Rosacea is a chronic, inflammatory skin disease that causes redness and swelling on the face. Rosacea begins with a tendency to blush or flush easily and can progress to more persistent redness in the centre of the face, gradually involving the cheeks, forehead and chin.
As the disease progresses further, small capillaries and tiny pimples begin to appear on and around the reddened area. Skin often becomes more sensitive, reacting to both internal and external factors, for example, a change in temperature, stress or certain dietary choices like red wine and spicy foods, can cause increased redness and sensitivity.
If Rosacea is left untreated it can worsen, leaving some patients with constant inflammation, sensitivity and often water red pustules, resulting in Acne Rosacea. Rosacea skin can either be oily or dry, with some areas of flakiness. It is also common for patients to get irritation around the eye area causing inflammation, grittiness and discomfort.
Who gets Rosacea?
Rosacea affects adults, usually between the ages of 30 and 55. Women are diagnosed with Rosacea more frequently than men, but men tend to experience more severe symptoms, such as a swollen, distended nose area and more broken capillaries.
What causes Rosacea?
The cause of Rosacea is a bit of a mystery, there are lots of theories but not one definitive answer. Many believe there is a genetic component to the condition whereas the most recent research points to an elevated protein in the skin, called Cathelicidin.
Another theory is that a mite, the Dermadex Folliculorum, commonly found in the skin, can trigger an inflammation in some people. This is thought to be related to the presence of an excess layer of superficial blood vessels, which are more sensitive to external stimuli than an average resilient skin.
There is also some evidence to suggest that an impaired gut function may be the cause (maybe from taking long term antibiotics).
Lastly, some researchers believe that those with Rosacea have an impaired barrier function of the skin and are therefore much more at risk of developing inflammatory skin conditions. It is thought that blood vessels multiply to try and help feed the surface of the skin and improve its barrier function. These ideas relating to the new field of Corneotherapy are gaining much credence.
Regardless of the cause, there are plenty of factors that can make rosacea worse! Basically, anything that causes a rush of blood to the face or irritates the surface of the skin is an issue.
For those diagnosed and subsequently treated for this condition, relief from Rosacea symptoms can be quickly apparent.
All of these are triggers:
Over the counter skin products that aren’t suited to your skin type.
Heavy or strenuous exercise
Topical steroid creams and other topical medications that can thin the skin.
Spicy foods, alcohol, and caffeine (especially hot beverages like tea and coffee)
Although there is current no cure for Rosacea, correct treatment and maintenance can relieve red flushes and sensitivity within the skin.