Ever wondered why someone is perpetually red in the face or has had a severe breakout? They could be suffering from rosacea.
What is rosacea?
Rosacea (pronounced rose-AYsha)is a chronic and potentially life-disruptive disorder, primarily of the facial skin. It is often characterised by redness and little bumps like pimples.
Says cosmetic, plastic and laser surgeon Dr Lakshyajit D Dhami, “Though more frequently diagnosed in women, more severe symptoms are seen in men — perhaps because they often delay seeking medical advice until the disorder reaches advanced stages. People who suffer from rosacea feel less confident and it causes significant psychological, social and occupational problems.”
Earlier, rosacea was more commonly seen in people over the age of 30, says dermatologist and cosmetologist Dr Sadhana Deshmukh. However, today, it is even seen in young girls. “The disorder causes redness on the nose, cheeks, chin and forehead, which is called as the butterfly area of the face. Some people get bumps and pimples on the face. Rosacea can also cause a burning sensation and soreness in the eyes,” she says.
Blushing or flushing of cheeks, nose, chin or forehead, which may come and go. Persistent facial redness. Small, red solid bumps or pus-filled pimples, which burn or sting. Small, visible blood vessels. Watery, red and swollen eyes. Burning or stinging sensation on the face along with itchiness and tightness. Rough and dry central facial skin. Raised red patches, known as plaques, develop without changes in the surrounding skin. Skin may thicken and enlarge from excess tissue, most commonly on the nose. Facial swelling. In some cases, the symptoms also develop in the neck, chest, scalp and ears. Sensitive or dry skin that may burn, sting or itch. Skin that gets coarser and thicker, with a bumpy texture.
What triggers it
Exposure to extreme temperatures. Heat from sunlight.
Stress, anxiety or heavy exercise.
Extremely cold winds.
Spicy food and drinks, including alcohol and caffeine. Smoking is also a cause.
Certain drugs and topical irritants.
Some acne or anti-wrinkle treatments.
Use of some topical steroids.
Since the symptoms of rosacea vary from patient to patient, treatment is also done accordingly.
“Initially, various oral and topical medications are prescribed to treat bumps, pimples and redness — this brings the condition under control.Once that is achieved, patients can reduce the risk of another flare-up by identifying and avoiding various lifestyle and environmental factors that trigger the condition.
In some cases, vascular specific laser treatment may be used to remove visible blood vessels (telangiectasia) and reduce extensive redness (erythema) and acne-like bumps,” says Dr Dhami.
Vascular laser machines use light to penetrate the epidermis, to target capillaries in the dermis layer of the skin. This light is absorbed by Oxy-Haemoglobin, which heats up, causing the capillary walls to heat up to 70 °C (158 °F). It damages them, causing them to be absorbed by the body’s natural defence mechanism. “With sufficient number of sittings, this method may eliminate redness altogether. Additional periodic treatments may be necessary to remove recurrent or newly formed capillaries. In severe cases of rosacea, which leads to rhinophyma (disfigurement of the nose because of thickened and enlarged skin from excessive tissues), the tissues can be removed or ablated (vapourised) with cosmetic surgery or ablative lasers,” he says.
Adds Dr Deshmukh, “Redness and breakouts can be treated with low-dose antibiotics or skin creams, under a doctor’s supervision. Dry and sensitive skin can be protected with suitable products like non-comedogenic moisturisers and sunscreen. Thickened or bumpy skin on the face can be treated with dermato-cosmetic surgeries/ ablative lasers or ablative radiofrequency.
Identify the triggers and avoid them.
Stay out of the sun between 10 am and 4 pm. When you are outdoors, wear a sunscreen that is rated SPF 30 or higher. If your skin is dry, use a moisturiser with sunscreen. Be gentle with your skin. Use products for sensitive skin, and try not to rub or scrub.
5 common triggers
Stress, excessive exposure to harsh sunlight, spicy food, alcohol and smoking.Leave a reply →