What is rosacea?
Rosacea, or acne rosacea, is a skin disorder leading to redness and pimples on the nose, forehead, cheekbones, and chin. The inflamed pimples and redness of rosacea can look a great deal like acne, but blackheads are almost never present. Rosacea is a facial rash that occurs in middle-aged men and women. It may be transient, recurrent or persistent. It most
often affects those aged 30 to 60, especially those with fair skin, blue eyes and of Celtic origin.
Rosacea is a chronic, inflammatory, progressive skin condition affecting primarily adults between the ages of 30 and 60. Often called "adult acne," rosacea is not acne at all, but a disorder that produces redness, small pimples and broken blood vessels on the face. Rosacea affects the cheeks, nose, chin and forehead - rarely it involves the trunk and upper limbs. It may be aggravated by facial creams or oils, and especially by topical steroids.
Rosacea used to be called 'acne rosacea' but it is quite different from acne. There are red spots (papules) and sometimes pustules in both conditions, but in rosacea they are dome-shaped rather than pointed and there are no blackheads, whiteheads, deep cysts, or lumps. Rosacea may also result in reddened skin, scaling and swelling of affected areas.
Rosacea becomes progressively worse in many of those affected. The real cause of rosacea is now thought to be a tendency to flush and blush in a person with sun damage. Sun damages the supporting fibers of the small blood vessels just under the surface of the skin, allowing the vessels to stretch out (become permanently dilated). The damaged blood vessels leak fluid when flushing occurs, resulting in blotchy red areas. Swelling occurs, but is not usually so prominent to be very visible. The first sign most people see are small red pimples and pustules (pus-filled whiteheads). The redness can come and go and may be tender, inflamed and sensitive to the touch. Later, the skin tissue can swell and thicken. Eventually the redness and swelling can become permanent.
Eventually the capillaries become visible through the skin's surface; these are called telangiectasis. They often start on the sides of the nose. In a fair, delicate skin predisposed to rosacea, anything that makes one flush will promote rosacea and telangiectasis. A person's lifestyle and habits can be the skin's worst enemy. The more blood vessels one has near the surface of the skin, the more one is likely to flush and stay flushed.