Rosacea is a skin condition commonly mistaken for acne or sunburn, since it produces symptoms that are similar. The most common signs of rosacea are red areas on the face, blemishes that resemble pimples and areas that appear to have burst capillaries. Early symptoms may be as mild as a tendency for the face to flush easily. As the condition progresses, flushing typically becomes a more extensive problem, with bouts coming on more rapidly and frequently and lasting longer. Eventually this red “blush” appearance of the face may become permanent.
Who suffers from rosacea?
This skin condition is quite common and can occur in people of any age. However, it most commonly affects people in their 30s and 40s and children only on very rare occasions. Fair-skinned individuals are more likely to suffer from rosacea than those who have naturally darker skin tones.
Although the entire face, including ears and neck can be affected by rosacea, it is far more common for the reddened areas to be limited to the cheeks and nose. It forms a loose “butterfly” pattern that is actually a helpful sign for diagnosing rosacea, since sufferers may simply believe that they blush easily or that they are very prone to sunburn.
Another sign that rosacea may be present is the appearance of “burst capillaries” on the skin. In fact, these are not tiny blood vessels that have broken open, but are blood vessels that are dilating or getting wider. Known as telangiectases, these can be seen just below the surface of the skin, where they appear like a fine network.
What causes rosacea?
Unfortunately, skin researchers have yet to identify a definitive cause. What has been discovered, so far, is that certain behaviour tends to make the condition worse once it appears. Drinking alcohol and eating spicy foods can cause rosacea sufferers to have an outbreak of flushing, bumps, or “burst” capillaries. Those who are already experiencing an outbreak may find that it worsens.
Hot drinks can also aggravate the condition, as can sun damage. Rosacea sufferers are typically instructed to avoid these as much as possible and to use a strong sunscreen when exposure to the sun is unavoidable. This can be problematic, however, because rosacea patients frequently find that their skin is sensitive to the ingredients used in many sunscreens and even some moisturising lotions.
Relief from the condition can be achieved by taking the antibiotic tetracycline orally, but most sufferers find that the remission is temporary and must be renewed with periodic low doses of the drug. In some cases, the tetracycline can be delivered topically. Metronidazole, another antibiotic, can also be effective, but this can take months to produce results.
Other drug-based treatments are available, but patients should be aware that none of them constitutes a complete and final cure for the condition. Instead, they represent ways to minimise the symptoms, so that they will be less frequent and noticeable.
For further information on rosacea treatments please phone Therapie Clinic on 1890 650 750.