What is Rosacea?
is a chronic condition characterized by facial erythema (redness). Pimples are sometimes included as part of the definition. Unless it affects the eyes, it is typically a harmless cosmetic condition. Treatment in the form of topical steroids can aggravate the condition.
It primarily affects Caucasians of mainly north western European descent and has been nicknamed the 'curse of the Celts' by some in Britain and Ireland, but can also affect people of other ethnicities. Rosacea affects both sexes, but is almost three times more common in women. It has a peak age of onset between 30 and 60.
Rosacea typically begins as redness on the central face across the cheeks, nose, or forehead, but can also less commonly affect the neck, chest, ears, and scalp. In some cases, additional symptoms, such as semi-permanent redness, telangiectasia (dilation of superficial blood vessels on the face), red domed papules (small bumps) and pustules, red gritty eyes, burning and stinging sensations, and in some advanced cases, a red lobulated nose (rhinophyma), may develop.
What Causes Rosacea?
The exact cause of rosacea is not known. It is believed that rosacea may be caused by hereditary or environmental factors. Another theory holds that rosacea may be a vascular disorder as it is linked with symptoms of flushing, redness and visible blood vessels. It may also be associated with the nervous system because rosacea is often triggered when patients are under stress. Many also believe that an immune system that has malfunctioned may cause rosacea.
The diagnosis of rosacea can be based on clinical examination by a dermatologist. A skin biopsy may have to be performed in order to differentiate the type of rosacea that the patient may have. If the eye is affected, an ophthalmological examination is required.
The symptoms and signs of rosacea may include:
- Frequent redness, flushing or ruddiness of the face
- Dilated blood vessels or small bumps runs down the center of the face
- Thick skin on the chin, cheeks and forehead
- Swollen nose
- Blushing or flushing in hot weather, when you are under emotional stress or after exercise
- Vision problems such as red, dry, itchy eyes
Help for Rosacea
Although rosacea cannot be cured, with the proper treatment and elimination of certain triggers from your lifestyle this condition can be controlled. Treatment options such as oral antibiotics and topical creams are commonly prescribed to reduce inflammation and redness. Topical cortisone preparations for short-term use may also be prescribed as topical topical vitamin C therapy and cosmetic surgery.
Often the harsh chemicals and synthetic ingredients that are contained in today’s skincare products do more damage to your skin than you may realize. Herbal remedies, on the other hand have carefully selected natural ingredients to improve the appearance of the skin and prevent future break outs. Two well known herbs such as Melaleuca Alternifolia (Tea Tree Oil) and Lavender Essential Oil have wonderful healing powers attributed to their anti-bacterial, anti-fungal and anti-septic actions.
Other herbs such as Arctium lappa and Bulbine frutescence have been used widely to treat skin conditions including acne, eczema, and psoriasis. In addition, Apparatus linearis (Rooibos) an indigenous shrub that hails from South Africa is known worldwide for its anti-oxidant and healing properties as well as its soothing and healing effect on the skin.
Coping with Rosacea
- Follow these tips to help you manage flare-ups of rosacea.
- Avoid any triggers that may increase the onset of rosacea
- Keep a diary that will help identify and reduce triggers
- Wear an extra sensitive sunscreen with an SPF 15 daily
- Avoid situations that create excessive heat such as hot tubs or extreme exercise
- Reduce your intake of hot beverages and alcoholic drinks – it is safer to only drink cold non-alcoholic drinks
- Use fragrance and alcohol free skin care products (Dove, Neutrogena or DDF Rosacea Relief serum)
- Avoid foods such as tomatoes, eggplant, spinach or spicy, hot dishes that may cause a flare-up
- Carry make-up such as a general coverage foundation with you to conceal redness, bumps or pimples
- Stop smoking as smoke aggravates rosacea
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