What is Rosacea?
Rosacea is a mysterious disorder that continues to receive very little focus by the general medical community. According to the National Rosacea Society, Rosacea is a chronic, acne-like condition of the facial skin. It typically first appears as a flushing or subtle redness on the cheeks, nose, chin or forehead that comes and goes. If left untreated, Rosacea tends to worsen over time. As the condition progresses, the redness becomes more persistent. Bumps and pimples called papules and pustules appear and small, dilated blood vessels may become visible on the face, chest and scalp.
Other components of Rosacea include vascular (flushing, burning, damaged blood vessels and chronic facial swelling and inflammation); acneform (papules and rhinophyma); ocular (chronic, dry, gritty feeling, watering, loss of eyelashes, broken blood vessles and swelling or inflammation of the eyelids).
Rosacea can look like acne or other skin disorders, making diagnosis difficult. If these symptoms sound familiar you may want to consult a dermatologist for a professional diagnosis.
Who gets Rosacea?
Although the cause of Rosacea is unknown, it usually appears during or after middle age and is more common among people with fair skin. This bewildering skin condition is on the rise and it effects people worldwide. There are an estimated 6 million Rosacea sufferers in Canada, 8 to 10 million in the UK and millions more in all parts of Europe, Spain, China, Africa and Russia. These numbers do not include the 14 million people who suffer from Rosacea here, in the United States.
Ask anyone who has lived with Rosacea for any length of time how frustrating it is to limit the fun things in life in an attempt to maintain their self-esteem, and you will under-stand the devastating impact this mysterious condition can have on a person’s life. People with Rosacea often suffer embarrassment, frustration, depression, hopelessness and a loss of joy due to a lack of effective treatment.
What are my treatment options?
Considerable confusion and disagreement about the causes of Rosacea have naturally led to a variety of treatment regimens. Most physicians agree, however, that treatment should begin as soon as possible to slow down progression of the condition.
People with Rosacea are often told the best they can do is try and prevent outbreaks by avoiding spicy foods, alcohol, coffee or other beverages containing caffeine, hot baths, physical exertion, stress, cosmetics, embarrassment, warm rooms, vegetables, dairy products and even the sun.
In some cases oral or topical antibiotics are recommended with varying results and the long-term consequences of this type of treatment are still not fully known. Some topical medications can actually worsen the disorder. Persons with severe rhinophyma are unlikely to improve with antibiotic treatment.
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