Rosacea is a chronic skin disease that is manifested by redness of the central parts of the face with papular and pustular changes as well as hyperplasia of the connective tissue of the skin and sebaceous glands. It is a vascular disorder, which means it refers to blood vessels and circulation. Rosacea most often affects people over the age of 30, but it can also occur in the early twenties and in the 70s or 80s.
WHAT IT LOOKS LIKE AND WHAT IS THE CAUSE
This disease starts with the appearance of redness on the central part of the face, nose and cheeks. At first, this redness comes and goes, but over time it becomes more persistent and permanent, and in some patients it spreads from the nose to the cheeks in a butterfly-shaped form. Dilated capillaries begin to appear on the skin, followed by swelling and thickening of the connective tissue and sebaceous glands. Bumps of reddish color (papules) that occasionally erupt may also appear, and sometimes these bumps are filled with pus (pustules). This type of rosacea, papulopustular rosacea, can often be confused with acne, but these changes must be differentiated from them in a timely manner because they are not treated with the same products and do not respond to acne treatment. These changes affect the nose the most, which, due to the thickening of the connective tissue and sebaceous glands, becomes enlarged, unshapely and takes on a bulbous appearance. This form of rosacea affects almost exclusively men. In addition to the above symptoms, rosacea is also characterised by sensory discomfort (tingling, itching, heat, temporary or permanent bursts of very intense redness depending on a number of factors). Skin can be dry or oily and it is wrong to think that rosacea skin is always necessarily dry. This type of skin is characterised as extremely reactive and sensitive.
Rosacea on the face initially appears only occasionally, later on more often. The cause of rosacea is still largely unknown, but it is thought to be caused by a combination of different hereditary and environmental factors. Certain factors can trigger or worsen the symptoms of rosacea by increasing blood flow to the surface of the skin.
Some of those factors are hot foods and drinks, overly spicy foods, alcohol, exposure to extreme temperatures, sun and UV radiation, stress, heavy exercise, hot baths or saunas, corticosteroids, as well as certain medication for blood vessels and high blood pressure.
About half of people with rosacea also struggle with dry eyes, irritation, swelling and redness of the eyelids. Some patients first develop eye-related symptoms which are only later followed by rosacea. Also, rosacea is most often accompanied by couperosis whose main symptoms are dilated capillaries.
Although unfortunately there is no cure for rosacea, there are treatments that can control and reduce the signs and symptoms of this disease. They most often include a combination of certain prescription drugs and certain lifestyle changes. In the long run, it is very important to avoid the aforementioned factors that lead to the progression of symptoms. Although rosacea is not caused by bacteria, treatment frequently includes antibiotics with an anti-inflammatory effect. Antibiotics can be in the form of pills or creams, gels or lotions that are used topically on damaged skin and prevent further spreading. Metronidazole, azelaic acid and ivermectin are also often used. Of course, these medications are taken temporarily and entirely in consultation with a dermatologist. Ivermectin, along with metronidazole, is an increasingly used conventional therapy because it suppresses Demodex mites (D. folliculorum and D. brevis) whose two species live within the pilosebaceous units of human skin, feeding on sebum and dead skin cells, and causing an immune skin reaction that leads to progression of rosacea symptoms.
Rosacea is a chronic and progressive vascular disease, which unfortunately means that no cream can make it go away permanently. However, proper skin care and certain cosmetics that have soothing ingredients can alleviate the symptoms and will not further irritate the skin if the rosacea is not in the acute phase. Choose gentle cleansers without perfume and aggressive surfactants and neutral products for daily use that have been dermatologically tested on sensitive skin. A concrete example of such products are Spectra and Úna, depending on your skin type. Spectra is a light serum emulsion that can be used instead of a cream on combination and oily skin. It provides daily support and antioxidant protection to the skin. Úna is intended for drier types, it soothes skin inflammation, regenerates, strengthens and nourishes. During the day, the skin needs to be protected with a gentle SPF because UV radiation is a major trigger for inflammatory changes on rosacea skin. All of these products can also be used as a daily supplement to prescribed medical therapy.
In conclusion, if you have rosacea, remember that you can keep it under control by choosing the right gentle cosmetics and avoiding the triggering factors that worsen the symptoms. A simple, minimalist skin care routine without active ingredients, and with specially formulated soothing and anti-inflammatory formulations and sun protection is a way to go for you.