What is Rosacea and Who Can Be Affected?
Rosacea is a condition of the facial skin characterized by flushing and redness of the cheeks. It most often begins in middle age, but can occur in early adulthood as well. More than 14 million people in the United States have the condition. Most people who are affected have a fair complexion, and an Eastern European or Celtic heritage is common. Women are more often affected than men, but the severity tends to be higher in men. While it is generally not debilitating, the psychological effects can be quite strong, with a loss of self-confidence as rosacea sufferers are embarrassed by their appearance.
Is Demodex the Cause of Rosacea?
The cause of this disorder is not well understood. Blood vessels in the facial skin dilate more readily than they should. These wider vessels hold more blood, which is what causes the flushing and sensation of heat. Microscopic mites called Demodex are often found in the skin of people who have rosacea, but it is not known whether they are a cause or if the skin is somehow made more hospitable to them by the effects of the condition. Bacteria, tissue damage, or some defect of the circulatory system or immune system are other possibilities for a root cause, but there is no strong evidence for any one at this time. Most likely, a combination of factors, including, perhaps, genetic factors, combine to set up the circumstances under which the rosacea disorder appears.
What Are the Types of Rosacea?
There are four subtypes of rosacea. A patient may have only one or two of the subtypes, or, especially in advanced, untreated cases, all four may be present.
- Rosacea Subtype 1 is a flushing and redness across the nose and cheeks. Blood vessels may become more visible. Often, the forehead and chin are involved as well. Flushing may occur in response to certain foods, hot temperatures, and alcohol, and tends to persist for hours or days. A stinging sensation or tightness of the skin may be felt in the affected area.
- Rosacea Subtype 2 is a persistent facial redness with the development of papules and pustules which come and go. While they may resemble the comedones of acne vulgaris, these pustules are not the same as pimples.
- Rosacea Subtype 3 is a thickening of the skin on and around the nose, called rhinophyma. It lends a bulbous appearance to the nose and may require surgical intervention to correct. Rhinophyma is more common in men than in women.
- In Rosacea Subtype 4 the eyes are irritated, bloodshot, and watery with burning or stinging.
How and When Does Rosacea Progress?
In most cases, progression of the rosacea disorder begins with Rosacea Subtype 1. Depending on how diffuse the redness is, the patient may not recognize that this is anything more than normal flushing. Even when noted, it may not be considered anything to see a doctor about until the condition progresses to the pustules of Rosacea Subtype 2. The sooner treatment is started, the easier it is to get the condition under control. It does not worsen with age, but if left untreated, will most likely progress in severity. There is no cure, but it can be managed with medication and lifestyle changes. Diagnosis is made by a dermatologist based on an examination of the skin during a flare-up. There is no laboratory test that can detect it. Photographs of the patient may be helpful, if the scheduling of an appointment during an outbreak proves to be difficult.
What Does Conventional Medical Treatment Offer?
Conventional medical treatment involves a topical metronidazole cream or gel to be placed on the affected area daily. Sometimes, an oral antibiotic is prescribed for its anti-inflammatory properties. However, their use should be limited because of the risk of contributing to the development of antibiotic-resistant strains of bacteria. In extreme cases which prove resistant to conventional treatment, isotretinoin may be used. This is a very powerful chemical which is most often used to treat acne vulgaris. It has some very serious side effects and should not be used if at all possible.
Conventional Medicine – Pros and Cons. Alternatives?
These medical treatments may be effective, but they are harsh and do nothing to help the skin become healthy again. Herbal and botanical-based products should be used, along with or in place of conventional treatments, in order to support the skin. They are effective in calming irritated and inflamed skin to reduce flare-ups, while also improving oxygen exchange and providing nutrients that the skin needs to produce vital collagen. Products like the Zenmed Rosacea Skin Support System contain all-natural ingredients which are proven to combat inflammation, bacterial overgrowth, and dull, dry skin.
How To Find Out What Worsens Rosacea in Your Personal Case?
The things that trigger an outbreak are different for every person with rosacea. Common triggers are spicy foods, alcohol, strenuous exercise, sun exposure, and stress. Many find that cosmetics or skin-care products are irritating. The best way to determine what one’s own triggers are is through keeping a journal. Every day, the weather conditions, activities, and foods and beverages consumed are entered into the diary. The status of the skin is recorded as well. Patterns will emerge that can lead the patient to discover what his or her flare-up triggers are. Then, steps can be taken to avoid or minimize them. For example, if exercise is found to be a trigger, rather than giving up the other significant benefits of exercise, a damp towel can be used to cool the face during a workout. In addition to avoiding those foods which are found to be triggers, consuming a diet that is high in alkaline foods has been shown to be helpful for rosacea patients. There are many charts that can be found on the internet detailing which foods are best for such a diet, and which should be avoided.
Consequences If You Do Not Treat Rosacea
Left untreated, rosacea tends to increase in severity and frequency of outbreaks. The ocular subtype can result in corneal damage and vision loss without treatment. In addition to treating the symptoms of the condition, the skin as a whole should be treated to support its general health and build its resistance to inflammation. Gentle, natural over-the-counter treatments like Zenmed® Treatment help the skin return to a healthy state so outbreaks are less likely.