Rosacea: Understanding the Skin Condition and its Treatment Options

Rosacea is a chronic skin condition characterized by periodic episodes of visible blushing or flushing of the face, typically affecting the nose, cheeks, forehead, and sometimes ears. While it is more common in individuals with paler skin, smokers, and those with a family history of rosacea, it can also occur in individuals with darker skin types. In darker skin types, rosacea may manifest as skin sensitivity, causing a burning sensation when exposed to sunlight or hot beverages. In severe cases, persistent redness on certain areas of the face can be unsightly.

Causes of Rosacea:

The exact cause of rosacea remains unknown, but it can be triggered or exacerbated by various factors, including environmental, hormonal, immune-mediated, hereditary, or a combination of these. Common triggers include:

  1. Exposure to extreme hot or cold weather conditions.
  2. Certain medications, like blood pressure medications with vasodilating properties.
  3. Consumption of hot, spicy foods, beverages, and alcohol, particularly red wine.
  4. Emotional factors such as stress and anger.
  5. Physical activities like aerobic exercises and running.
  6. Smoking.
  7. Certain skin infections.
  8. Changes in immune status.
  9. Increased production of the gastric hormone “gastrin,” leading to elevated skin sensitivity.
  10. Demodex mites on the skin.
  11. Abnormal processing of the protein “cathelicidin.”
  12. Hereditary factors.

Different Subtypes of Rosacea:

  1. Vascular Rosacea: Characterized by visible redness, facial flushing, and broken blood vessels. The skin may become swollen, and sensitivity can cause burning and stinging. Dryness with flaking or roughness may also be present.
  2. Inflammatory Rosacea: Associated with extreme redness, swelling, and pus-filled acne, often accompanied by episodic flare-ups. Common in individuals with oily skin and extreme skin sensitivity. Telangiectasias (visible broken vessels) and raised reddish skin patches (plaques) may also be present.
  3. Phymatous Rosacea: A rare subtype with evident thickening of the skin, typically on the nose. The skin may feel bumpy, and in long-standing cases, a visible deformity known as Rhinophyma may develop due to proliferation of underlying sebaceous glands and connective tissue.
  4. Ocular Rosacea: A subtype affecting the eyes, causing redness, irritation, increased sensitivity to light, and swelling around the eyes. This can lead to sore eyelids, watery and bloodshot eyes, and crusting around the base of the eyelashes (blepharitis).

Treatment Options:

Treatment for rosacea depends on its severity. Mild cases can be managed with topical creams and anti-inflammatory agents, along with personalized skincare routines. In moderate to severe cases, oral medications may be prescribed for immediate relief and symptom reduction. Procedures like IPL (Intense Pulse Light Laser), electrodessication, and dermabrasion can be used to target visible blood vessels and overactive sebaceous tissue.

Long-Term Outcome:

Rosacea is a chronic condition that can become aggressive if left untreated. Managing triggers and adhering to a personalized skincare routine, along with emotional support, are essential for long-term management, as rosacea can negatively impact the quality of life and social interactions, leading to anxiety and depression. Identifying individual triggers and seeking the guidance of dermatologists at Dr. Samatha Clinic can significantly improve the management of this condition in the long run.