Rosacea has been observed more in women than men, particularly those that have a fair color and are between ages 30 and 50. The disease is often not diagnosed properly and is incorrectly identified as sunburn.
Rosacea can be divided into four main types that have been classified on the basis of their characteristics and symptoms. Generally, the first subtype appears first and later progresses on to subtype 2 and 3. The first three subtypes often occur together, but subtype 4 can occur individually as well as in combination.
Referred to as erythematotelangiectatic rosacea, subtype 1 rosacea is characterized by redness and flushing in the central region of the face. At times, the skin can become swollen and frog patches may form on the surface. A stinging and burning sensation is one of the common symptoms.
Subtype 2 rosacea, known as papulopustular rosacea, is characterized by a constant redness, accompanied by pimple sand bumps. These are very similar to acne and may cause a burning sensation. Subtype 2 rosacea usually appears after type 1.
Subtype 3 rosacea, or phymatous rosacea, appears on the nose and causes it to become enlarged. The surface also becomes bumpy and red.
Subtype 4, or ocular rosacea, involves reddish and irritated eyes. Often the eyes are watery and may feel dry. The vision may be blurred and the eyes might become sensitive to light. Ocular rosacea can appear individually and with other forms of rosacea as well.
The symptoms of rosacea appear in four distinct stages: flushing, redness, blood vessels becoming visible, and the formation of bumps accompanied by skin thickening.
Flushing causes the skin to become red, giving it an appearance that is very similar to a sunburn. Beneath the skin, the blood flow increases in the vessels below, and the redness becomes noticeable and constant.
Another common symptom of rosacea is the appearance of pimples or papules that are very similar to acne. This is why rosacea is also referred to as adult acne at times.
Red Lines Or Telangiectasias
Since blood flow increases, the vessels also expand to support the increased amounts. These enlarged vessels appear as red lines on the face, and are particularly prominent on the cheeks.
If rosacea is not controlled, it causes the surface of the nose to become bumpy and swollen. This symptom is usually associated with men and is called rhinophyma.
Eye irritation is a common symptom of the subtype 4 rosacea, and is generally very mild. Rarely does the condition become severe, but if it does, it can impact vision.
The exact causes of rosacea are not known, but there are several speculations. Genetics is definitely one of these and is a contributing factor. Most of the research claims that an abnormal function of the blood vessels can cause rosacea, particularly so since flushing becomes eminent because of it. At times, the blood vessels can damage when exposed to sunlight, but there is no concrete evidence for this.
Mites can also contribute to rosacea and influence the symptoms. These normally do reside on human skin, but in people with rosacea, their numbers increase. Whether this is a cause or an effect has yet to be determined.
In some cases, rosacea can also be caused by chemicals and drugs such as alcohol, steroids, increased dosages of certain vitamins and even hot beverages.
Certain things worsen the symptoms of rosacea. The most common of these include stress, hot climates, strenuous exercise, alcohol, humidity and specific medications.
Rosacea is often not diagnosed properly and is mistaken for acne, sunburn or allergic reaction. This is usually in the initial stages. Once the symptom progresses, rosacea can be identified with flushing and persistent redness.
Treatment And Prevention
The best way to control rosacea is to avoid the triggers and apply antibiotic creams and gels onto the affected areas.