What is Papulopustular Rosacea?
Papulopustular rosacea is a subcategorical form of rosacea that is characterized by its extensive papules and pustules. Papules are simply raised and discolored bubbles of skin, solid and without visible fluid. Pustules are very similar, except rather than being solid, they are filled with pus. Both are usually very small, and this is especially true with papulopustular rosacea.
Like most forms of rosacea, papulopustular rosacea is primarily an aesthetic condition. However, the addition of the papules and pustules opens the skin up to a certain degree of scarring and infection. Thus, papulopustular rosacea carries with it different concerns that, in some cases, may subsume the importance of rosacea’s mainstay redness if other complications are present.
The ruddiness of the skin that results from rosacea is still present and in full force with papulopustular rosacea. The inflammation of the acne-like papules and pustules tends to compound with the redness of the rosacea itself, resulting in a greater intensity to the cosmetic effects. Vascular visibility remains a possibility as well; papulopustular rosacea is identical to rosacea aside from the additional presence of pustules and papules.
Papulopustular rosacea is fairly common, not far behind garden variety rosacea. However, it is very easy to mistake for a simple outbreak of acne.
Who gets Papulopustular Rosacea?
Papulopustular rosacea may afflict any individual vulnerable to rosacea. Papulopustular rosacea is not completely unique, however; parents who both have rosacea are very likely to give birth to a child that themselves goes on to have rosacea develop later in life, but these children may just as easily develop papulopustular rosacea.
Because it is a rosacean condition, the usual predisposing factors apply. Caucasians are more likely to develop papulopustular rosacea than individuals of other ethnicities. It is possible for others to develop papulopustular rosacea as well, but this does not occur as often.
Papulopustular rosacea differs from standard rosacea in that it has the element of inflammation attached. This inflammation is usually not the result of sebaceous hyperplasia; other forms of skin irritation usually apply for the formation of pustules.
Contrary to popular belief, papulopustular rosacea is not a form of acne as-such. Because it does not have sebaceous hyperplasia as a direct cause, it is not an acneiform condition even if the redness and pustules themselves appear to be a form of acne. Some very general forms of skin care that apply to acne may also apply to papulopustular rosacea, but none of the forms of treatment that act directly on acne for its being acne will have any effectiveness.
What causes Papulopustular Rosacea?
Papulopustular rosacea is caused by the juxtaposition of the papulopustular outbreak and rosacea. All of the usual rosacea triggers apply, with sunlight at the forefront and climate close behind. However, papulopustular rosacea also has its own unique triggers that become far more likely.
Heat is a major offender with respect to triggering an outbreak of papulopustular rosacea, as are most of the triggers that revolve around irritation of the skin. The papules that form are usually the result of skin irritation and the pustules that form are usually a form of immune response to the same. As consequence, heat is a primary offender, as is any form of skin infection.
Because it results from the inflammation of the skin, it is more sensitive to certain issues that rosacea itself is unaffected by. Hormonal changes such as those brought about by a monthly cycle or other changes in hormone levels may cause an outbreak of papulopustular rosacea.
What does Papulopustular Rosacea cause?
Papulopustular rosacea has the same symptoms and results as rosacea. However, the addition of the papules and pustules does leave the body more vulnerable to infection. The raised texture of the papules and pustules makes the skin much more susceptible to mechanical excoriation; that is, scratching, splitting and other damage. This, coupled with the potentially itchy nature of the pustules, makes it possible to scratch at, which can further lead to infection and greater difficulty much in the same way that acne can cause similar issues.
Papulopustular rosacea is more likely to inflict the long-term damage to the skin that advanced rosacea is capable of, such as the nobbing of the nose. It is not more likely to progress to the eyes, however, which is the primary and only real risk behind rosacea that is not cosmetic, but it still may.
Most of the effects of papulopustular rosacea are otherwise psychological. Due to the redness and the raised pustules, papulopustular rosacea can very strongly resemble acne, and this can carry the same attache of psychological baggage, primarily as related to self-esteem. This holds even more true if the papulopustular rosacea should cause scarring.
How serious is Papulopustular Rosacea?
Papulopustular rosacea is not serious. Much like rosacea, the only true risk is that it may spread to the retinas and cause damage to the vision. However, this is fairly uncommon. The papules and pustules are completely benign and harmless. Very rarely, papulopustular rosacea may signify a more serious underlying condition, but this does not make papulopustular rosacea more serious in and of itself.
While basic papulopustular rosacea should still be addressed with a medical professional, before it constitutes a potential risk to vision. It is important to track the spread of rosacea for this purpose.
What does Papulopustular Rosacea treatment look like?
Treatment for papulopustular rosacea is quite limited, much in the same way rosacea treatment is limited. Most of what can be done to ‘treat’ papulopustular rosacea is the same as the treatment for rosacea: systematic avoidance of flare-ups as can be brought about by various environmental stimuli. Individuals concerned with and impacted by papulopustular rosacea might consider avoiding the more specific causes like heat a little more aggressively.
Treatment for the papules and pustules separately may occur, but only within limits. Topical lotions may help to assuage the inflammation somewhat, but there is not much more that can be done. Antibiotics may have an impact on the pustules, since they indicate some form of mild infection, but this would almost always be prescribed for another, separate condition; the pustules of papulopustular rosacea are not serious enough ina nd of themselves to warrant antibiotic treatment, which will inevitably result in a bolstered immunity to the antibiotics used.
It is important to avoid irritating the site of papulopustular rosacea. Much like acne, it is wise to keep scrubbing gentle and limited, as otherwise the skin may be damaged and left vulnerable to infection. This, however, is not really a form of treatment; it will not alleviate the swelling, papules or pustules, but it may help to prevent their spread and any increase in their severity.
Treatments that aid acne specifically are quite ineffectual, especially acid-based treatments. These are more likely to irritate the skin further by drying it out and depriving it of its own natural oils. More advanced acne treatments may similarly affect it, but this is something a dermatologist will be aware of and act in response to.
How do I know if I have Papulopustular Rosacea?
Papulopustular rosacea should not be self-diagnosed, as with all skin conditions. Rosacea is fairly easy to determine, as it has a richly red distinctive appearance, but papulopustular rosacea may simply resemble an outbreak of basic acne vulgaris, and a mild one at that. Papulopustular rosacea, however, will not result in pimples; not every raised and discolored blemish is actually indicative of an acneiform condition.
The primary delineation between the appearance of papulopustular rosacea and acne is that the papules and pustules will gravitate with a great degree of exclusivity to the areas affected by rosacea. Thus, they will be discolored, raised blemishes on discolored, red skin, and nowhere else. This is the easiest way to tell papulopustular rosacea from a mild dusting of acne, but any dermatologist should know this at a glance.