Rosacea, which is also called acne rosacea or adult acne, is a condition with chronic redness of the facial skin, easy flushing, and sometimes acne-like breakouts. Women are more likely to show symptoms on the chin and cheeks, whereas in men the nose is commonly involved. Rosacea is most common during or after middle age and is often called adult acne. People of northern European descent and those with fair complexions are more likely to have rosacea. It’s treatable but usually not curable.
The cause is unknown. Alcohol, hot beverages, and certain foods do not cause it but can make it worse. Rosacea may run in families.
The skin of the nose, cheeks, chin, and forehead is affected. Redness, swelling, and pimples or pustules appear on the skin. Small blood vessels under the skin can get bigger and noticeable. They look like thin red lines on the face or nose. Skin can become oily. In more severe cases, larger bumps on the nose occur. Rarely, eyes and eyelids are affected, with swelling, redness, dry eyes, and burning.
Rosacea has three stages, each with different symptoms. Early symptoms include flushing or redness that comes and goes. Spicy food, sunlight, or alcohol can trigger these. Middle stage symptoms are the same but last longer. Skin may burn or sting, and eyes feel itchy or gritty. In the advanced stage, redness becomes permanent, small and sometimes painful pimples may appear, skin may burn or sting, eyes may be watery and irritated, and the nose can become red and swollen.
Because their skin looks similar to that of chronic alcohol abusers, people with rosacea are often thought of as being closet alcoholics. This isn’t true.
The health care provider makes a diagnosis from the physical examination.
Mild cases can sometimes be treated with a topical antibiotic cream (metronidazole, clindamycin, erythromycin) or antibiotics taken by mouth. Rosacea often returns and may need a smaller dose of medicine taken regularly to control symptoms. Early treatment may slow disease progress. In more severe cases, a combination of medicines may be needed. Severe nose swelling in rare cases needs surgery, but laser treatment may help. A laser is sometimes used for large veins and redness. The health care provider will usually suggest seeing a dermatologist (specialist in skin diseases).
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Copyright © 2016 by Saunders, an imprint of Elsevier, Inc.
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