Categorized | Rosacea

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Rosacea: And The Many Complexities of This Stupborn Disorder

Rosacea (ro-zay-sha) is a fairly common skin condition which produces facial erythema (redness) and in some cases can feature pimples as well. More women are infected with Rosacea than men, and most often begins to materialize between the ages of 30 and 60.

When asking “what is rosacea”, it’s helpful to know that the condition has four different subtypes. Three of them affect the skin and the forth is an ocular type, where your eyes are the target.

The first type is erythematotelangiectatic. Rather than trying to pronounce it, just know that permanent redness is its main characteristic. The flushed appearance will mainly appear across the cheeks, nose and forehead. Also common, are small blood vessels and/or tiny red bumps (papules) on the skin’s surface. In addition to the skin possibly becoming dry and flaky, symptoms can also appear on the ears, neck, chest, upper back, and scalp.

The second type is Papulopustular rosacea. This type includes redness with papules, some pus filled (pastules). The symptoms of this subtype can vary, and is easily confused with ordinary acne.

With Phymatous rosacea, an enlargement of the nose may occur. Symptoms include thickening skin, and irregular surface nodules. Phymatous rosacea can also affect the chin, forehead, cheeks, eyelids and ears. In addition, the small blood vessels described earlier, may be present.

In the aforementioned Ocular rosacea, the sufferer will experience red, dry, gritty, eyes and eyelids, which might even develop cysts. Other symptoms may include itching, burning, stinging, and sensitivity to light. Eyes are more susceptible to infection and about half of those with subtypes 1-3 also have eye symptoms.

As you can see, the symptoms of rosacea depend upon which type has taken hold, even though similarities are present with each type.

Rosacea is caused by a myriad of environmental factors. Doctors and clinicians alike have yet not been successful in coming to any clear determinations as to its direct cause.

There’s a whole laundry list of factors where rosacea sufferers answered a survey attempting to pinpoint which conditions seemed to aggravate the disorder. Exposure to direct sun came in on top. Everything else from spicy foods to heavy exercise, emotional stress, and certain cosmetics, all made the survey list. But again, research cannot pinpoint anything specific, and those with the condition could not even agree that eliminating a particular irritant made much, if any difference in the progression or severity of rosacea. It has been noted that certain foods, drinks (including alcohol) and sharply changing outdoor temperatures, can cause a sudden onset of facial flushing. These factors may, in part, play a role in the development of the condition in the first place.

There is currently no single test for rosacea and many, who have it, may never be diagnosed. Usually though, a visual inspection is all that’s required.

Rosacea treatments are usually topical or oral in nature. Although not normally expected to completely eliminate the condition, the use of topical creams will usually send the redness into temporary remission. Suspension of such treatments will often cause the redness to reappear within a short time. Each person is different, in that the result of the treatment will vary. Permanent remission has been known to occur. So don’t be under the illusion that treatment is a lost cause.

I am also a rosacea sufferer. Topical treatments have been continuing now for several weeks as of this writing.

There’s been nothing noted regarding heredity, however my sister is a sufferer as well.

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