Rosacea is a chronic blood vessel disorder affecting the blood vessels of the face. The result is a facial rash that appears as red pimple like bumps accompanied by excessive flushing.
Although commonly called Acne Rosacea the condition is not related to adult acne. There are no blackheads, whiteheads or cysts. Instead the pimple like bumps may be hard and swollen.
The rash, which is often inflamed and hot, is the result of the blood vessels just below the surface of the skin becoming dilated and enlarged. The skin becomes blotchy and flushed.
The condition is rare in children. More commonly affecting the 30 – 40 year old age group. Both men and women can develop rosacea, however it is marginally more common in women.
Whilst 13 million Americans have rosacea the exact cause of the condition is unknown. It appears that it can affect anyone but is more common in people with blond hair and blue eyes.
People with a tendency to blush are more prone to develop rosacea. However at this stage it is not known whether blushing is a predisposing factor or an early symptom.
Whilst research continues into finding a cause for rosacea, the triggers that tend to cause a flare up are well documented. In general anything that causes the blood vessels to dilate will result in a flare up. These may vary from a variety of foods and drugs to some climatic and emotional changes.
Treatment aims to relieve symptoms
As there is no cure at this stage for rosacea treatment is designed to alleviate the symptoms of the condition and repairing the blemishes of the skin. Adopting some self help life style changes can do this.
- Avoid foods that trigger your rosacea. It may take some doing to determine the triggers. Keeping a food diary may help
- Do not allow your skin to over heat. Avoid overly hot showers and baths
- Avoid overcrowded rooms, as they become hot and muggy
- Avoid sunburn and use a water-based sun block
- Wear a wide brimmed hat when in the sun
- Check with your doctor before starting a new medication, as some drugs will cause blood vessel dilatation. Even over the counter drugs should be checked out thoroughly
- Try to avoid stressful situations
- Use water based face creams, as they are generally softer on the skin than oil based creams
- Do not treat the condition with over the counter steroid or acne creams. These may aggravate the condition
- Seek medical advice as topical and/or oral antibiotics may be required to help reduce the swelling and inflammation
- Laser treatment may be required to remove lesions.