Rosacea is a skin condition that affects parts of the face. Symptoms can include facial flushing, facial redness, dilated caplillaries particularly on the nose, cheeks and forehead. Spots can be present along with thickening of the skin, and eye problems such as dry eyes and sore eyelids. Not all symptoms occur in all cases. Rosacea affects about 1 in 10 people in the UK, usually in middle age. Many cases are mild. Spots can usually be cleared with antibiotic treatment. Intense Pulsed Light can be extremely effective on the vascular component of acne rosacea and Obagi products can also be used to control both the flushing and the acne components.
Symptoms of rosacea include one or more of the following:
- Frequent flushing of the face, similar to blushing. This is often the first symptom and may be the only symptom for months or years before anything else develops;
- Redness (erythema) of parts of the face. This can look similar to sunburn;
- Small lumpy red spots (papules) and small cysts (pustules) on the face. The spots and cysts look similar to acne. These may 'come and go' in some cases, but remain long-term unless treated in others;
- Telangiectasia on the face. These are tiny blood vessels under the skin which you can see and can become quite prominent on the face;
- Eye symptoms (also called ocular rosacea) occur in about half of cases, but are often mild. They can include:
- A feeling of something in the eye;
- Burning, stinging or itchy eyes;
- Sensitivity to light;
- Eyelid problems such as cysts, styes or eyelid inflammation (blepharitis)
Inflammation and infection of the cornea (the front of the eye) is an uncommon but serious complication that can affect vision. See a doctor urgently if you develop eye pain or visual problems.
- Thickening of the skin occurs in some cases. The most well known example of this is called a rhinophyma (a bulbous, bumpy nose). This is uncommon.
The symptoms are usually just on the central parts of the face - on the cheeks, forehead, nose, around the mouth and chin. Skin on other parts of the head is sometimes affected. Rarely, skin on the arms or back is affected.
Who gets rosacea?
Around 2 to 5 in 100 people in the UK are thought to develop rosacea. This is a lot of people, but many cases are mild. Symptoms may first appear in your early 20s, but the usual age that symptoms appear is in your 30s-50s. Rarely, rosacea can affect children. Women are more commonly affected than men. However, rosacea is often less severe in women than in men. Rosacea is more common in fair-skinned than dark-skinned people.
What causes rosacea?
The exact cause of rosacea is not known. A number of factors may be involved. However, none of these factors has definitely been proven to be the cause. For example:
- Tiny blood vessels under the affected skin may become abnormal or 'leaky';
- Sun damage;
- A tiny mite called demodex follicularum may be involved. It lives harmlessly on the skin of many people but has been found in higher numbers in those with rosacea;
- Abnormal immune reactions in the skin which leads to inflammation;
- Genetics may also be involved as rosacea may run in some families.
Long-term use of steroid creams on the face can cause a condition identical to rosacea. This used to be quite common. However, the danger of overusing steroid creams is now well known, and this is now an uncommon problem.
IPL Photorejuvenation can target different structures including hair, blood vessels and sun-damage by pulsing different wavelengths of light into the skin.
Obagi Medical Skin Care
With prescription only topical medication and anti oxidants in combination with diet and lifestyle advise a beautiful flawless skin can be achieved.