Rosy red skin, the hallmark of Rosacea, consisting of patches or widespread all over the face and frequently on the neck and décolleté.
What are the symptoms consistent with Rosacea skin?
Something of a bucket label, Rosacea does feature defined symptoms including general persistent flushing so more than just an embarrassed glow or transient blush. Eyes may become bloodshot and watery, blood vessels become visible and some sufferers experience small round hard lumps under the skin filled with pus.
The nose may become bulbous and swollen. Those with Rosacea skin may not demonstrate all of these and the severity fluctuates. If left untreated, Rosacea will worsen and may become chronic.
What are the causes of this skin disease?
Sadly, there is no easy point the finger at cause for Rosacea just some contributory factors plus a smattering of genetic propensity. Certainly, if you are pale skinned you are more likely to develop Rosacea and this increases if you have a family member already suffering with it. Structural abnormalities in the blood vessels in the face provide a mechanical trigger although what instigates the inflammatory process remains unclear. Mites are relevant, yes really. It is noticeable that patients with Rosacea exhibit a higher than normal skin mite, Demodex Folliculorum but as with the chicken and egg conundrum, medics cannot agree on which came first so it still remains unclear whether these microscopic visitors are a cause or a symptom. Lastly, there are bacteria present in the human gut called H. Pylori and these impact on blood vessel dilation. Some scientists are convinced that they are causative in the development of Rosacea.
Are there certain skin types prone to Rosacea?
It is probably a fair (pun intended) generalisation to say that white, fair-skinned people are more disposed towards Rosacea than those with darker complexions. And this is not just because veins and redness are more easily visible. It rather begs the question though, is Rosacea also a condition seen in black skin so Indian or West African? Yes, it is although it is less common than in a Caucasian individual of northern European origin. Red becomes violet or purple and although it may be less obvious on a darker skin tone, if left untreated it can cause hyperpigmentation, where the affected skin actually becomes even darker.
Let’s take a look at the specific areas which can be affected by Rosacea.
What does Rosacea around the eyes look like?
This is called ocular Rosacea and it produced red, irritated eyes with some localised swelling. It may look as if the person has been crying or they suffer from hay fever. Because of the sensitive and delicate nature of the eye and the surrounding skin, Rosacea around the eyes is treated with a type of steroid eye drop called Blephamide. These are not for continuous use but to control acute episodes.
What are the remedies prescribed for Rosacea on the face?
This can range from flushing on the cheeks to overall coverage consistent with a bad sunburn. Rosacea on the face is, therefore, both uncomfortable and distressing and can create real psychological trauma for the victim who may be too self-conscious to even venture outside. A dermatologist will recommend a combination of oral anti-inflammatory medication which works systemically and quickly combined with topical antibiotic based applications and camouflage face cream.
Cleansing the face is really important especially if you have pustules but products should be gentle and soothing rather than astringent. The best face wash is mild, chemical, soap and fragrance-free. Good skin care is imperative but it is important to use the right brands. There are ranges available specifically aimed at Rosacea. Check out Rosacea.net which is a site developed by the American Academy of Dermatology.
Rosacea on the chest
Facial Rosacea can spread down the neck to the chest and upper back. The treatment is much the same as for the face but it is clearly easier to hide any outbreaks under clothing. Laser treatment is available for larger expanses such as Rosacea on the chest and visible blood vessels can be significantly diminished with this form of therapy.
Rosacea on the nose can be a particular problem
The nose is particularly vulnerable to thickening of the skin in severe cases of this disease. Rosacea on the nose can create an enlarged, bulging, distended conk which, joking apart, is just as upsetting if not more so than a red face. This condition has its own specific name, Rhinophyma. Statistically, it seems to affect men more than women. In very acute cases, the nose can be remodelled by a plastic surgeon or laser surgery is another option to reduce the level of tissue.
Rosacea on the arms and legs
It is less common to experience Rosacea on the torso or limbs although not unheard of. Options for treatment are no different from those for the face.
There is lots of information online about managing Rosacea via blogs and forums and peer-reviewed sites. It is a condition which responds well to self-help with medical intervention as and when needed. Whilst the specific cause is not yet identified, there is plenty of anecdotal evidence on a wide assortment of triggers such as alcohol, stress, excessively hot baths, certain dietary elements such as dairy, caffeine and spicy foods.
It is also advisable to avoid chilling winter winds, in fact, any extreme of temperatures but particularly exposing the face to fierce heat or an icy blast. There are some fabulous cosmetic lines devised to cover high colour and disguise redness and blemishes whilst also being kind to skin and breathable as well. Watch this great beauty therapist lesson on YouTube.
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