Rosacea is a chronic skin disorder with no known cause. It’s characterized by facial inflammation, redness and dilated blood vessels on the skin’s upper layer. As the skin disease progresses, it causes swelling, papules and pustules.
Rosacea starts out as superficial redness across the cheeks, the nose or forehead. Then, the blood vessels start dilating, causing small bumps called papules. The papules lead to pustules – fluid or pus-filled bumps – causing pain, inflammation and redness. Severe cases of rosacea lead to disfigured nose and skin lesions.
Causes of Rosacea
Rosacea has no known cause. But some health experts believe this skin condition is triggered by microbial infections, psychological factors, and faulty connective tissues underneath the skin.
Signs and Symptoms of Rosacea
The signs and symptoms of rosacea will vary greatly from person to person. But the most common symptoms include flushing or facial redness, bumps and pimples as well as visible blood vessels. The skin starts taking on a rough, scaly appearance. Raised patches of skin start developing on the affected area. Inflammation and burning are also common signs of rosacea. In some cases, the irritation will reach the eyes, causing watery, bloodshot eyes.
How to Treat Rosacea
There are many ways to treat rosacea. But since this skin condition is incurable, the treatments are focused on managing the symptoms, not to eliminate rosacea completely.
Medical and Dermatological Treatments
Topical Ointments and Creams
The most common treatment for rosacea is prescription cream formulated with metronidazole, azelaic acid, sodium sulfacetamide-sulfur and clindamycin. Creams with benzoyl peroxide, retinoids, or calcineurin also work to minimize skin inflammation and prevent infection.
Oral antibiotics are recommended for severe cases of rosacea in conjunction with skin treatment. Oral antibiotics offer lasting results but with a few side effects. Also, taking antibiotics could lead to resistance to the drug. The usual medication for rosacea includes minocycline, erythromycin, metronidazole, and doxycycline.
A laser treatment will minimize the thickness of the skin. It will also lighten redness and dry out inflammation. The affected area is exposed to short burst of light to destroy the inflamed blood vessels underneath.
Dermabrasion is a common skin treatment that eliminates the top-most layer of the skin. It reveals the softer, smoother skin underneath. A wire brush or a diamond wheel spins rapidly to eliminate dead skin cells. This procedure can be painful. It leaves the skin sensitive for several days after which, it will start peeling as it heals.
Electrocautery is a procedure in which a machine sends an electric current into the skin. It heals the glands that cause skin inflammation. It will require several sessions of electrocautery to restore the smoothness of the skin.
Herbal Treatments for Rosacea
Licorice contains glycyrrhizinic acid – a compound that improves the upper layer of the skin. This compound minimizes redness, itching and inflammation, the hallmarks of rosacea. Studies also found that licorice contains powerful anti-inflammatory properties that heal irritated skin. It also promotes faster cell turnover.
Green tea is loaded with derivatives that heal inflamed skin caused by rosacea. These derivatives include picatechin, epigallocatechin, epicatechin-3-gallate, and epigallocatechin-3-gallate. These compounds protect from cancer and promote cell healing. Green tea also neutralizes the effects of ultraviolet rays, minimizing the symptoms of rosacea.
Oatmeal soothes inflammation and redness. It also prevents infections and irritation. Oatmeal hydrates the skin, preventing flaky or patchy skin. It contains proteins and polysaccharides that protect the skin from acids and bases that irritate the skin.