Rosacea is a skin condition that afflicts many as they age. It manifests as redness on the face, particularly on the nose, chin and cheeks. Sometimes the condition also causes pimples and roughness or bumps on the skin. In the most severe cases, rosacea can affect the eyes, causing them to burn and tear.
While in most cases rosacea is not harmful, it can affect one’s confidence and consequently one’s quality of life. Some long term sufferers develop rhinophyma which is bumps on the nose and, in extremely rare cases, rosacea can progressively worsen and result in permanent damage in the form of thickening of the skin or even vision loss.
The redness of the skin is caused by the expansion of the blood vessels beneath the skin. We don’t yet know very much about rosacea beyond the fact that it is a skin irritation that is not caused by bacteria. It is more prevalent among those with fair skin and some people are more genetically predisposed to it than others. Menopausal women are another at risk group.
While there isn’t much information on what causes the condition, we do have a clear understanding of the factors that trigger an outbreak or that cause it to flare up. Rosacea tends to worsen when exposed to harsh weather, stress, alcohol or even spicy foods. Some people see the redness flare up after exercise or even a hot bath.
Doctors are generally able to diagnose it by the patterns of redness and swelling on the face. It is important to see a specialist or dermatologist, as rosacea can often be mistaken for acne, allergies or eczema.
The majority of afflicted people experience cyclical outbreaks, meaning that the condition flares up for some time and then the symptoms diminish for a while before the next outbreak. There is no cure for rosacea but there a number of rosacea treatment options, from over-the-counter creams to drugs and even surgery for a more long term solution. The type of treatment suited to your condition will depend on the nature and severity of your condition. Please contact us at the skin clinic and our medically trained staff can provide you with skin treatment advice.
Creams and medications
The most common way to treat rosacea is by treating it with a combination of medication and cream. Creams can help to reduce swelling and redness, and medications such as antibiotics can help to control the outbreak. Antibiotics are prescribed for their ability to reduce inflammation and they are able to produce results faster than a topically applied cream. In the case of ocular rosacea or rosacea that affects the eye, steroid eye drops are usually prescribed as well. Regular or ongoing treatment is usually required as the rosacea can recur or flare up without the aid of regular medication.
Cosmetic surgery can bring relief
Many long terms rosacea sufferers are turning to cosmetic surgery to alleviate the symptoms of their condition. Intense pulsed light or IPL treatment can reduce redness by reducing the appearance of the enlarged blood vessels under the skin without causing any damage to the surface of the skin. Cosmetic surgery can also reduce the effect of rhinophyma by surgically removing the bumps or thickened skin around the nose.
Simple tips and lifestyle changes
Battling rosacea is an on-going process and there are lots of lifestyle changes that you can make to prevent triggering the condition and to alleviate its symptoms. For starters, you can prevent flare-ups by ensuring that your skin is always protected; this means wearing sunscreen of at least SPF 30 when you are outdoors and using a scarf or mask to protect your skin in the winter. You can refrain from irritating the skin by not touching it too much and by only using gentle products to clean and moisturise the skin.
A good way to identify triggers is to keep a diary of outbreaks; this will allow you to identify the specific factors that trigger your condition and will thus help you manage the rosacea more effectively.[Photo by miss_rogue]