What is Rosacea?
Rosacea is an extremely common chronic skin condition, characterized by redness and bumps (often filled with pus) on the forehead, cheeks, nose, chin, neck, chest and sometimes scalp. Rosacea can also cause swelling, burning and itching of the eyes, and small red lines, caused by broken blood vessels, that can be seen from under the skin. Rosacea symptoms come and go. The condition affects some 14 million Americans, according to the American Academy of Dermatology. Rosacea is often mistaken for other skin conditions, such as allergies or eczema. Early professional treatment is important in alleviating symptoms. Otherwise, they are likely to worsen. Over the counter products are generally ineffective, and can even aggravate symptoms.
The exact cause of rosacea is still not entirely understood. Researchers believe it most likely has a genetic component and may involve an overactive immune system. However, a long list of triggers that precipitate and/or exacerbate flare ups are well known. Among the most common of these are: sun exposure, emotional stress, heavy exercise, extreme hot or cold weather, caffeine, wind, alcohol, spicy foods, heavy exercise, hot baths, heated beverages and menopause. Anyone can develop rosacea, but its is most common among fair-skinned individuals between the ages of 30 and 50 of Celtic or Scandinavian ancestry. Women are slightly more prone to rosacea than men. However, men are more likely to develop severe cases of rosacea.
While rosacea cannot be cured, the condition and its symptoms can definitely be managed with various treatments. These include: medication, including antibiotic therapy, sulfur medications and/or azelaic acid. Along with topical and oral medications, long-term control of symptoms has been achieved for many patients with: dermabration, electrocautery (a procedure that utilizes electric current to treat the skin) and laser technologies.
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