RosaceaRosacea is a chronic skin disease that causes slight redness on various parts of the face and, less commonly, on the neck, scalp and chest. Rosacea is widely considered a cosmetic concern or a medical condition, unless it affects the eyes, in which case certain medicines are immediately employed. Rosacea can also cause other cosmetic ailments such as rhinophyma. It is commonly triggered by specific environmental and behavioral prompts. The characteristic symptom of rosacea is redness of the skin. However, other common symptoms include:

  • Dryness
  • Swelling
  • Burning sensation
  • Eye irritation
  • Pimple-like blemishes

Although there is no known definitive cause for rosacea, doctors have hypothesized it can be related to hypersensitivity of certain sensory neurons. This, combined with overactive intestinal bacteria that are otherwise benign, may cause a chain of events which lead to the display of rosacea as we know it. In addition, patients with rosacea have elevated levels of certain enzymes which are inactivated by several antibiotics that have been deemed effective against rosacea. The most common triggers for rosacea are:

  • Alcohol
  • Caffeine
  • Foods high in histamine
  • Spicy food
  • Sunburn
  • Cold wind
  • Sudden changes in temperature
  • Strenuous exercise
  • Emotional stress

Rosacea is best taken care of by starting treatment early with topical medications. If the redness gets worse or manifests on the eyelid, antibiotics like tetracyclines and metronidazole or more serious medication like isotretinoin may be prescribed. Lasers can be very effective at removing the redness associated with rosacea by vaporizing the blood vessels that cause it. This tissue is then reabsorbed by the body with no permanent damage. This procedure must be repeated periodically to destroy newly forming vessels.