Southern Dermatology

What is Rosacea?

Rosacea (also known as ‘acne rosacea’) is a common inflammatory skin condition affecting the face that often causes redness. Symptoms includes ‘background’ redness, flushing and blushing, pustule and pimples.

The first signs of rosacea often include permanent flushing, due to the enlargement of the small blood vessels of the skin (capillaries). This form of rosacea is known as Erythemato-Telangiectatic Rosacea (ETR) As rosacea progress it commonly presents with pimples and pustules – much like acne, but thankfully Papulo-Pustular Rosacea doesn’t tend to leave scars. In severe cases of rosacea, the nose can become reddened and enlarged (Rhinophyma) and the eyes may become gritty (Ocular Rosacea.) Common sites affected by rosacea include the nose and cheeks, forehead, and chin

Rosacea most commonly affects individuals between the ages of 25 and 50, initially presenting with frequent episodes of redness and flushing. Patients commonly report ‘sensitive skin’ and will find that many products irritate easily. Symptoms tend to worsen with age.

There is no one specific cause of rosacea – it is multifactorial, contributed to by your genetic make-up, sunlight and UV radiation and a particular mite known as Demodex folliculorum, that lives on the skin.

Triggers of rosacea flares include alcohol, hot drinks such as coffee/tea, spicy foods, sunlight and heat (e.g. hot showers, saunas, spas), anxiety, embarrassment and emotional stress.

The two most important aspects of rosacea treatment are UV-protection and skin-barrier optimisation:

  • Ultra-violet and infra-red radiation, are both emitted by the sun, and aggravate rosacea. It critical that you wear a broad-spectrum sunscreen that blocks both UVB and long-wavelength UVA rays.
  • Keeping the skin barrier healthy requires a simple, pH balanced cleansing regimen, and regular non-comedogenic moisturiser.

In addition to avoiding sun-exposure, identifying and avoiding the triggers listed above is essential.

At Southern Dermatology, we provide individualised treatments that are tailored to your rosacea sub-type and severity. The fixed redness and broken capillaries seen in ETR tend to respond best to UV-protection, prescription creams and vascular laser performed by an experienced Dermatologist or registered Dermatology Nurse.

Papulopustular rosacea may improve through a combination of antibiotic tablets, prescription creams and isotretinoin.

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