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Overview of rosacea

Rosacea is a common skin condition noticed in adults between the age group of 30 and 50 years. It is characterized by prolonged blushing or flushing in the central areas of the face along with redness, which is generally nonitchy. Women seem to be more commonly affected than men. If left untreated, rosacea can result in complications of the eyes.1


Causes of rosacea

Rosacea occurs due to an inflammatory reaction of the skin tissues wherein the exact triggering factor that initiates this reaction is not known.

Various factors such as emotional stress,repeated sun exposure,hot weather, alcohol,spicy foods and use of certain skin products have been associated with the increased incidence of rosacea.

The infection of face mite known as Demodex folliculorum and another microorganism called Helicobacter pylori have also been attributed as the possible cause in some of the individuals.1,2    


Signs and Symptoms of rosacea

The signs and symptoms observed may differ in each individual with rosacea. The common feature of rosacea is the intermittent flushing or blushing of the central areas of the face (the cheeks, on and around the nose and below the eyes), which is associated with redness. Itching in these areas is always absent; though stinging type of pain may be felt during the episodes of flushing. Rosacea is a chronic condition, which if left untreated may progress further to cause swelling of the affected areas, conjunctivitis, swelling of the eyelids, scarring of the cornea and a condition known as rhinopyma that affects the nose.1,2  


Diagnosis of rosacea

The diagnosis of rosacea is made based on the signs and symptoms noted and by ruling out the other causes that may display similar clinical features. Evaluation of the presence of various triggering or aggravating factors is also made. Skin biopsy may at times be advised to confirm the diagnosis.1


Treatment of rosacea

The first-line of treatment of rosacea is the administration of antibiotics that belong to the group of tetracycline, doxycycline and metronidazole as tablets that need to be taken orally. Although rosacea cannot be cured, these are helpful in relieving almost all signs and symptoms associated with rosacea. At times, application of medicated ointments that contain these antibiotics are also advised over the affected areas. Other types of medications may be advised if symptoms are not relieved with the antibiotics. Laser therapy and surgical corrections may be required in advanced cases that would have caused significant changes.1,2,3  


Complications of rosacea

Emotional and social problems due to the redness and other signs of rosacea are commonly encountered. The involvement of the eye may at times be severe enough to cause permanent damage to the cornea requiring its replacement. Early diagnosis and prompt treatment help in the prevention of these complications.


Prevention of rosacea

Exposure to aggravating factors such as sunlight, hot weather, alcohol or spicy foods should be avoided. Use of sunscreen lotions prevents worsening of the symptoms on exposure to sunlight. Skin care products that irritate the skin and heavy use of cosmetics should be avoided.  

Written by: Healthplus24 team
Date last updated: March 11, 2013

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