Skin 101: Managing rosacea
While rosacea is not life threatening, it can often ruin confidence and self-esteem. When in an active stage, rosacea outbreaks can be severe enough to disrupt the sufferer’s life.
We take a look at the causes of facial redness, the known triggers and how Platinum Dermatology Skin Specialists can help you to successfully manage it.
What is it?
Rosacea is a very common skin condition that affects an estimated one million Australians. Its most common symptom is redness, caused by a hypersensitivity of the dermal micro-neurovascular network, which dilates (open) in response to minor or even no triggers.
It’s often called “The Curse of the Celts” due to its prevalence in fair skinned populations, and most often affects those aged 30 to 60.
The condition manifests as a progressive inflammatory disorder predominantly affecting the face and sometimes the eyes. Extra-facial rosacea is rare.
Different types and how rosacea begins
The different forms of rosacea are either telangiectetatic (broken capillaries), papulo-pustular (looks like acne), fixed erythema (redness) or a mixture of them all.
Acneiform rosacea can take the form of papular, pustular or cystic spots. Phymatous rosacea involves thickening of the skin or increased tissue growth of the nose. This is a result of long-standing, untreated, inflammation.
Ocular rosacea takes the form of irritation of the eyes and is often undiagnosed. Because it can present in different forms, rosacea and its treatment have been surrounded by uncertainty and confusion.
In the early stages the symptoms may appear as an intermittent mild flush or rosy colour across the nose, cheeks and chin. Other more severe manifestations are facial telangiectasia, or broken capillaries; hyper-reactivity caused by inflamed blood vessels near the surface of the skin; uneven skin texture with dryness, enlarged pores, lumpiness and swelling; facial sensitivity in the form of tenderness or a burning sensation; or the increased growth of tissue of the nose (rhinophyma), or other parts of the face.
What are the triggers?
Rosacea symptoms can flare up in response to various triggers, including alcohol (especially red wine), spicy foods, heat and sun exposure.
Internal factors such as hormonal levels, emotional stress, or overheating can also cause flushing. For some people these can occur in combination.
Treatment for rosacea and vascular lesions
Specialist skincare with anti-inflammatory ingredients can be effective in combating the appearance of rosacea, with aloe vera, provitamin B5, green tea, red algae, and zinc just some of the ingredients shown to soothe skin irritation.
Most products from department stores or pharmacies will not have these in a high enough concentration to have any biological effect.
Prescription topical treatments to decrease the number of pro-inflammatory mites (Demodex folliculorum) can be helpful. Alongside topical treatments, oral antibiotics can be used to reduce inflammation and eradicate the papules and pustules that can sometimes arise.
While some cosmetic treatments like chemical peels and microdermabrasion will inflame rosacea symptoms, light-based procedures such as the Sciton Broad Band Light (BBL) system can be used to destroy the small, unwanted blood vessels that accompany rosacea and to diffuse redness.
For vascular lesions, the Nd-YAG is also a powerful treatment. The laser light energy is selectively absorbed by haemoglobin in blood vessels, resulting in coagulation of vessels, hence shutting them down.
At Platinum Dermatology Skin Specialists your treatment will be tailored to address your specific rosacea type. Most treatments for blood vessels have no downtime.
Need help with rosacea?
If you or someone you know is suffering from rosacea or redness, contact Platinum Dermatology on (02) 8014 6500.