Rosecea is a disease that affects the skin tissues, mainly on the face. The first symptoms of Rosecea is redness on the cheeks, the forehead, the nose and the chin, caused by blood vessels that have become enlarged, resembling a blush or sunburn. Over time this redness becomes permanent with dryness and pimples like teenage acne. This similarity has caused Rosecea to be known as ‘adult acne’ or ‘rosacea acne’, when in fact it has little in common with blackheads and whiteheads, usually associated with teenage acne.
Because of the gradual development of the characteristics of Rosecea, it may be mistaken for sunburn, acne, or a change in complexion and delay the person from seeking treatment. Early diagnosis and treatment is extremely important to prevent the condition from becoming worse, to where the only treatment that could effective, is surgery.
The tiny blood vessels under the skin of the face become enlarged and more visible and are called ‘telangiectasia’. Knobbly bumps sometimes develop on the nose and over time, will increase until the nose becomes bulbous,swollen and enlarged. This condition is known as ‘rhinophyma’. In some cases Rosecea may even appear on the neck, the chest or the back. As Rosecea progresses, the eyes may also become involved, causing the eyes to become bloodshot, watery and feel irritated.
What causes Rosecea?
Although there is no known cause, there are several theories that exist, none of which have been proven yet. One theory postulates that the disease may be the result of a more general disorder of blood vessels. Other theories include the causes to be fungal, psychological, skin mite infections or malfunctioning of connective tissue. Certain conditions and circumstances can trigger a flare-up of Rosecea, and it is beneficial to discover what these are to assist in the control and management of the disease.
Although it is estimated that a staggering 14 million individuals in America alone are affected by Rosecea, most sufferers do not know that they have it. Fair skinned people are more prone to the development of Rosecea, as are women in general. In men, the disease often takes on a more severe form, with the nose becoming bulbous and enlarged. This could be because men tend to delay seeking medical attention, which causes the disease to become advanced.
Although there is no known cure, there are several therapies available to help control and reverse the effects of Rosecea. No specific test can be performed to diagnose Rosecea, however, the existence of characteristic symptoms may alert an individual to the possibility that they may have it. These include redness in the facial area, dryness, itchiness, pimples, or bumps on the nose.
Depending on the symptoms and the advanced condition of Rosecea, the following treatments may be effective in controlling the disease:
Doctors may prescribed topical or oral medication for the treatment of redness, pimples or bumps to control the condition and keep the symptoms in remission.
Surgery can be used to remove blood vessels, correct disfigurement of the nose and reduce excessive redness. Electrocautery surgery can correct the distorted shape of the nose, restoring it to its normal appearance.
- Laser treatment.
Depending on the thickness of the skin growth on the nose, laser treatment can help re-sculpt the shape of the nose.
During the first two weeks after the treatment, there may be swelling, redness and soreness, but it will taper off gradually and eventually disappear. There is a risk of scarring depending on the depth of the tissue that has been removed,
According to some doctors, the best cure for Rhinophyma (bumps and pimples leading to excessive tissue growth on the nose), is to avoid the occurrence in the first place, by managing recurrent inflammation. Inflammation is what causes the tissues in the nose to thicken, and, although treatment with antibiotics for the condition itself may not be effective, antibiotics can control inflammation present in the affected area, and therefore prevent excessive tissue growth before it becomes a problem.
Patients with Rosecea who have only a mild form of Rhonophyma, are advised to avoid surgery by the use of preventive treatments, unless the condition worsens. While there is no cure for Rosecea, sufferers can improve their chances of controlling and managing the condition, and even enhancing remission, by the identification and avoidance of environmental and lifestyle factors that could trigger flare-ups. These include:
- Limit or avoid exposure to harsh sunlight and drying wind.
- Avoid exposure of the skin to extreme weather conditions, extremely hot or freezing cold.
- Avoid heavy exercise or physical exertion which can cause the skin to become flushed.
- Avoid excessive consumption of foods that can cause flushing and flare-ups such as alcohol and hot, spicy foods.
- Avoid drinking very hot beverages.
- Avoid emotional stress.
The most important principle in the treatment of Rosecea is to stay positive, not become despondent, and to pursue any avenue that will assist in controlling and managing the disease.