Live life well with the correct rosacea management. Dermatologist Dr Pieter Dempers explains.
This chronic skin condition affects mainly the central facial areas. It consists of various signs and symptoms that include persistent redness and sensitivity of the face, facial flushing, the appearance of small broken veins on the skin surface and the eruption of red inflammatory spots and pimples. The nose can enlarge and even the eyes may become affected.
The cause of rosacea is not fully understood, but theories include genetic, environmental, vascular, inflammatory and infectious factors. Trigger factors that may aggravate rosacea include: alcohol, hot beverages, spicy food, heat/cold/humidity, sunlight, stress and harsh cosmetics.
People who are prone to rosacea are those between the ages of 30 and 50, fair-skinned, of Celtic origin and mostly females. There are four types of rosacea, but not everyone experiences every type and each type can affect people differently.
Vascular Rosacea is characterised by frequent flushing and chronic redness of facial skin. Some people also have visible blood vessels creeping across the bridge of the nose and the cheeks. The symptoms are minor and topical or oral rosacea medications can treat the condition at this stage. Laser treatment can be used to zap broken blood vessels.
Inflammatory Rosacea’s key symptom is chronic redness of the face, as well as an outbreak of red bumps and pimples, which are different from actual acne and require a different treatment – notably topical gels.
Phymatous Rosacea may develop when rosacea is left untreated. A bulbous, lumpy and very red nose is the classic symptom. Excess skin may also grow on the cheeks or forehead, giving it a thickened appearance. Phymatous rosacea occurs more frequently in men. The thickened skin is often addressed with laser and surgical treatments.
Ocular Rosacea can provoke a long list of symptoms, from dryness or a gritty sensation in the eyes to tearing, burning, itching, or stinging. You might have bloodshot eyes, frequent styes, swelling of the eyelids or redness on the margins of the lids. Ocular rosacea can be serious, resulting in damage to the cornea. See your doctor or dermatologist straight-away.
Rosacea is treatable and the first step is to avoid trigger factors causing flushing/redness. Use gentle cleansers such as Avéne thermal spring water, Skin Tech ph5 Cleansing Foam or Obagi Nuderm Gentle Cleanser and moisturisers such as NeoStrata Bio-Hydrating Cream, Dermaquest Essential Moisturiser or Bioderma Sensibio Rich Cream, plus regular use of sunscreen – all available at www.dermashop.co.za. The Bioderma Sensibio range is specifically formulated to relieve rosacea. Prescription creams are available for mild cases to treat inflammation and redness, but for more severe cases oral antibiotics are needed.
Persistent, small, broken veins (telangiectasia) can be improved successfully with vascular lasers and IPL treatments at Lasermed.