Rosacea (roh-zay-sha) is a common facial skin disorder that is estimated to effect over 16 million Americans today and most may not even know what it is. In a society that places such high value on beauty and appearance, having a skin condition like Rosacea can have lasting adverse personal and psychological effects. Typically the first signs of Rosacea begin to show up any time after the age of 30 as a redness in the cheeks, nose, chin or forehead. Symptoms of Rosacea may come and go without any apparent cause and tend to get worse over time, especially when left untreated.
The first primary sign of Rosacea is a general redness about the cheeks, nose, chin and forehead but in severe cases may affect the neck, chest, scalp and even the ears. Nicknamed the “Curse of the Celt's", Rosacea most commonly appears as if the affected individual were blushing or turning red. In fact it seems that mainly Caucasians of European decent who have fair skin and actually tend to blush easier seem to be more at risk and this frequent blushing is often an early indicator of the disease.
Women are three times more likely to get the disease than men, but it seems that men have more severe symptoms than women. Over time the redness may become more permanent, looking similar to a sunburn that won't go away, and may even darken or become ruddier in appearance. This darkening is usually a result of tiny blood vessels that become visible just under the surface of the skin (Telangiectasia). Along with these blood vessels, small bumps and pimples may accompany the progression of the disease. These small, solid red bumps and pustules are similar in appearance to acne but are in fact not the same. Often wrongly referred to as Acne Rosacea, these pimples are a result of the Rosacea and often burn and itch and can be made worse by standard Acne treatments.
When left untreated, over time severe Rosacea can result in a swelling and hardening of the nose tissue. This swelling is known as Rhinophyma and is a result of extra tissue production and may permanently disfigure the effected individual. Ocular Rosacea is another common symptom of severe cases as well.
The inner skin of the eyelids to become inflamed or appear scaly, a condition known as conjunctivitis. This is characterized by irritated, watery and bloodshot eyes and sufferers may experience a burning and gritty sensation in the eye similar to severe allergies. The inner skin of the eyelids to become inflamed or appear scaly, a condition known as conjunctivitis.
Because the signs and symptoms of Rosacea can vary greatly from one patient to another, treatments must be tailored by a dermatologist for every individual case. Although the exact cause of Rosacea is not yet known, there are a number of factors that may contribute to outbreaks. It is believed that spicy foods, alcohol, extreme temperature changes, sunlight, stress, and exercise may not cause an outbreak but it has been shown that they can lead to negative effects on people who suffer from this disease.
While there is no way to eliminate outbreaks altogether, effective treatment can bring relief to those who suffer from it. Most often this requires a combination of prescription treatments and certain lifestyle changes on the patients part. Your Portland Rosacea Specialist may recommend that you use a combination of prescription topical creams and oral antibiotics to help gain control over your outbreaks. In the most extreme cases of Rosacea, dermatologists could prescribe Isotretinoin (Accutane), which is a very powerful oral medication that works to inhibit the production of Sebum Oil from the Sebaceous gland. This treatment must be closely monitored by a professional due to the possibility of serious side effects. Always remember, you play just as important a role in your treatment as the doctor, always try to minimize the things that could lead to an outbreak. Identify your own triggers, keep a list of things that could have caused a flair-up in the past. Once you and your Portland Rosacea Specialist get your symptoms under control make sure that you maintain your treatment plan or your symptoms could return.