What is Rosacea?
Rosacea is a skin condition that is characterized by redness in the face. Any character in a book or individual in real life who could be described as having ‘ruddy’ cheeks could, strictly speaking, be thought of as affected by rosacea. Many people from fiction, history and folklore, from various incarnations of Maid Marian, to former President Teddy Roosevelt, to Santa Claus, all clasically or truthfully were affected by rosacea.
Especially in light of this comparison, it should be noted that there are many other circmstances that can cause the face to flush red. Individuals that blush in the cold, even if this blush is nearly persistent, are merely blushing nearly persistently. Rosacea is not conditional and is completely persistent, constituting a reddening of the skin over time, not the ‘healthy glow’ that many exhibit.
Rosacea is purely a cosmetic condition. Some classifications of rosacea include pimples or pustules, but these are usually quite minor, though in a few isolated circumstances, rosacean conditions cross over into acneiform territory, as they are treated and alleviated in the same manner. Rosacea tends to persist after onset indefinitely, with exceptions made only for the most minor cases (which are themselves only rosacea in the loosest sense of the classification).
Rosacea can cause damage if it affects the eyes, and can in its most extreme forms cause solid nobs of skin to form on the nose and elsewhere on the face, but only after many, many years of severe rosacea, usually with a host of external conditions augmenting its impact.
Who gets Rosacea?
Rosacea almost exclusively affects individuals of pale, fair skin. Rosacea is all but isolated to Caucasian individuals and has been called ‘the Curse of the Celts’ for its tendency to affect those of fair skin most strongly. Genetics play a huge role; parents with strong exhibition of rosacea will almost always bear children who are similarly affected. This predisposition to rosacea is not unavoidable. The genetic propensity for rosacea is just that: a predisposition to display rosacea due to stimuli later in life. However, rosacea itself can be triggered by such a broad array of factors that it is nearly inevitable.
Onset generally occurs as individuals approach middle age. It is not impossible for adolescents or even small children to suffer from rosacea, but it is fairly rare. Generally, rosacea grows notably more pronounced after onset as environmental influence accumulates. However, this can be avoided somewhat if these environmental factors are assiduously avoided or countered.
What causes Rosacea?
Rosacea is caused by a very broad host of factors, which tend to vary from person to person with respect to what holds the greatest impact in their skin.
Sun exposure is the most common offender, and the median trigger that almost everyone with rosacea will discover, even if they have other triggers affecting them.
The bacteria content of an individual’s stomach may be linked to rosacea, although the data supporting this is incomplete. It certainly affects some individuals’ rosacea, but definitely not all.
Steroid usage may cause rosacea. This most commonly is seen when steroids, such as isotreitonin, are used to treat advanced forms of acne. This may resolve the acne with or without scars but leave in its place deep red rosacea. This is frequently how adolescents and teenagers come to be affected by rosacea.
Various dietary influences may be linked to rosacea, but these are frequently mistaken for having an affect on rosacea when they are actually causing acneiform symptoms, which are superficially similar.
Weather and climate can have an intense impact on rosacea. Heat and humidity are the primary offenders. Unlike most conditions, a season’s exposure to these conditions are sufficient to make a noticable impact on rosacea’s effect.
Heat from all sources can provoke rosacea outbreaks. Everything from hot work conditions, such as would be found in a kitchen or in a workshop, to regular consumption of hot drinks. In some cases as little as one exposure to any of these heat conditions is enough to noticably redden pre-existing rosacea, but these instances are usually mild enough to fade if they are not habitual.
Stimulants and medication containing stimulants can frequently spark rosacea due to their impact on the circulatory system. Stimulants are contained in many medications that exist for no purpose related to alertness, focus or productivity. While the obvious stimulants are included, like ritalin, this also extends to less-obvious stimulants, such as those that can be found in cough and cold medicines.
A number of other conditions and circumstances, some of them very subtle, can also cause rosacea’s onset and spread and increase its impact. These include very fine-tuned and subjective things such as emotional stress and are thus very hard to get a proper metric on.
What does Rosacea cause?
Rosacea initially causes nothing in and of itself but the reddening of the skin. This may be subtle or intense. Sometimes it comes in the form of mottling, other times it is a solid hue. This reddening may be more red or more violet, lighter or darker. It is generally distinguishable from a blush to casual observation. It can in its darkest forms be mistaken for a severe burn scar.
In its most advanced stages, rosacea may cause nobs to form on the skin and benign lesions and scarifications. This is relatively rare, as rosacea must be very advanced to progress to this stage. It is mostly long-lived individuals that see this develop, and usually only if they exhibited rosacea much earlier than most or if they were subject to many of the factors that can contribute to the development of rosacea.
Rosacea, rarely, may cause issues in the eyes, specifically with the retinas. If this should occur, loss of vision is likely.
How serious is Rosacea?
Rosacea is almost purely an aesthetic condition. Cases in which it becomes more than aesthetic are quite rare. That said, rosacea, being aesthetic, can be demoralizing for individuals that find it an unwanted addition to their faces.
What does Rosacea treatment look like?
There is no real treatment for rosacea. There are many things that can be done to reduce the impact of various rosacea triggers. Sun screen and hats are frequently employed to counteract the rays of the sun, and various stimulants and hot drinks can be avoided with simple changes of habit and shows of willpower. Any pimples or pustules that might arise in the wake of rosacea can be handled with any number of the various acne treatments available. Beyond this, however, there is little that can be done to reverse rosacea itself.
It is suggested that individuals concerned with the spread of their rosacea document it and keep a journal of habits and spread, such that they can determine what causes their rosacea to flare up, and thus avoid those behaviors in the future.
How do I know if I have Rosacea?
Rosacea is quite distinct, and is usually easily identifiable as such. There is no single test for rosacea, although it is posible to determine what specific individuals in a person’s system are contributing to a confirmed case of rosacea. Any questions regarding a case or potential case of rosacea should be routed through a medical professional.
How many types of Rosacea conditions are there?
Rosacea is not a single condition, but rather a host of conditions all with their own separate nuances. Some are more harmful than others. This overview only covers basic rosacea, the symptoms of which are shared with all other forms.