What is Rosacea?
Rosacea (pronounced “roh-ZAY-sha”) is a common but often poorly misunderstood chronic disorder primarily of the facial skin.
A survey by the National Rosacea Society found that 95% of rosacea patients had known little or nothing about the signs and symptoms of rosacea prior to diagnosis.
Rosacea is often characterized by flare-ups and remissions.
Many have observed that it typically begins any time after age 30, as a redness on the cheeks, nose, chin or forehead that may come and go. In some cases, Rosacea may also occur on the neck, chest, scalp or ears.
If left untreated, the condition can slowly worsen.
Over time, the redness becomes ruddier and more persistent, and visible blood vessels may appear. Left untreated, bumps and pimples often develop, and in severe cases the nose may grow swollen and bumpy from excess tissue. This condition, called Rhinophyma (pronounced “rhi-no-FY-muh”), gave the late comedian W.C. Fields his trademark bulbous nose.
In many Rosacea patients, the eyes are also affected by feelings of irritation and appearing watery or bloodshot.Rosacea , also referred to as Acne Rosacea, is a chronic and potentially life-disruptive disorder primarily of the facial skin. Rosacea is often characterized by flare-ups and remissions. Many have observed that it typically begins any time after age 30, as a redness on the cheeks, nose, chin or forehead that may come and go. In some cases, Rosacea may also occur on the neck, chest, scalp or ears. Over time, the redness becomes ruddier and more persistent, and visible blood vessels may appear. Left untreated, bumps and pimples often develop, and in severe cases the nose may grow swollen and bumpy from excess tissue. This condition, called Rhinophyma (pronounced “rhi-no-FY-muh”), gave the late comedian W.C. Fields his trademark bulbous nose. In many Rosacea patients, the eyes are also affected by feelings of irritation and appearing watery or bloodshot.
Who Gets It?
Rosacea most often affects middle-age and older adults. It is more common in women (particularly during menopause) than men. Although rosacea can develop in people of any skin color, it tends to occur most frequently and is most apparent in people with fair skin.
It is estimated that rosacea affects 45,000,000 people worldwide, with an approximate 14,000,000 sufferers in the US alone.
While women are 3 times more likely than men to develop rosacea, men are more likely to develop Rhinophyma.
Is It Contagious?
Rosacea is not considered contagious or infectious. There is no evidence that rosacea can be spread by contact with the skin, sharing towels, or through inhalation.
Signs and Symptoms :
- Many people with rosacea have a history of frequent blushing or flushing. This facial redness may come and go, and is often the earliest sign of the disorder.
- Persistent Redness
- Persistent facial redness is the most common individual sign of rosacea, and may resemble a blush or sunburn that does not go away.
- Bumps and Pimples
- Small red solid bumps or pus-filled pimples often develop. While these may resemble acne, blackheads are absent and burning or stinging may occur.
- Visible Blood Vessels
- In many people with rosacea, small blood vessels become visible on the skin.
- Eye Irritation
- In many people with rosacea, the eyes may be irritated and appear watery or bloodshot, a condition known as ocular rosacea. The eyelids also may become red and swollen, and styes are common. Severe cases can result in corneal damage and vision loss without medical help.
- Burning or Stinging
- Burning or stinging sensations may often occur on the face. Itching or a feeling of tightness may also develop.
- Dry Appearance
- The central facial skin may be rough, and thus appear to be very dry.
- Raised red patches, known as plaques, may develop without changes in the surrounding skin.
- Skin Thickening
- The skin may thicken and enlarge from excess tissue, most commonly on the nose. This condition, known as rhinophyma, affects more men than women.
- Facial swelling, known as edema, may accompany other signs of rosacea or occur independently.
- Signs Beyond the Face
- Rosacea signs and symptoms may also develop beyond the face, most commonly on the neck, chest, scalp or ears.
Subtypes of Rosacea
There are four subtypes of Rosacea. It is possible to have more than one subtype :-
These include the following:
- Facial Redness (Erythematotelangiectatic Rosacea)- Rosacea sufferers frequently have persistent facial redness, with a tendency to flush and blush easily. It is also common to have small, widened blood vessels visible near the surface of the skin in some patients, and stinging, burning, swelling and roughness or scaling may occur. People with this ETR type often have sensitive skin. Skin can also become very dry and flaky. In addition to the face, signs can also appear on the ears, neck, chest, upper back, and scalp.
- Bumps and Pimples(Papulopustular Rosacea)– In addition to persistent redness, bumps (papules) and/or pimples (pustules) are common in many rosacea sufferers. Some patients may also experience raised red patches known as plaques.
This is the classic presentation of rosacea; features include the following:
- Patients are typically women of middle age
- Patients usually present with a red central portion of the face containing small erythematous papules surmounted by pinpoint pustules
- Patient may describe a history of flushing
- Telangiectasias are likely present but may be difficult to distinguish from the erythematous background in which they exist
- Enlargement of the Nose (Phymatous Rosacea)– Rosacea may be associated with enlargement of the nose from excess tissue, a condition known as rhinophyma. This may include thickening of the skin and irregular surface nodules, which in rare cases may also develop in areas other than the nose.
- Eye Irritation (Ocular Rosacea)- Rosacea affects the eyes in many patients, and may result in a watery or bloodshot appearance, irritation and burning or stinging. The eyelids may also become swollen, and styes are common.
Potential Rosacea Triggers
According to NHS Online, there are number of common triggers that may make the condition worse:
- Mustard, pepper, vinegar, pickles or spicy foods
- Excessive heat
- Direct sunshine
- Dairy products
- Topical steroids
- Exposure to sunlight
- Hot or cold weather
- Hot baths
- Strong winds
- Strenuous exercise
- Hot drinks
- Other medical conditions
Rosacea can cause complications that affect you physically and psychologically.
In other surveys by the NRS, more than 90 percent of rosacea patients said their condition had lowered their self-confidence and self-esteem, and 41 percent reported that it had caused them to avoid public contact or cancel social engagements. Among rosacea patients with severe symptoms, 88 percent said the disorder had adversely affected their professional interactions, and 51 percent said they had even missed work because of their condition.
Any chronic (long-term) condition can have an adverse psychological effect, but rosacea can be particularly troublesome because it affects your appearance. This can change how you feel about yourself and how you interact with others.
According to www.rosacea.org :-
“Because of its red-faced, acne-like effects on personal appearance, however, it can cause significant psychological, social and occupational problems if left untreated.
Many people with rosacea have reported feelings of:
- low self-esteem
Rosacea that affects your eyes (ocular rosacea) can lead to a number of eye conditions.
Blepharitis (inflammation of the eyelids) is the most commonly reported eye condition resulting from rosacea. It can usually be successfully treated by adopting a daily eye-cleaning regime and by using antibiotic tablets and creams.
Up to one in 20 people with rosacea may experience symptoms that affect their cornea (the clear outer layer at the front of the eyeball). This can:
- make your eyes bloodshot and watery
- cause scarring of your cornea
In severe cases, if not treated, ocular rosacea can lead to vision loss. Your GP may refer you for treatment with an ophthalmologist (a doctor who specialises in eye conditions and their treatment or surgery).