A common skin disorder which causes a red rash on the face, nose, cheeks, ears and neck. It may have inflamed red bumps with pustules, resembling acne. Rosacea can affect the eyes causing red, sore, gritty eyelids. Rosacea may cause the skin texture to thicken and develop into an ‘orange peel’ feel. More localised lumpy swellings may occur particularly over the nose (rhinophyma) and this mainly occurs in men and can progress from a mild ‘cobblestone’ pattern to create a bulbous nose.
Rosacea is most likely to affect people in their 30’s and 40’s with fair skin, blue eyes and Celtic origin. It rarely affects children. It often begins as facial flushing (blush). Burst capillaries (telangiectases) may become prominent.
Hot drinks, alcohol and spicy foods, hot baths, tubs and saunas may aggravate rosacea, and sun damage may contribute to the development of rosacea. Avoiding these triggers may be enough to improve mild rosacea. Skincare products which cause stinging, burning or irritation can worsen the redness and flushing and should be avoided. Regular moisturisers and soap free cleaners and sunscreen should be used. Green tinted makeup is used to camouflage the redness.
Topical and oral antibiotics are effective in many people with rosacea, but may take several weeks or months to work. Regular topical antibiotics as maintenance therapy may prolong periods of remission. Dermatologists also use vascular lasers and intense pulsed light devices to treat persistent redness, ‘broken’ capillaries and difficult cases of rosacea. Multiple treatments are often required. Surgical procedures or resurfacing lasers may be used in the treatment of rhinophymoma. Rosacea can recur and future treatments may be necessary. Without treatment, some patients may slowly worsen leading to distressing disfigurement and serious eye disease.