Rosacea is a chronic inflammatory skin condition that affects more than 14 million Americans of all ages and is particularly common in fair skin types. It is often referred to as “acne rosacea” because rosacea may cause small, red pustules that resemble acne, however the two conditions are not one in the same.
The exact cause of rosacea is unknown, however the medical community suspects heredity may be a primary factor in determining your risk of developing rosacea. Aside from genetics, other potential rosacea causes include genetic predisposition combined with sun exposure and medications that result in blood vessel dilation, as well as a particular mite found in hair follicles (Demodex folliculorum).
Triggers are circumstances or stimuli that cause rosacea symptoms to occur. Common rosacea triggers include sun exposure, stress, extreme temperatures, spicy foods, vigorous exercise, particular medications, cosmetics or skin care products and alcohol consumption.
Rosacea affects everyone differently, and while most people who suffer from this condition experience rosacea symptoms on their face (especially the nose, chin, cheeks, and forehead), others may show rosacea symptoms on their ears, neck, chest, back or eyes.
Patches of dry, scaly skin ranging in size from a pen tip to a half dollar should be checked out by a dermatologist to prevent an occurrence of actinic keratosis from going untreated and progressing into a more serious skin condition.
Topical medications are often prescribed to treat rosacea, particularly products containing retinoids (Retin-A), metronidazole (Metrogel), or azelaic acid (Finacea Gel). Rosacea may also be treated with oral medications, including isotretinoin, better known as Accutane or Roaccutane, or oral antibiotics, including minocycline, tetracycline and erythromycin.
Laser treatments can also be extremely effective for treating rosacea. The Photo Facial, which utilizes IPL or intense pulsed light, is ideal for treating common rosacea symptoms, such as facial redness and blushing and broken capillaries. KTP Laser treatment is also effective for treating visible blood vessels.
More advanced cases of rosacea, such as those that result in significant nasal tissue thickening or rhinophyma, may require a deeper laser resurfacing procedure, such as CO2 Laser Resurfacing.