Definition: Rosacea (pronounced roh-ZAY-sha) is a common but little-known disorder of the facial skin that affects an estimated 14 million Americans — and most of them don’t know it. It is an inflammatory skin disease that causes facial redness. You may mistake some of its characteristics — small, red, pus-filled bumps or pustules — for acne. In fact, rosacea has been called adult acne or acne rosacea, but the disease has little to do with the pimples and blackheads that commonly afflict teenagers. It’s also a misconception that this red-faced condition is caused by drinking alcoholic beverages.
.It is a common but often misunderstood condition that is estimated to affect over 45 million people worldwide. It affects caucasians of mainly north-western European descent, and has been nicknamed the ‘curse of the Celts’ by some in Britain and Ireland. It begins as erythema (flushing and redness) on the central face and across the cheeks, nose, or forehead but can also less commonly affect the neck and chest. As rosacea progresses, other symptoms can develop such as semi-permanent erythema, 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). The disorder can be confused with, and co-exist with acne vulgaris and/or seborrhoeic dermatitis. Rosacea affects both sexes, but is almost three times more common in women, and has a peak age of onset between 30 and 60. The presence of rash on the scalp or ears suggests a different or co-existing diagnosis, as rosacea is primarily a facial diagnosis.
Left untreated, rosacea tends to be progressive, which means it gets worse over time. However, in most people rosacea is cyclic, which means it may flare up for a period of weeks to months and then signs and symptoms lessen for a while before rosacea flares up again. Besides acne, rosacea can also be mistaken for other skin problems, such as skin allergy or eczema. Once diagnosed, it’s quite treatable.
There are four identified rosacea subtypes and patients may have more than one subtype present.
1.Erythematotelangiectatic rosacea: Permanent redness (erythema) with a tendency to flush and blush easily. It is also common to have small blood vessels visible near the surface of the skin (telangiectasias) and possibly burning or itching sensations.
2.Papulopustular rosacea: Some permanent redness with red bumps (papules) with some pus filled (pustules) (which typically last 1-4 days); this subtype can be easily confused with acne.
3.Phymatous rosacea: This subtype is most commonly associated with rhinophyma, an enlargement of the nose. Symptoms include thickening skin, irregular surface nodularities, and enlargement. Phymatous rosacea can also affect the chin (gnatophyma), forehead (metophyma), cheeks, eyelids (blepharophyma), and ears (otophyma). Small blood vessels visible near the surface of the skin (telangiectasias) may be present.
4.Ocular rosacea: Red, dry and irritated eyes and eyelids. Some other symptoms include foreign body sensations, itching and burning.
There have been other descriptive terms applied to presentations of rosacea, but these are not formally accepted as subtypes of rosacea:
*The rare and severely scarring Rosacea fulminans (pyoderma faciale) occurring exclusively in women after adolescence and most commonly in their early 20s,
*Perioral dermatitis, which is better described as periorificial dermatitis, but similarly treated with topical metronidazole.
*Persistent edema of rosacea.
*Persisting redness and oedema of the upper half of the face has been termed Morbihan disease.
Rosacea sufferers often report periods of depression stemming from cosmetic disfigurement, painful burning sensations, and decreases in quality of life.
In severe and rare cases, the oil glands (sebaceous glands) in your nose and sometimes your cheeks become enlarged, resulting in a buildup of tissue on and around your nose (rhinophyma). This complication is much more common in men and develops very slowly over a period of years.
In addition, more than half the people with rosacea experience ocular rosacea — a burning and gritty sensation in the eyes. Rosacea may cause the inner skin of the eyelids to become inflamed or appear scaly, a condition known as conjunctivitis.
Causes:The cause of rosacea is unknown, but researchers believe it’s likely due to some combination of hereditary and environmental factors.
Several theories exist as to what causes rosacea. One theory is that a blood vessel disorder causes vessels in the face to swell. Another is that the cause of rosacea is a chronic bacterial infection in the gastrointestinal system caused by a Helicobacter pylori infection. Some researchers have suggested that tiny mites (Demodex folliculorum) living in human hair follicles may play a role by clogging up sebaceous gland openings. Most people with rosacea have sun-damaged skin which may also play a contributing role. None of these theories has been conclusively proved, however.
One thing is certain — alcohol doesn’t cause rosacea. While the consumption of alcohol can lead to flushing of the skin and may worsen rosacea, people who don’t consume alcohol at all still can get rosacea.
Richard L. Gallo and colleagues recently noticed that patients with rosacea had elevated levels of the peptide cathelicidin and elevated levels of stratum corneum tryptic enzymes (SCTEs). Antibiotics have been used in the past to treat rosacea, but antibiotics may only work because they inhibit some SCTEs. See the August 5, 2007 issue of Nature Medicine for details.
Rosacea has a hereditary component and those that are fair-skinned of European or Celtic ancestry have a higher genetic predisposition to developing it. Women are more commonly affected. People of all ages can get rosacea but there is a higher instance in the 30-50 age group. The first signs of rosacea are said to be persisting redness due to exercise, changes in temperature, and cleansing.
It has also been hypothesised that rosacea is in fact a neurological disorder resulting from hypersensitization of sensory neurons by bradykinin following activation of the plasma kallikrein-kinin system due to exposure to intestinal bacteria in the digestive tract. This hypersensitivity then produces neurogenic inflammation upon dermal stimulation causing the flushing symptoms and vasodilation that are characteristic of the disorder. This hypothesis has been recently supported by the finding that rosacea patients exhibit a very significantly increased prevalence of bacterial overgrowth in the small intestine vs. controls (p<0.001) and that eradication of this overgrowth in affected patients, using a 10-day course of an antibiotic that cannot be absorbed from the digestive tract, produces complete remission of symptoms in 96% patients for at least 9 months without further treatment. In the remaining 4% of patients that experienced symptom recurrence, bacterial overgrowth was found to have reoccurred and a second course of eradication treatment again produced sustained remission.
Triggers that cause episodes of flushing and blushing play a part in the development of rosacea. Exposure to temperature extremes can cause the face to become flushed as well as strenuous exercise, heat from sunlight, severe sunburn, stress, anxiety, cold wind, moving to a warm or hot environment from a cold one such as heated shops and offices during the winter. There are also some foods and drinks that can trigger flushing, these include alcohol, foods and beverages containing caffeine (especially, hot tea and coffee), foods high in histamines and spicy food.
Certain medications and topical irritants can quickly progress rosacea. If redness persists after using a treatment then it should be stopped immediately. Some acne and wrinkle treatments that have been reported to cause rosacea include microdermabrasion, chemical peels, high dosages of isotretinoin, benzoyl peroxide and tretinoin. Steroid induced rosacea is the term given to rosacea caused by the use of topical or nasal steroids. These steroids are often prescribed for seborrheic dermatitis. Dosage should be slowly decreased and not immediately stopped to avoid a flare up.
Studies of rosacea and demodex mites have revealed that some people with rosacea have increased numbers of the mite, especially those with steroid induced rosacea. When large numbers are present they may play a role along with other triggers. On other occasions Demodicidosis (Mange) is a separate condition that may have “rosacea-like” appearances.
Rosacea is a systemic disease. There is no study that shows a long-term benefit of topical treatment alone. Typical signs in the facial region or the chest are always accompanied by other symptoms. The vascular disfunction provoke local hypoxemia (face, extremities, bowels). Sometimes these minor symptoms remain unrecognized. Vascular dysfunction, hypoxemia and the temporal obstruction of the orthograde intestinal passage induce a vicious circle with maldigestion and bacterial overgrowth syndrome.
Although the exact cause of rosacea remains a mystery, a number of factors can aggravate it or make it worse by increasing blood flow to the surface of your skin. Some of these include:
*Hot foods or beverages
*Stress, anger or embarrassment
*Hot baths, saunas
*Drugs that dilate blood vessels, including some blood pressure medications
When to seek medical advice:
Unfortunately, rosacea rarely clears up on its own, and it tends to worsen over time if left untreated. If you experience persistent redness of your face, see your doctor or a skin specialist (dermatologist) for a diagnosis and proper treatment. Many over-the-counter skin care products contain ingredients such as acids, alcohol and other irritants, that may actually worsen rosacea. Because of the progressive nature of rosacea, an early diagnosis is important. Treatments tend to be more effective the earlier they’re started.
Treating rosacea varies from patient to patient depending on severity and subtypes. A subtype-directed approach to treating rosacea patients is recommended to dermatologists.
Trigger avoidance can help reduce the onset of rosacea but alone will not normally cause remission for all but mild cases. The National Rosacea Society recommends that a diary be kept to help identify and reduce triggers. A recent publication discusses how managing pre-trigger events such as prolonged exposure to cool environments can directly influence warm room flushing.
It is important to have a gentle skin cleansing regimen using non-irritating cleansers. Protection from the sun is important and daily use of a sunscreen of at least SPF 15 containing a physical blocker such as zinc oxide or titanium dioxide is advised although chemical sunscreens, if non-irritating to the skin, are also an option.
Oral tetracycline antibiotics (tetracycline, doxycycline, minocycline) and topical antibiotics such as metronidazole are usually the first line of defense prescribed by doctors to relieve papules, pustules, inflammation and some redness. Topical azelaic acid such as Finacea (15%) or Skinoren (20%) may help reduce inflammatory lesions, bumps and papules. Oral antibiotics may help to relieve symptoms of ocular rosacea. If papules and pustules persist, then sometimes isotretinoin can be prescribed. Isotretinoin has many side effects and is normally used to treat severe acne but in low dosages is proven to be effective against papulopustular and phymatous rosacea.
The treatment of flushing and blushing has been attempted by means of the centrally acting ?-2 agonist clonidine, but there is no evidence whatsoever that this is of any benefit. The same is true of the beta-blockers nadolol and propanolol. If flushing occurs with red wine consumption, then complete avoidance helps. There is no evidence at all that antihistamines are of any benefit in rosacea.
People who develop infections of the eyelids must practice frequent eyelid hygiene. Daily scrubbing the eyelids gently with diluted baby shampoo or an over-the-counter eyelid cleaner and applying warm (but not hot) compresses several times a day is recommended.
Dermatological vascular laser (single wavelength) or Intense Pulsed Light (broad spectrum) machines offer one of the best treatments for rosacea, in particular the erythema (redness) of the skin. They use light to penetrate the epidermis to target the capillaries in the dermis layer of the skin. The light is absorbed by oxy-hemoglobin which heat up causing the capillary walls to heat up to 70 ºC, damaging them, causing them to be absorbed by the body’s natural defense mechanism. With a sufficient number of treatments, this method may even eliminate the redness altogether, though additional periodic treatments will likely be necessary to remove newly-formed capillaries.
CO2 lasers can be used to remove excess tissue caused by phymatous rosacea. CO2 lasers emit a wavelength that is absorbed directly by the skin. The laser beam can be focused into a thin beam and used as a scalpel or defocused and used to vaporise tissue. Low level light therapies have also been used to treat rosacea. Photorejuvenation can also be used to improve the appearance of rosacea and reduce the redness associated with it.
One alternative skin treatment, fashionable in the Victorian and Edwardian eras, was sulphur. Recently sulphur has re-gained some credibility as a safe alternative to steroids and coal tar.
Recently, a clinically-trialled product range combining plant-sourced Methylsulfonylmethane (MSM) and Silymarin has been used to treat rosacea, skin redness and flushing.
Treatment is longterm, usually 1-2 years before the disorder is under control. Lifelong treatment is often necessary, although some cases resolve after a while and go into a permanent remission.
Enlarged blood vessels, some redness and changes due to rhinophyma often become permanent. In these cases, surgical methods, such as laser surgery and electrosurgery, may reduce the visibility of blood vessels, remove tissue buildup around your nose and generally improve your appearance.
Herbal Treatment: THE FOLLOWING HERBS can help you overcome skin disorder characterized by bumpy red areas, most often on nose, cheeks, forehead and chin; tenderness and soreness associated with rosacea.
1.Alfalfa,2. dandelion root,3. burdock root,4. red clover,5. fennel seed, 6.ginger,7. marshmallow root, 8.slippery elm,9. milk thistle.
Quik Tip: Milk thistle for healthy liver – and glowing skin.
Lifestyle and home remedies:-
In addition to getting treatment from your doctor, you can play an active part in your treatment. One of the most important things you can do if you have rosacea is to minimize your exposure to anything that causes a flare-up. Because everyone is different, find out what factors affect you so that you can avoid them. Keeping a running list of your own flare-up triggers might help you identify the things that are a problem for you.
Here are other suggestions for preventing flare-ups:
*Wear sunscreen with a sun protection factor (SPF) of 15 or higher to protect your face from the sun.
*Protect your face in the winter with a scarf or ski mask.
*Avoid irritating your facial skin by rubbing or touching it too much.
*Avoid facial products that contain alcohol or other skin irritants.
*When using moisturizer with a topical medication, apply the moisturizer after the medication has dried.
*Use products that are labeled noncomedogenic. These won’t clog your oil and sweat gland openings (pores) as much.
*If you wear makeup, consider using green- or yellow-tinted pre-foundation creams and powders, because they’re designed to counter skin redness.
Disclaimer: This information is not meant to be a substitute for professional medical advise or help. It is always best to consult with a Physician about serious health concerns. This information is in no way intended to diagnose or prescribe remedies.This is purely for educational purpose.