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Rosacea

Alternate Names

  • acne rosacea

Definition

Rosacea is a chronic inflammation that occurs on the skin of the face. It usually appears between the ages of 30 and 50.

What is going on in the body?

Rosacea results in blushing, enlarged blood vessels in the surface of the skin, red pimple-like bumps, and the thickening of the skin's oil glands. It primarily occurs over the middle face, nose, and cheeks.

Risks

What are the causes and risks of the condition?

The exact cause of rosacea is unknown. This disorder is common in people with fair skin, from Northern European ethnic backgrounds. A person with rosacea often has a history of reddened skin and acne, or pimples.

Prevention

What can be done to prevent the condition?

Rosacea is usually unavoidable in most people. However, certain trigger factors that may worsen the condition can be avoided. These include:
  • alcoholic beverages
  • anxiety and stress that cause flushing
  • caffeine
  • excessive rubbing or scrubbing of the face
  • exposure to heat and sunlight
  • hot, spicy foods
  • some cosmetics and facial products

Diagnosed

How is the condition diagnosed?

The condition is diagnosed by its appearance.

Long Term Effects

What are the long-term effects of the condition?

The main effect of rosacea is disfigurement due to scarring. This is particularly true in men, who are prone to develop thickened tissue on the nose. In serious cases, the eyes may be involved, and that may cause vision problems. The person may suffer emotionally from having a chronic skin disorder.

Other Risks

What are the risks to others?

There are no risks to others, as this condition is not contagious.

Treatments

What are the treatments for the condition?

Treatment of rosacea may include:
  • laser removal of the enlarged blood vessels
  • metronidazole (i.e., Noritate, MetroCream, MetroGel, MetroLotion), corticosteroids, or sulfur-based cream applied directly to the affected skin
  • oral antibiotics, especially tetracycline (i.e., Sumycin) or minocycline (i.e., Minocin, Solodyn)
  • oral isotretinoin (i.e., Accutane, Amnesteem, Claravis, Sotret)

Side Effects

What are the side effects of the treatments?

Side effects depend on the type of treatment chosen. Side effects are minimal with topical medicines or low doses of tetracycline, but may include allergic reactions and stomach upset.

After Treatment

What happens after treatment for the condition?

All visible signs of the skin condition may clear up with treatment. However, the general redness of the skin and easy flushing may not go away. Use of sunscreen outdoors can reduce the risk of further irritation of the skin.

Monitor

How is the condition monitored?

The appearance of the skin can be monitored. Eye involvement may require frequent examination by an eye specialist if vision is affected. Any new or worsening symptoms should be reported to the healthcare professional.

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