It is estimated that more than 14 million people all across the world suffer from rosacea. However, its symptoms are so common that almost 90% of the sufferers are not aware that they are suffering from a skin disorder.
It has been observed that this skin disorder usually begins after the age of 30 as redness on nose, cheeks or forehead that comes and goes. In some of the cases, rosacea also appears on chest, ears, neck as well as scalp.
The redness keeps increasing with time and becomes more persistent when visible blood vessels start appearing on the face. If remedial measures are not taken, it may lead to development of pimples and bumps and in some cases, the nose grows swollen. Even though it affects all the segments of population, it has been seen that people with fair skin who tend to flush early are at a greater risk.
Also, it is typically diagnosed more frequently in women but it also affects men and the symptoms are more severe in men. As far as the cure for this skin disorder is concerned, researchers are still trying to find a permanent cure. However, medical treatment can help in reversing some of the symptoms of this disorder.
As mentioned above, most of the sufferers are not even aware of the existence of rosacea and keep using various other treatments that are not only ineffective but may be harmful for the skin. Here is a list of 16 rosacea FAQs that everyone should ask.
1. What Are The Causes Of Rosacea?
As far as the exact causes of this skin disorder are concerned, medical community has not been able to find the exact causes. However, they have identified certain symptoms that confirm the existence of the disorder.
As mentioned above, it is due to dilation of the facial muscles that results in increased blood flow near the skin surface making the skin appear red. Over the years, several theories have been floated about the origin of this disorder but nothing has been confirmed till date.
Lifestyle as well as environmental factors are known to trigger the symptoms. Sometimes, bumps similar to acne may also appear on the face. This is due to the result of accumulation of skin bacteria on the damaged skin surface as well as damage to the connective tissue that lies under the skin.
Recent research has indicated that this may be the result of an immune response that is triggered by an antimicrobial protein. Some of the other research studies have also linked some genes with this disorder. Further research studies are still going on to help people suffering from this disorder.
2. Is It Hereditary?
While there is no clear scientific research on whether heredity affects rosacea sufferers but there is anecdotal evidence that it may be due to heredity. In a survey conducted by the National Rosacea Society, almost 40% of the sufferers had a relative with similar skin disorder symptoms.
Some of the other research studies conducted on twins in the recent years show that it may be due to genes in almost 50% of the sufferers whereas environmental factors account for the other 50%. Ethnicity has also been shown to be associated with this skin disorder.
3. What Are the Various Stages of Rosacea?
There are typically four stages which are called the rosacea, mild, moderate and severe. In the first type, the blood vessels in the race start dilating and they open wider than ever before and also stay open for longer time periods as compared to non-sufferers. However, in this case there is no visible damage.
In the mild form, the redness on the face stays for around 30 min or more after it is triggered. Some of the triggers are allergic reaction, emotions, exercise as well as heat and cold. In the moderate form, the flushing on face becomes more intense and frequent, and vascular damage can also occur.
All this results in swelling as well as long-lasting redness and growth of inflammatory papules. Severe cases are characterized by facial pain, burning sensation and swelling. In some cases, sufferers also develop intolerance to various products that they were able to use earlier.
4. Can It Be Cured?
As far as a permanent cure for this skin disorder is concerned, sufferers will have to wait for some time as medical research community is still struggling to find a permanent cure. However, this does not mean that there is no hope for sufferers as the symptoms can be managed.
There are a lot of different treatment options for various stages of rosacea. The best way to avoid the flare-ups is to identify various triggers and try your best to avoid them.
5. Is It Contagious?
It is an inflammatory skin condition which means that it is not contagious. Although, sometimes doctors do prescribe some antibiotics for it but that is to control the inflammation instead of targeting bacterial infection.
In other words, other family members or friends cannot get rosacea by touching someone’s face or by sharing a towel.
6. Are There Any Tests for Diagnosis?
So far, no test of any kind whether serological, diagnostic or histological tests have been developed by doctors for this disorder. Only a physician can diagnose it after going through various symptoms and signs along with medical history. You should clearly explain various problems you have been facing such as swelling, itching, flushing, redness, pimples or bumps as well as all the other similar symptoms.
7. How Long Does It Last?
It is not a short-term condition and there are continuous relapses and admissions. It is a chronic condition which means that most of the people suffering from this disorder rarely get rid of it. The only treatment available so far is control of symptoms using various lifestyle modifications and other forms of medical therapy. It has also been observed that patients who continue their therapy experience much less flare-ups of symptoms.
8. Are There Rosacea Specialists?
Unfortunately, most of these disorders do not have any medical specialty devoted to them. However, dermatologists deal with many similar skin disorders and therefore, if you develop symptoms of rosacea, it is best to go to a dermatologist near you.
You may also go to an ophthalmologist for eye symptoms. The best way to find a qualified dermatologist is to search on Internet. There are a number of websites dedicated to rosacea sufferers and you will easily find some recommendations from such websites.
9. Are the Symptoms Same for All the Sufferers?
The symptoms of this disorder vary a lot for different individuals. The severity of symptoms varies a lot as well as the area of the face that is affected. However, most of the patients report that it begins with a small patch on one or another cheek and then it spreads to other areas of the face. Some of the patients also report exhibiting similar symptoms on both sides of the face.
10. What Are the Common Triggers for This Disorder?
The Common triggers for rosacea include spicy foods, fatty foods, heated beverages, various skin care products with allergens, cold weather, hot weather, emotional stress, sun exposure.
Indoor heat, humidity, certain vegetable, dairy products, marinated meats, medical conditions, medications, heavy exercise as well as alcohol. It is important to keep in mind that these are just triggers and do not lead to rosacea.
11. Does Acne Also Occur with Rosacea?
Some cases have been reported where regular acne appears simultaneously with rosacea but it is not that common. Most of the times, health experts refer to both of these conditions as adult acne but these are two separate diseases and require different kind of therapy. Acne is due to closure of pores that results in development of pimples and blackheads on the faces, shoulders as well as chest and back.
On the other hand, rosacea has been linked to dilation of the blood vessels in the face that results in pimples, bumps, redness and various other symptoms. Also, rosacea typically does not occur on other areas of the body. It is important to keep in mind that some of the treatments for acne may trigger rosacea symptoms or make it worse.
12. Are Rosacea and Eczema Related?
While it is true that both of these diseases have some similar symptoms, the truth is that these are different diseases.
Ordinary eczema usually affects individuals with dry skin and it can appear in all areas of the body resulting in red scaling as well as weeping pustules that result in severe itching. On the other hand, the symptoms of rosacea rarely appear beyond face.
13. Does Rosacea Also Affect Eyes?
Yes it has also been known to affect eyes and it is called ocular rosacea. Symptoms include bloodshot or watery appearance of eyes along with a dry and burning feeling. Sometimes, patients also suffer from blurred vision and light sensitivity. If it is not treated, it may result in decreased visual acuity.
The symptoms of ocular rosacea may appear before or after symptoms appear on face. Therefore, individuals suffering from symptoms of ocular or skin rosacea should immediately consult an ophthalmologist or dermatologist for therapy.
14. Are There Support Groups for Rosacea?
Yes there are a number of support group for this disorder in almost all areas. There are also some Internet communities where rosacea sufferers gather and share their experiences with various treatments and lifestyle changes.
If you are suffering from this skin disorder, you should join some of these communities. It will help you in figuring out various changes you need to make to avoid triggers.
15. How Is It Treated?
As mentioned above, the symptoms of this disorder vary from one to another and therefore, a tailored treatment is created for each individual patient by the physician. Some of the patients suffer from skin thickening whereas others suffer from flushing and redness or a combination of other symptoms.
Doctors usually prescribe oral and topical therapy for patients suffering from pimples and bumps. In some cases, laser treatment is also prescribed for removing the visible blood vessels on the face and for reducing extensive redness. The best treatment plan for this skin disorder is to identify the various factors that result in flare-up of individual conditions.
16. What Should an Individual Do for Taking Care of the Skin?
The dermatologists recommend having a facial care routine to keep the symptoms at bay. You should start with cleansing of your face each morning. It is important that only a mild soap or cleanser is used that should not be abrasive or grainy.
This soap could be spread slowly with the help of fingertips. You may also use a soft pad for spreading the soap but you should avoid using sponges, brushes or rough wash clothes.
Rinse face with lukewarm water a number of times and blot dry with the help of a cotton towel. You should never scratch or pull your face. Also, it is important to air dry your face before application of a topical medication. Any make-up should be applied only after waiting for around 10 min after application of medication.