Rosacea

Rosacea is a chronic skin condition that causes reddening of the skin predominantly on the face, & in some cases patients also get little bumps and pimples on top of the redness, which is why rosacea is often confused with acne.

A young woman looking worried about her oily skin

Rosacea

Rosacea is a common condition with 1 in 10 people in the UK* suffering from it at some point in their lives. Common Rosacea Symptoms include:

  • A flushed, red face that occurs more than usual
  • Red blotches on the face
  • Sensitive dry skin on top of the redness, which can also burn or sting
  • Small bumps & pimples on top of the redness that are similar to acne
  • Skin starts to become coarser & thicker, forming a bumpy texture.
  • Small blood vessels may start to become more visible
  • Eyes start to become dry & irritated

Source: NHS Choices & WebMD

Causes
  • Although the cause is unknown, rosacea sufferers have noted a few known rosacea triggers, most of which are related to exposure to heat:
  • Hot & Spicy Foods – Both piping hot food & spicy foods can aggravate rosacea, so it is best to wait for your food to cool a little & to stick to mildly spiced dishes where possible.
  • Alcohol & Hot Drinks – Alcohol (specifically red wine) & hot drinks like tea & coffee can aggravate rosacea in some individuals.
  • Exercise – After heavy exercise it is normal for the face to flush but for individuals with rosacea the redness can be exaggerated & longer lasting. The best way to counteract this is by exercising in cooler temperatures in the morning or evening rather than the middle of the day.
  • Hot Baths and Saunas – Hot baths &/or steam can result in a flare-up of symptoms. Moderating the temperature of baths and showers can help to prevent redness. Scrubs or harsh bathing products should also be avoided.
  • The Weather – Increased or prolonged exposure to the sun as well as hot weather can cause rosacea outbreaks. Sunny weather increases UV exposure that can trigger flare-ups. Rosacea sufferers are advised to wear a sunscreen with a minimum SPF of 15 and exposure should be avoided between 10am and 2pm when the sun is at his strongest.
  • Certain Medications – Certain medications such as topical steroids, blood pressure medication & some painkillers can act as rosacea triggers. If you’re concerned about this, speak to your GP to see if it’s possible to change your medication.

Types of Rosacea:

There are four main types of Rosacea:

  • Erythmo-telangietactic Rosacea – This is the most common type of rosacea yet most difficult to treat. It is distinguishable by severe redness & permanently dilated blood vessels. This type of rosacea is more common in women & is likely to develop in childhood years.
  • Papulo-pustular Rosacea – This type is differentiated by larger pores on an individual’s face. As well as larger pores an individual with this type will also have overactive sebaceous glands & may find their face is oilier compared to others with visible papules & pustules. Papulo- pustular rosacea is more common in men than women & can lead to another type of rosacea, Rhinophyma rosacea.
  • Rhinophyma Rosacea – This type of rosacea is when the rosacea symptoms are heavily present on the individual’s nose. Without effective treatment the nose can become bulbous which is due to enlarged sebaceous glands in turn causing oedema and erythema.
  • Ocular Rosacea – This is the only type that can affect the eyes as well as the face & chest. Ocular rosacea can be difficult to identify, usually beginning with a gritty feeling in the eyes before developing into regular redness in the eyes.

 

Treatments

Although rosacea itself cannot be cured, the symptoms can be managed by a range of treatments. The most common rosacea treatment types are outlined below:

Metronidazole Cream/Gel – Metronidazole is an antibiotic used for treating inflammation caused by rosacea & other similar conditions. As it is an antiprotozoal & antibacterial it works by decreasing inflammation, with the course of treatment typically lasting six weeks to several months.

Azelaic Acid Cream/Gel – Azelaic acid is a topical antibacterial that helps block the production of proteins needed for bacteria to survive. It is commonly used for rosacea & acne patients to help cure their symptoms.

Ivermectin Cream – Ivermectin cream is a macrocyclic lactone that is used for the treatment of inflammatory lesions of rosacea. As ivermectin is an antiparasitic agent, it’s effect can vary from individuals due to the hypothesis that parasitic mites play a role in rosacea developing.

Tetracycline – The antibiotic tetracycline can be used for both rosacea & acne patients due to it’s anti-inflammatory properties. The anti-inflammatory properties can help diminish the inflammation present in rosacea patients however, will not be able to fully cure the red flushing. For a more effective treatment, tetracycline can be combined with other topical treatments for rosacea.

Isotretinoin – This medication can only be prescribed by a dermatologist or specially trained GP. It is mostly taken in tablet form and can help to reduce oil production and prevent abnormal hardening of the skin, which is a characteristic of most types of rosacea.

WoW Fusion – Because neurogenic as well as inflammatory reactions contribute to rosacea, this treatment offers a unique blend of vitamins, amino acids and botulinum toxin which is effective in inhibiting the release of acetylcholine and of cathelicidin. This has an anti- inflammatory effect within 7-10 days which can last up to 3-4 months. Cases reported over 10 years ago & subsequent studies support the beneficial effects. Contact us for more details.

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