Rosacea Is Anything But Rosy
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Just like the name would suggest, rosacea is a common skin condition characterized by a “rosy” face. About five percent of Americans are living with some form of rosacea. It is most common in women, although it can occur in men as well. Menopausal women are even more susceptible. Light skinned people are more likely to have rosacea but people with darker complexion people are not immune.
Rosacea is categorized into four different categories. The first type is the least troublesome and causes redness and flushing in the face. The next subtype is characterized by spots that look like acne and redness on the face. The third is referred to as Phymatous Rosacea. This causes a thickening of the tissue on the nose and is sometimes referred to as “Brandy Nose.” This is a misnomer, as people who have this type of rosacea are not necessarily drinkers, let alone alcoholics. Lastly, the fourth type of rosacea has symptoms such as red and itchy eyes. This last category’s symptoms affect fifty percent of all rosacea sufferers. Although someone may have a mild case of symptoms from all four types, someone else may have a very bad case of only one type.
In a survey conducted in 2009, over 1200 rosacea suffers were asked about their life, in regards to the quality of it, as they live with this condition. Thirty percent said that having rosacea has a negative effect on their social life. The study was conducted by the Rosacea Awareness Program and was funded by Gladerma Canada, a pharmaceutical manufacturer. These episodes of pimples and rosy faces come and go throughout life. Since stress is a trigger, rosacea tends to flare-up and rear its ugly head at times when you want to look your best; weddings, parties, family pictures. Important things. Sometimes, if a rosacea flare-up is mild, it can be covered with makeup.
Women who are experiencing their “change of life” or menopause are commonly stricken with a rosacea episode brought on by hot flashes and hormonal changes. Some women do not even experience one break-out until they enter the first stages of menopause. Roughly fifty percent of people living with rosacea are between thirty and sixty years old. Being affected by this skin condition decreases every year you get older and any symptoms will disappear the older you get.
What causes rosacea flare-ups?
The cause at this time is unknown. Doctors are beginning to think that proteins such as cytokines cause inflammation in response to the immune system overreacting. The cause at this time is unknown, but there is ongoing research about what happens in the skin during a rosacea episode. This could lead to future treatments that can stop the inflammation by helping to manage cytokines.
Some people are more likely to become affected with rosacea than others. Environment and lifestyle may be one thing to blame. Spicy and hot foods, changes in temperature, saunas, exercise, alcohol, sunlight, stress, and the use of corticosteroids are all potential triggers. Also blood pressure medications or any other pharmaceutical that opens up blood vessels could cause a flare-up.
According to Joanne Whitehead, a molecular biologist in Victoria, whom also edits the Rosacea Research and Development Institute Journal, has found other factors that can trigger out-breaks as well. A diet of processed foods may be a culprit, as a correlation between intestinal problems and abnormalities in rosacea sufferers has been discovered. As she puts it, “Research and treatment are focused on relief of symptoms such as redness, flushing, bumps and visible veins rather than on the holistic approach.” So it it’s very difficult to fund a research project to further research this correlation.
Managing rosacea: How to do it successfully
The easiest way to manage your rosacea is to use a sunscreen, not just in the summer but all year long. Doctors use antibiotics to help with inflammation to control rosacea symptoms. Medications such as tetracycline, metronidazole and doxycycline, are the most prescribed medical treatments. If your rosacea is really bad, a dermatologist may have you take one of the above oral medications and also prescribe you a topical medication as well. The anti-inflammatory will help get the rosacea managed and the topical treatment will help keep it under control. The topical medication Isotretinoin, which has potentially significant side effects, is prescribed in cases of very severe rosacea.
Treatment results show that forty to fifty percent of people treated with antibiotics for four weeks, rid themselves from their rosy faces. The other fifty to sixty percent of cases were more persistent. Some people with chronic rosacea need to keep taking medication. But almost everyone can find relief as the results of the contemporary rosacea treatments show.
Are there any other options for controlling rosacea other than prescribed medication?
Gentle facial cleansers that are perfume-free are a good non-prescription fix for the daily management of rosacea. Products like Dove, Cetaphil and Spectro Jel are all good brands to use. These can cost anywhere from three dollars to nineteen dollars. It should be noted that treating rosacea daily with an over the counter product may take a little experimentation. So rosacea suffers should not expect to get instant results. It may take trying a few different types before finding the right one.
There are other products that are slightly more expensive but incredibly natural. Using plant extractions to soothe and soften skin and inflammation. These products are also tinted yellow or green in order to help mask any redness caused by a flare-up.