Rosacea is a skin condition, which is quite common, and is characterized by facial redness and also red, small, pus-filled bumps. Middle-aged women with fair skin are more commonly affected by this condition; however, it can affect anyone of any age. If rosacea is not treated on time, then it worsens. Signs and symptoms usually flare up for some weeks to months before diminishing again, and then flaring up again. This cycle goes on. Rosacea can be misdiagnosed, as acne or some other allergic skin reaction/problems etc.
There is no known cure for rosacea. The aim of treatment is controlling and managing its signs and symptoms by medications and surgical procedures.
Causes of Rosacea
The cause behind rosacea is not known. A combination of hereditary and environmental factors is thought to be responsible for it.
Triggering factors which aggravate rosacea by increasing blood circulation to the skin’s surface include:
- Hot beverages/foods.
- Exposure to sun.
- Spicy foods.
- Extreme temperatures.
- Rigorous exercise
- Saunas or hot baths.
- Medications, such as antihypertensives, which dilate the blood vessels.
- Using corticosteroids.
Risk Factors for Rosacea
- Being a woman.
- Having a fair skin.
- If you are aged between 30 and 60 years old.
- Having a family history of rosacea.
Signs and Symptoms of Rosacea
- Persistent facial redness, especially in the central area of the face. The small blood vessels present on the nose and cheeks commonly engorge and become visible.
- Presence of swollen, red, and sometimes pus filled, bumps resembling acne.
- The skin feels tender and hot to touch.
- More than half of the patients having rosacea also have eye problems, such as eye irritation, dryness and red, swollen eyelids.
- In some patients with rosacea, eye symptoms appear before the skin symptoms.
- Rarely, there is thickening of the skin on the nose, resulting in bulbous or enlarged appearance of the nose (rhinophyma). This happens more commonly in men than women.
Investigations for Rosacea
Medical history and the physical examination is done for diagnosis, as there is no particular test for diagnosing rosacea. There is a chance of misdiagnosis and other skin problems, such as psoriasis, acne, eczema, lupus etc., need to be excluded.
Treatment for Rosacea
Treatment is done to manage and reduce the symptoms and it comprises of prescription medications and lifestyle modifications.
The treatment depends on the severity of rosacea that the patient has. Patient will notice an improvement within a month or two after starting the treatment. Symptoms tend to recur after treatment is stopped and for this long-term treatment is required which includes:
Prescription Medications for Rosacea
- Antibiotics having anti-inflammatory properties are given in topical form like gels, creams, or lotions for application to the affected regions. They can also be given in oral form, which are quite effective; however, they have side effects.
- Drugs given for acne, such as isotretinoin, help in clearing lesions of rosacea which are similar to acne. This drug is contraindicated in pregnancy.
Surgery for Rosacea
Laser surgery and electrosurgery help with the permanent scarring resulting due to the enlarged blood vessels and other changes from rhinophyma. These procedures help in reducing the appearance of the blood vessels and also in removing the accumulated tissue around the nose thus giving the patient an improved appearance.
Home Remedies for Rosacea
- Always find out the trigger factors and avoid them.
- Always wear a broad spectrum sunscreen with a minimum SPF of 30 or more before stepping out in the sun.
- In the winter season, scarf or a ski mask can be used to protect the face.
- Always use a mild cleanser to clean the affected regions.
- Avoid rubbing or touching your skin excessively.
- Try to wear foundation creams and powders, which are green-tinted, as they help in counteracting the redness of the skin.
- Avoid cosmetics or other products which contain alcohol and other such irritants on the face.
- Alternative therapies, such as emu oil, colloidal silver, laurelwood, oregano oil and vitamin K are beneficial in rosacea. Always consult your doctor before starting on any of these alternative treatments or dietary supplements.