We Know: All About Rosacea
What is rosacea?
Rosacea is a chronic (long-term) disease that affects the skin and sometimes the eyes. The disorder is characterized by redness, pimples, and, in advanced stages, thickened skin. Rosacea usually affects the face; other parts of the upper body are only rarely involved.
Who gets rosacea?
Approximately 14 million people in the United States have rosacea. It most often affects adults between the ages of 30 and 60.
What does rosacea look like?
There are several symptoms and conditions associated with rosacea. These include frequent flushing, vascular rosacea, inflammatory rosacea, and several other conditions involving the skin, eyes, and nose.
How is the eye affected?
Up to 50 percent of people who have rosacea have eye problems caused by the condition. Typical symptoms include redness, dryness, itching, burning, tearing, and the sensation of having sand in the eye.
What causes rosacea?
Doctors do not know the exact cause of rosacea but believe that some people may inherit a tendency to develop the disorder.
Although the following factors have not been well-researched, some people claim that one or more of them have aggravated their rosacea: heat (including hot baths), strenuous exercise, sunlight, wind, very cold temperatures, hot or spicy foods and drinks, alcohol consumption, menopause, emotional stress, and long-term use of topical steroids on the face.
Can rosacea be cured?
Although there is no cure for rosacea, it can be treated and controlled. Some doctors will prescribe a topical antibiotic, such as metronidazole, which is applied directly to the affected skin. For people with more severe cases, doctors often prescribe an oral (taken by mouth) antibiotic. Tetracycline, minocycline, erythromycin, and doxycycline are the most common antibiotics used to treat rosacea. The papules and pustules symptomatic of rosacea may respond quickly to treatment, but the redness and flushing are less likely to improve.
Electrosurgery and laser surgery are treatment options if red lines caused by dilated blood vessels appear in the skin or if rhinophyma develops. For some patients, laser surgery may improve the skin's appearance with little scarring or damage. For patients with rhinophyma, surgical removal of the excess tissue to reduce the size of the nose usually will improve the patient's appearance.