Rosacea usually affects the skin of the face, with episodes of redness, flushing, papules and pustules (pimples) and patches of tiny visible blood vessels (called telangiectasia). It can be very distressing and affect self-esteem and self-confidence. It is considered a chronic condition with variations in intensity and frequency.

It is most commonly diagnosed in women aged 30-50, and usually affects people with fair skin of Northern European ancestry, and women are more often affected than men.

The Symptoms

The most common symptom is blushing or flushing, which becomes more persistent and intense over time. Other symptoms become obvious, including pimple-like spots and the telangiectasia described above. The ongoing episodes of flushing lead to inflammation which further irritates the area, giving the appearance of persistent redness.

Because of the obvious facial redness, rosacea causes embarrassment and issues with self-esteem, in the longer term leading to stress, depression and anxiety, which may inflame the appearance of redness.

There are four subtypes of rosacea, with slightly different features:

  • Subtype 1: erythematotelangiectatic rosacea where (flushing and ongoing facial redness);
  • Subtype 2: papulopustular rosacea (facial redness with papules and/or pustules);
  • Subtype 3: phymatous rosacea (thickened areas of the skin of the nose, chin, forehead, cheeks or ears); and
  • Subtype 4: ocular rosacea (inflammation of the eye and eyelid).

The Causes

There are a number of factors involved in the development of rosacea, but an exact cause is still unknown. There is evidence of genetic causes and physical factors (such as vascular and inflammatory), but environmental triggers are considered the most significant factor.

These may include:

  • Heat
  • Exposure to sun
  • Vigorous exercise
  • Emotional stress
  • Cosmetics and skin care products
  • Certain foods (e.g. spicy)
  • Alcohol, and
  • Skin mites (these live normally on the skin and in eyelashes)

These triggers may cause or worsen rosacea by dilating blood vessels and sending more blood to the surface of the skin.

The Treatment

Treatment begins with prevention. For most patients with rosacea, avoiding triggers such as hot food and drinks, cosmetics and skincare, sun exposure, and activities that cause flushing, will assist with reducing the most visible symptoms.

First-line treatments including topical and oral treatments:

  • Creams lotions and gels can be applied directly to the affected areas and may used alone or in combination. There are a large number of available options, depending on the type and severity of the rosacea. The objective is to provide an anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effect.
  • Oral antibiotic treatments are especially helpful for patients presenting with large numbers of pustules, and often proves most successful in the long term, in combination with topical measures.
  • For resistant or persistent rosacea that doesn’t respond to conventional treatment, light and laser therapies have shown some success. This is particularly true of vascular and phymatous subtypes of the condition. As with all procedural therapies, there are risks to be considered, and multiple treatments are usually required.
  • Like most skin disorders, rosacea is chronic and may fluctuate in its severity over a number of years. Progress may be slow or rapid, or may resolve completely for a while. It is important to continue clinical discussions with your treating healthcare professionals, especially if taking oral antibiotics, during all stages of the condition.

Patients of Ocean Cosmetics are most commonly treated with a combination of regular LED Light Treatments to assist with calming and reducing the redness of the skin as well as a series of BroadBand Light (BBL) treatments every 2-3 weeks to help with the vascular component within the skin.