So, What Causes Rosacea Anyway?


What causes Rosacea? This is the question that doctors have been trying to answer for some time now. Interestingly, it is a condition that has affected a large portion of the American population and yet very few even know what it is.

Rosacea is a chronic inflammatory disease characterized by a constant redness that primarily affects the face. Other symptoms of rosacea include pimples, facial disfiguration and eye problems. In its early stages many people confuse rosacea with acne or eczema and since there is no clinical test for it, it is often misdiagnosed. However, if rosacea goes untreated for too long it can lead to serious discomfort and possible blindness.

Knowing the Signs

Every person develops different rosacea symptoms, but there are several indicators, listed below, that are present in most cases.

  • Flushing (Excessive Blushing)
  • Persistent Redness
  • Hyper-reactive Skin
  • Spots, bumps and pimples
  • Excess skin build up around the nose
  • Facial Swelling
  • Eye Irritation

Easily blushing is the earliest sign of rosacea and these episodes often last up to five minutes. Eventually these episodes can lead to persistent red patches that look something like sunburn. The skin on your face will soon start to become highly reactive to some stimuli and then the pimples begin to appear.

The major difference between acne and rosacea is the fact that there are no blackheads present with rosacea. You are entering the more severe stages when the skin tissue begins to build up around your nose, causing it swell. This is known as rhinophyma.

In even more severe cases fluid begins to leak from the lymphatic system causing your face to swell. The final indicator is an irritation around the eye, called ocular rosacea, which is characterized by a burning sensation and bloodshot eyes. Styes, small red bumps, form on your eyelids and can lead to further infection if they burst.

Knowing What Causes Rosacea

While doctors are not definitive on what causes rosacea, they have found many factors that have been connected with increased risk of developing the condition.

  • Light Skin Color
  • Family History
  • Microscopic Mites
  • Intestinal Bacteria

There is a much higher percentage of fair skinned people who have developed rosacea and between thirty and forty percent of patients have a close relative who also has the condition. This points strongly towards a genetic link. However, there is also evidence that some bacteria might be the culprit. It produces a protein that causes blood vessel dilation, which is a key factor in the rosacea. And there is the final mystery of the over-abundance of mites on the affected.

Knowing the Triggers of What Causes Rosacea

Though it seems that a cure for rosacea won’t exist in the near future, doctors have identified several factors that can aggravate the condition and possibly help in its development.

The factors are compiled below:

  • Sun Exposure
  • Indoor Heat
  • Emotional Stress
  • Caffeine
  • Alcohol
  • Vigorous Exercise
  • Extreme Temperatures

These are all triggers that increase the blood flow to the skin’s surface. Of course, it is nearly impossible to escape the sun or the temperature outside, because they are part of your daily life. However, you can wear a broad-brimmed hat when you leave the house for protection.

You can also cut back on soda and beer and drink more water instead. Try some low intensity exercise, like yoga or aerobics rather than running or lifting weights. These are small changes, but they go a long way in slowing the progression of rosacea and preventing flare-ups.

Knowing How to Treat Rosacea

When the condition starts to become more serious, doctors will often prescribe a mixture of topical creams and oral drugs, but it takes time to find the proper combination for you.

  • Erythromycin, an oral antibiotic
  • Blephamide, a steroid eye drop
  • Accutane, to stop the production of oils that can aggravated the affected area

The first stage in the rosacea treatment is to get control of the immediate symptoms. Depending on the severity of your case, this might include the Blephamide if you are having eye irritation and would definitely include the topical creams and antibiotics.

If the condition worsens then accutane will be prescribed. It is a very powerful oral medicine, but requires constant monitoring because of dangerous side effects. Once the symptoms are under control, the laser surgery might be applied as a long-term treatment. It is considered one of the best treatments for removing dilated veins and correcting facial disfigurement.

It is unfortunate that we do not have a complete understanding of a disease that so many people around the world have. Hopefully, by looking at the evidence that has been gathered so far and understanding the factors that trigger the condition we will be able to develop a proper way to diagnose and eventually understand what causes rosacea.


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