Rosacea is a common but little known of skin disorder, estimated to affect around 45million people worldwide; it affects both men and women but is more common in women. The fair-skinned, blonde-haired, and blue-eyed are most prone to the disorder; it usually affects people in the 30-40 age range but can start in the teen years.
Scientists and Doctors are unsure as to the cause of rosacea (some believe it is hereditary, some dermatologists and experts believe that sufferers have more bacteria living in their skin than none sufferers). There is no specific test to detect it, common symptoms are redness and flushing of the skin, visible blood vessels, thickened skin pus-filled swellings called pustules, and red bumps called papules. Most common on the face, especially the nose, but some sufferers experience symptoms on other parts of the body too.
Living with rosacea
Sufferers tend to blush more quickly than people with healthy skin. This causes problems at work, in marriage, and when meeting new people. Many people who suffer from rosacea avoid contact with new people. The National Rosacea Society of The United States said: “41% of sufferers avoid public contact or cancel social engagements.”
As with most illness and disease, rosacea will get worse if not treated; it is imperative to get early diagnosis. Most GP’s will prescribe antibiotics to keep rosacea under control; medicines can prove to be effective against the papules and pustules, they are unfortunately less effective against the background redness and small dilated blood vessels caused by rosacea.
Your GP will likely start you off on a high dose of antibiotics and then reduce it over time; you will probably be prescribed a small, long term antibiotic dose to keep your skin in check. Creams can also be used to treat the condition; it is advisable that you seek medical advice and only use cream supplied by your doctor since some “treatments” can make the situation worse.
Flare-ups can be triggered by alcohol, heat, certain food, and stress. It is believed that diet changes can reduce symptoms; laser treatment is also very popular and has been proven effective. Dermatologists have been using laser treatment since the 1980s, there is also another kind of light therapy available called Intense Pulsed Light (IPL). Light therapy can help reduce the appearance of background redness, thickened skin and the small dilated blood vessels that can’t be treated by antibiotics. This kind of light therapy might be uncomfortable for some; it feels like having your face flicked with rubber bands.