Causes and Treatment of Rosacea

Rosacea is a chronic skin condition lined by redness to the nose, cheeks, chin and forehead. Typically beginning on the face, rosacea can affect the neck, chest, ears, and scalp. Little bumps and pimples have been known to form on the red parts of the face. Tenderness, burning, and gritty eyes can also occur.

Most common in women and men over the age of 30, it has been known to affect all ages. Caucasians are more susceptible to developing rosacea.

Dealing with rosacea can decrease a person's self-confidence and increase their avoidance of social situations.

What causes rosacea is still a mystery to experts. The redness is not an infection caused by bacteria, though there is something that is irritating the skin. People who have fair skin or blush easily are more susceptible and it can run in the family.

Alcohol abuse does not cause rosacea; however, for those people already affected with rosacea, drinking alcohol can cause a flare-up of the symptom that making it worse. When the blood vessels in the face expand it results in redness.

Some of the more common triggers are:

  • Exposure to the sun and wind
  • Severe sunburn
  • Strenuous exercise
  • Stress or anxiety
  • Hot weather
  • Spicy foods
  • Alcohol
  • Caffeine
  • Hot showers
  • Changes in temperature from hot to cold or cold to hot

A few of the more common symptoms of rosacea are:

  1. Flushed, red face with sensitive dry skin that may burn or sting
  2. Small bumps or pimples or acne- like breakouts
  3. Skin that has a bumpy texture, coarser and thicker
  4. Red, dry, irritated eyes

Depending on the severity of their rosacea, most people prefer to treat their symptoms themselves. Their first step is to understand the triggers that bring on or worsen the ailment. Keeping a journal can help identify and track food and beverage triggers. Avoiding excess exposure to the sun is recommended, in addition to wearing sunscreen or hats with wide brims. Those people who develop eye infections should practice frequent eyelid hygiene.

Certain medications, acne and wrinkle treatments, microdermabrasion, and chemical peels have been known to trigger rosacea flare-ups. Caution should be taken before applying or undergoing one of these procedures.

There are topical and oral antibiotic agents available for the treatment of rosacea. Although these medications often produce a temporary reprieve of redness in a few weeks, the redness will return if the treatment is suspended. Usually long-term treatment lasting one to two years is necessary in the permanent control of the condition which may result in permanent remission.

Understanding the triggers and avoiding them is the first step in treating rosacea. If the condition worsens, consult your doctor. If left untreated the rosacea may become worse over time. A doctor can easily diagnose rosacea by the pattern of redness on a person's face. The majority of time medical tests are not needed.