Is Rosacea A Skin Disorder – A Complex Question


rosaceaRosacea is a chronic condition which affects sixteen million people in the USA alone. There are four different sub-types of rosacea, each with their own identifying characteristics.

Rosacea is not particularly well understood, and the answer to the question ‘is rosacea a skin disorder?’ is more complex than it may first appear.

Conditions that are comorbid with rosacea include migraines, seboherric dermatitis and actinic keratoses. Many rosacea sufferers go on to develop depression because of the difficulties in managing their condition.

The most common kinds of rosacea affect the face, causing redness, rashes and spots. However, the fourth kind of rosacea, known as ocular rosacea, affects the eyes.

Because rosacea is so poorly understood, many sufferers use skin creams, acne treatments and even makeup in an attempt to treat the spots or the rash, without realising that there is an underlying cause.

Who Suffers From Rosacea?

Rosacea can affect all age groups, and occurs in both sexes, although women are three times more likely to suffer from it than men. The condition is more likely to affect those of northwestern European origins, but other ethnic groups have been known to suffer from it. While it is possible to be born with rosacea, adult-onset of the condition is commonplace, and onset usually occurs between the ages of 30 and 60.

If left untreated, rosacea the symptoms of rosacea can worsen, so it is important to try to manage it with the use of oral antibiotics, and also to try to avoid triggers. While some people wonder ‘is rosacea a skin disorder?’, a more correct question would be ‘how can the condition be managed?’.

Avoiding Rosacea Triggers

Rosacea attacks usually start as flare-ups of redness across the cheeks, nose and forehead, although not all forms of rosacea limit themselves to only affecting the visible area of the face. Some forms of rosacea can affect the neck, scalp and even chest.

Severe forms of rosacea can lead to almost permanent redness, known as telangiectasia, which is caused by prolonged dilation of the face’s blood vessels. Red bump can appear on the skin, and rhinophyma (a red, lobulated nose) can also develop.

Treating rosacea when an attack occurs can lessen the symptoms, but it is difficult to get rid of them completely. The best option for sufferers is to avoid triggers.

While many people, including doctors, wonder ‘is rosacea a skin disorder’, this simplistic question merely confuses the issue. Rosacea can be caused by dietary, environmental and psychological factors. Common triggers for rosacea include:

  • Prolonged exposure to bright sunlight
  • Moving from a very cold room to a warmer one
  • Certain foods and beverages (sufferers are advised to keep a food diary to determine what triggers attacks in their instance)
  • Severe stress
  • Working in a sweaty or dirty environment

Treatments for Rosacea

Sufferers have several treatment options, depending on the severity of their condition, which kind of rosacea they have, and how frequent attacks are. The most common kind of treatment is a combination of oral antibiotics and topical antibiotics, which are prescribed by doctors and dermatologists to help treat papules, bumps and lesions.

In some cases, beta blockers are used to reduce flushing, although this treatment is rarely used unless the patient displays other symptoms as well as the flushing.

Some rosacea sufferers are also afflicted with allergies, and find that antihistamines help with both conditions. There is no evidence, however, to indicate that antihistamines can help rosacea sufferers who are allergy free. For most people, changing their lifestyle to avoid triggers is the best option.

Another common treatment is laser treatment to damage the capillaries near the surface of the skin. The damaged capillaries are absorbed by the body.

With repeated treatments, it is possible to remove most of the capillaries in the affected area of the face, completely eliminating the skin’s redness. However, capillaries are repaired over time, so the patient may need to return for repeated treatments every few years.

Rosacea can be an embarrassing condition, and some people find that the lesions on the skin actually cause them physical pain. Managing rosacea is currently a matter of trial and error, and there is now known lifelong cure for the condition.

Research is still being carried out to determine what causes rosacea and to help sufferers understand their triggers.


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