What Causes Rosacea?

Rosacea. It’s not a person’s name. It’s not a flower. It’s not something fun, but for many people across the world, it is a daily part of life. In the wake of a recent tragedy in England- where a woman cited the condition as the reason for committing suicide- the condition is getting a particularly bad rap. But the reasons for this woman’s severe actions lay in something deeper and darker than a simple skin condition. In reality, rosacea is a highly treatable condition that has a high likelihood for remission. Let’s take a look at what causes rosacea, so we can learn what to do to treat it.

Inside What Causes Rosacea, And What It Is

Ultimately, doctors have been unable to specifically pinpoint what causes rosacea. The cause remains a mysterious unknown. Researchers are confident in the potential to discover the causes of this condition, which will of course help with its management and eventual cure. However, in the meantime, they have managed to deduce a link between rosacea and those individuals who have fair skin. Those who have a family history of rosacea, for instance, have a higher likelihood of coming down with the condition. People of Celtic, English, or Irish descent have also shown a high risk for one day developing this pesky skin condition.

The jury may still be out on the exact cause of this phenomenon, but several theories are being formulated. These include, but are certainly not limited to, sun exposure, medicines that are known to make blood vessels widen, and even a small mite that is sometimes found in hair follicles, known as Demodex folliculorum. This mite is a perfectly normal inhabitant of human skin, and is useful because it dead skin cells. Its presence, however, is much higher in rosacea patients, for some reason. There is a wide array of potential catalysts for this condition. Even being a woman between 30 and 60 heightens one’s chances of having to live with the condition.

But just what is rosacea? The clinical definition is that it is a chronic condition of the skin in which the face becomes inflamed. This can cause facial redness, and commonly produces small red bumps that are filled with pus (these are also known as pustules). Often mistaken for acne or eczema, if the condition is left untreated, it can worsen over time.

What an Onset of Rosacea Feels Like

A typical flare up of rosacea is usually defined as a dilation of blood vessels very close to the surface of the face. It usually affects what are known as the “blush areas”, or those sections of the face where people turn red the most easily. This has many experts hypothesizing that the condition could be a vascular disorder. In some cases, blushing episodes become so deep that the blood vessels beneath the face become visible.

The Nervous System and Thickening Tissues

A few physicians also speculate that the nervous system could be to blame for this frequent facial flush, since the blushing tends to have a link to emotion (more on that later). Another theory about what causes rosacea is that the increase in blood flow during a flush episode can result in an increase of tissue fluid. When this fluid is accumulating too quickly, the lymphatic system becomes overwhelmed and cannot remove it, which could very likely be the reason for a thickening in tissue around the face and nose.

Could It Be Bacteria?

Helicobacter pylori, a bacterium that plays a contributing role in duodenal ulcers, may also play a part in spurring on rosacea, possibly due to its ability to raise gastrin levels that can stimulate redness. This bacteria is equally as present in rosacea patients as in those who do not have it, so it is difficult to prove this theory’s validity.

Don’t Get So Emotional, Baby

As mentioned earlier, the nervous system seems to play a key role in the frequency of many patients’ flare ups. Strong negative emotions like fear, anxiety, and embarrassment can easily aggravate rosacea. This may be why so many flare ups are reported during the holidays from Christmas to New Years. Coincidentally, alcohol consumption can also spur on a flare up. Which means alcohol + anxiety can equal a huge attack of rosacea symptoms. Of course, telling a person not to be stressed out when they are in the middle of an anxiety attack is like telling a forest fire to stop burning.

Speaking of weather, flare ups can also be caused by strong shifts in humidity, or even strong winds. Exposure to sun is another potential catalyst that can aggravate what causes rosacea. So bust out your best hat and sunscreen, these can be powerful weapons against a flare up.

What Are the Statistics?

According to study, one in every 20 Americans have been estimated to be living with Rosacea. This means over 14 million people across the country are affected, some of whom may have received a misdiagnosis of acne. The condition seems to be more common in people of fair skin, particularly those who have ancestral roots in northern Europe, but many cases have also been reported in different regions of Asia. Some surveys have also reported that 78% of Americans know next to nothing about the condition, or what causes rosacea. In spreading the information, common knowledge can be expanded, and we can get closer to pinpointing the exact cause and cure of of this condition.

While nothing can be confirmed on exactly what causes rosacea, there is plenty that can be done to take preventative measures. Protection from the sun is a good idea for your skin anyway, and practicing moderation (or even abstinence) when consuming spicy food or alcohol can also lessen the impact of a potential flare up. When battling a breakout of rosacea, it is best to simply use common sense, and keep your emotions in check as much as possible. This is a highly treatable condition, and life can easily feel just like it used to, as long as you are smart about it.

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