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April 15, 2014

The truth about rosacea

Do you suffer from rosacea? Perhaps you even get stared at sometimes? That’s because many people mistakenly believe that this skin condition is caused by alcoholism. Since old rumours tend to die hard, let’s take a moment to better understand this disease. 

Risk factors and causes of rosacea

Rosacea is a chronic, incurable skin disease that has long been associated with acne. It affects an estimated 45 million people worldwide and is especially prominent among those with a fair complexion and light eyes. (Africans and Asians rarely develop rosacea).

According to a Swedish epidemiological study, the prevalence of rosacea is 14 percent in women and 5 percent in men. People who tend to blush easily are also more prone to the disease. 

Researchers have not yet been able to establish the exact causes of rosacea. Many believe that genetic and environmental factors, vascular or inflammatory problems or bacteria may be involved. 

Good to know!
While women and people with fair skin are more prone to rosacea, the men who do get it often have a more severe form.

Detecting the signs of rosacea

Rosacea usually develops around age 30 and tends to get worse with time. It begins with redness on the cheeks and nose, which can spread to the forehead and chin. As the disease progresses, the redness becomes more pronounced and small dilated blood vessels, referred to as telangiectasia or spider veins, can appear on the cheeks and wings of the nose. 

Other symptoms include:

  • dry skin;
  • eye symptoms (dryness, stinging, tearing, redness, sensitivity);
  • burning or stinging of the face;
  • breakouts (pimples or papules that do not always respond to standard acne treatments);
  • dilated pores;
  • greater skin sensitivity.

In most cases, the redness becomes permanent, at times leading to major psychosocial issues for sufferers. That is why you should consult a dermatologist at the first signs of the disease. This skin specialist can provide a diagnosis and prescribe treatments aimed at reducing symptoms (since there is no known cure at the moment). 

Good to know!
In many people, the symptoms of rosacea are cyclical, with flare-ups followed by a period of remission. In advanced stages, skin thickens and swells further. In more severe cases, a condition known as rhinophyma may develop. More common among men, rhinophyma is characterized by an enlarged, ruddy (almost purple-coloured) nose and red, swollen cheeks. At all stages of the disease, other parts of the body, such as the neck and chest, can be affected. 

Pharmacy services

Do you have questions about rosacea and its treatment? Just talk to your pharmacist for more information!