LEARN MORE ABOUT ROSACEA
Rosacea is a common skin condition that causes redness and swelling on the face. The redness involves the central face, notably the cheeks and nose. Occasionally the forehead, ears and chin may be involved. These may be accompanied by small blood vessels erupting on the face, and pimple-like lesions. Hence they have been referred to as ‘adult acne’. However, unlike acne, rosacea does not show black heads and white heads. Also, unlike acne which troubles adolescants, rosacea is seen more often in the middle-age.
There is a very typical tendency to blush and flush easily, and this can be very embarrassing for the sufferer. Initially, the flushing is temporary and occurs in response to certain stimulants like alcohol, caffeine, spices, hot food, strong sunlight, stomach infections, emotions like anger and moments of stress. It has also been associated with a mite called the ‘Demodex’. However, if left untreated, the redness and swelling may become permanent and hard to treat. There may also be burning sensation over the face. Rosacea rarely reverses and may last for years. It can worsen without treatment.
In more advanced cases, a condition called Rhinophyma may develop. Here the tip of the nose becomes permanently enlarged, bulbous and grotesque. Although rosacea is more common in women, Rhinophyma is more likely to occur in men. This condition is permanent and has to be surgically corrected. About 50% of sufferers have complaints of dryness and foreign-body sensation in the eyes- a condition known as ocular (eye) rosacea. This condition must be attended to promptly.
DOs and DONTs of Rosacea
1) Avoid alcohol, spicy food, tobacco and caffeine.
2) Always use broad spectrum sunscreen of SPF 30 or above when outdoors.
3) Exercise in a cool environment. Avoid overheating of the body.
4) Avoid all irritating cosmetics and skin care products. Avoid facials, face massages, rubbing or scrubbing the face.
5) Do not use over-the-counter creams or medications. Self treatment is ill-advised.
6) Steroid creams can cause rosacea like complaints among those who use it on their face for more than 2 weeks. It is best to use these creams only under the direction of your dermatologist.
7) Keep a diary of flushing episodes and note associated foods, activities and products.
Your dermatologist will treat your rosacea with medicated antibiotic gels, suncreens and with Isotretinoin in severe cases. Rhinophyma requires surgical correction by a skilled plastic surgeon, after which you will be prescribed a course of Isotretinoin to prevent a relapse. The dilated and unsightly blood vessels can be completely eliminated using laser treatment.