking alcoholic beverages
  • Stress, anxiety etc
  • Hypertension

Symptoms of rosacea:

Signs of rosacea ETR:

Signs of acne rosacea:

  • Acne-like breakouts and very red skin
  • Oily skin
  • Sensitive skin
  • Broken blood vessels that are visible
  • Raised patches of skin

Signs of thickening skin:

  • Bumpy skin texture
  • Thick skin on nose
  • Thick skin on chin, forehead, cheeks, and ears
  • Large pores
  • Visible broken blood vessels

Signs of ocular rosacea:

  • Bloodshot and watery eyes
  • Eyes that feel gritty
  • Burning or stinging sensation in the eyes
  • Dry, itchy eyes
  • Eyes that are sensitive to light
  • Cysts on eyes
  • Diminished vision
  • Broken blood vessels on eyelids

Diagnosis of Rosacea:

  • There is no clinical test for rosacea. It is usually done by checking the skin and asking for the triggers of symptoms.
  • A enlarged blood vessel usually differs rosacea from other skin problems.
  • As rosacea only exists in face, any problem in ear or scalp skin may indicate a different problem.

Treatment of rosacea:

There is no cure for rosacea. But there are some medication which can lessen the symptoms and calm the blood vessels, which may include:

  • Topical medications – These help reduce inflammation and redness and are applied to the skin either once or twice a day. They are commonly used in combination with some oral medications.
  • Oral antibiotics – For the treatment of rosacea, oral antibiotics are prescribed more for their anti-inflammatory properties. Oral antibiotics tend to give faster results than topical ones.
  • Isotretinoin (Accutane) – this oral medication is sometimes used for severe cases of inflammatory rosacea if other treatments have not worked.
  • Blephamide – A specific type of steroid eye drop which is sometimes prescribed for patients with ocular rosacea (eye symptoms).
  • Tetracycline – These are sometimes prescribed for patients with symptoms of ocular rosacea. This helps improve dryness, itching, blurred vision and photosensitivity (sensitivity to light).

In some severe case plastic surgery and laser treatment can also be prescribed, which can improve the condition for a patient to some extent.

Living in a healthy lifestyle, and preventing any such condition which can trigger rosacea may be the best method to live with rosacea and treat them.

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