What You Need to Know About Rosacea
Here, experts from the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) tell you what you need to know about the skin condition of rosacea and how to treat it.
Rosacea, a common skin disease, usually begins with a tendency to blush more easily than other people. It often begins with a tendency to blush or flush more easily than other people.
But it can cause more than redness, according to the AAD. Because there are so many symptoms of the condition, rosacea actually has four subtypes.
The redness can slowly spread beyond the nose and cheeks to the forehead and chin. Even the ears, chest, and back can be red all the time. Here, according to the AAD, are the different types:
Erythematotelangiectatic rosacea: Redness, flushing, visible blood vessels
Papulopustular rosacea: Redness, swelling, and acne-like breakouts.
Phymatous rosacea: Skin thickens and has a bumpy texture.
Ocular rosacea: Eyes red and irritated, eyelids can be swollen and what looks like a sty.
Over time, the AAD says, people with rosacea often have permanent redness in the center of their face.
The AAD cites federal government figures as saying that more than 14 million people are living with rosacea. Some risk factors include:
Being between 30 and 50 years old; having fair skin, often with blonde hair and blue eyes; having Celtic or Scandinavian ancestry; a family history; having had severe acne. Although women are likelier than men to get rosacea, men are likelier to get severe rosacea. But people of any age can get it, as can people of any skin color.
As for the cause, that’s still not known. Scientists have found that rosacea runs in families, and that means that there may be a rosacea gene. And the immune system may play a part. Research has revealed that most people with acne-like rosacea react to a bacterium called bacillus oleronius. This reaction causes their immune system to overreact.
Additionally, the AAD says, a bug that causes intestinal infections may be a factor. This bug, H pylori, is common in people who have rosacea, although the link isn’t definitive. And demodex, a mite that live on the skin, may also play a role. The reason: It likes to live on the nose and cheeks, where rosacea often appears. Again, though, the link isn’t definitive. Cathelicidin, a protein that normally protects the skin from infection, may cause redness and swelling depending on how a person’s body processes the protein.
Diagnosis of rosacea is fairly simply. A dermatologist will examine the skin and eyes and ask the patient questions about their health history.
Once the type of rosacea has been determined via symptoms, a dermatologist will treat it accordingly. While rosacea can’t be cured, the AAD says, it can be managed by taking care of the condition.
Treatments include topical medicine; wearing sunscreen; a skin-repairing emollient; lasers and light treatments; dermabrasion; and antibiotics. As for rosacea that affects the eyelids, the dermatologist will recommend a prescription medicine to wash the eyelids throughout the day.
Headquartered in Schaumburg, Ill., the American Academy of Dermatology, founded in 1938, is the largest, most influential, and most representative of all dermatologic associations, with a membership of more than 18,000 physicians worldwide. For more information, contact the AAD at 1-888-462-DERM (3376) or www.aad.org.