Rosacea is a chronic disease characterized by facial erythema (redness) and in some cases pimples. Rosacea affects both sexes, yet women are three times more likely to develop this disease. It is more common in individuals who come from a Celtic or Scandinavian decent as well as those who have blonde hair and blue eyes. Typically it peaks between the ages of 30 to 60 years old. Unless it affects the eyes, it is generally a harmless cosmetic condition; however, given the chronic facial redness and acne, rosacea can reduce a person’s quality of life where many have reported issues at work, in their marriage, and social life.
The exact cause of rosacea is still to be determined. However, the medical community has identified some significant markers; for example, genetics (meaning rosacea can be predispositionally passed down through generations). Other key findings that may trigger rosacea are: an immune response to the bacteria B. oleronius or H. pylori; an immunological reaction from the mite Demodex; and from the abnormal metabolism of the protein cathelicidin.
Due to the nature of rosacea having such a wide variety of presentations, the medical community has created 4 subtypes of rosacea based off its symptoms and clinical appearances. It is common for some people to have more than one rosacea subtype concertedly. Some key findings for each subtype are as follows: Subtype 1: facial redness, flushing, visible blood vessels; Subtype 2: acne-like breakouts; Subtype 3: thickening skin; Subtype 4: watery, burning, dry eyes.
We will begin by asking for your complete medical history; for example, whether you are on any medications, recent injuries or illnesses, mental health, and any family members with rosacea. Next, we may complete a physical examination assessing your skin to determine if rosacea is present.
We will determine what therapeutic regime is best for you based on the diagnosed rosacea subtype, for each subtype requires a different approach. Common types of treatments for each category include: medication (cream, oral, or eye emulsion), antibiotics, laser therapy, an emollient (helps repair the skin), and sunscreen; which may help in preventing a flare-up. In some cases, we may be able to remove thickening skin that appears on the nose and other parts of the face by utilizing one or more of the following procedures: electrocautery, dermabrasion, and lasers.