What is rosacea?

Rosacea on human skin, closeup

Rosacea on human skin, closeup

Rosacea is a chronic condition that affects people of all ages. It is characterized by facial redness, bumps, eye irritation, and at times pimples. The condition worsens over time if left untreated. The majority of people with rosacea may not even realize they have the condition and merely think that their face is too sensitive to the sun or they just blush easily.

What causes rosacea?

The exact cause of the condition is not yet known. However, it is suspected that rosacea is caused by genetic factors, sun exposure, and certain foods, drinks, or medications that dilate blood vessels. A mite that is occasionally seen in hair follicles, Demodex folliculorum, is also said to cause rosacea.

Since it has a tendency to affect facial areas that blush, it is more common in individuals who easily flush. Moreover, a number of triggers cause rosacea flares. Emotional factors, such as stress and anxiety, may make a person blush and aggravate the condition. Weather changes, sun exposure, alcohol consumption, exercise, and spicy food are also known to aggravate rosacea.

What are the risk factors for rosacea?

Anyone can have rosacea. However, it is more likely to happen in people with fair skin and have a family history of rosacea. It typically starts at the age of 30. Females are likely to see symptoms on the chin and cheeks while men often see it on the nose.

What are the signs and symptoms from rosacea?

The usual signs and symptoms are facial redness, blushing, burning, red bumps, and little cysts. Rosacea symptoms have a tendency to come and go. Skin may stay clear for weeks or even months and then the condition erupts again. It also causes facial skin to be inflamed, particularly skin on the cheeks, chin, nose, and forehead. The normal color of the skin may not return in people with rosacea. Also, it is very rare for the condition to reverse itself.

How is rosacea diagnosed?

Currently, no tests can be done to diagnose rosacea. Since it is diagnosed based on signs and symptoms, rosacea is greatly under-diagnosed. Thus, it is important to see a physician who is specially trained in diagnosing rosacea like Dr. Matsuda and Dr. Sheu of Honolulu, HI.

How is rosacea cured?

Although the condition is not considered curable, it can be controlled. Proper and regular treatments are necessary to control rosacea. Moreover, since signs and symptoms are different for each person, treatment is tailored to meet the specific needs of every patient.

Below are the methods to treat rosacea.

  • Topical creams – Applying topical medications to the skin one or two times a day is known to control rosacea effectively. Metronidazole is a popular medication used by patients with the condition. It is applied once or twice daily after cleansing the face. Azelaic acid is also known to control redness and bumps.
  • Oral antibiotics – Moderate rosacea may be treated by taking oral medications such as tetracycline, amoxicillin, and doxycycline. These medications help in reducing pimples and inflammation. Before taking antibiotics, the patient has to know the side effects and risks associated with a certain medication.
  • Other medications – Inflammation may also be reduced with the use of topical steroids. These preparations have minimal strength and are used on a short-term basis only. It is applied to the affected area one or two times a day. The use of topical steroids should only be under the advice of a physician since it can cause a rosacea flare. Long-term use of topical steroids can also irritate the skin surrounding the mouth.
  • Skin cleansers – Over-the-counter cleansers or prescription cleansers may relieve symptoms and control rosacea too. Gentle skin cleaners are recommended over harsh products. Patients also have to avoid scrubbing the face excessively.
  • Laser treatment – Facial redness can be treated by laser treatments. These treatments treat blood vessels on a person’s chest, neck, and face that are already noticeable. Laser treatment is regarded as a safe alternative that can improve the appearance of the skin as well as skin complexion.
  • Photodynamic therapy – The therapy utilizes a liquid that is applied to the patient’s skin and a light that activates the sensitizer. Photodynamic therapy can reduce inflammation and improve the texture of the skin.
  • Chemical peels – Some people can control rosacea and improve symptoms with professional chemical peels.

What should I avoid to help my rosacea?

  • Avoid sun exposure to prevent rosacea flares. Protect the skin by applying sunblock lotion and using the appropriate clothing and headwear.
  • Extreme cold should be avoided too.
  • Avoid smoking, alcohol, and spicy food as they may cause blushing.
  • Avoid chocolate, yogurt, soy sauce, spinach, eggplants, avocados, and citrus fruits as they are known to trigger rosacea. Then again, some foods may not have any effect on a person while affecting another one severely. Thus, creating a food diary is important to know which foods trigger the condition.

Does rosacea worsen with age?

Although the course of rosacea is variable and not everyone can predict it, it has a tendency to worsen as a person ages, especially if the person has not received treatment. Small studies have shown that people with rosacea move from an early stage to a middle stage in a year’s time. Preventing the condition from progressing may be done with proper treatment.

What are the effects of rosacea on my life?

The effects of rosacea on the lives of sufferers depend on how they tolerate the symptoms and how active rosacea is. Some do not have symptoms and live normal lives. Others do not know they have rosacea and even like the way their cheeks blush.

Those with moderate rosacea and experience flares may have to take antibiotics and undergo different therapies to control symptoms. To prevent embarrassment caused by blushing and prevent rosacea from affecting their daily lives, it is recommended to see a physician immediately. In Honolulu, HI, Drs. Matsuda and Sheu help patients determine the pattern of their condition and create a treatment plan that enables them to live normal lives.

Patients with bothersome rosacea that interfere in their day-to-day lives may have social and psychological symptoms too. These patients have to discuss concerns to their doctors and receive rosacea treatment as soon as possible.

For more information on Rosacea Treatment, please request a consultation, or call us at (808) 949-7568.