May 2015 –
Causes of Rosacea
The causes of rosacea are not fully understood. Although nothing has been conclusively proven through research, theories surrounding rosacea causes have ranged from autoimmune responses to bacteria, to a mite (demodex) that lives in high numbers on some rosacea sufferers, to a protein (cathelicidin) that usually protects the skin from infection.
The trouble is—virtually everyone is exposed to mites, bacteria and other possible causes. Why do only some people fall victim to rosacea?
Signs and Symptoms of Rosacea
For an esthetician, nurse practitioner or other non-specialist healthcare provider, it is imperative to be sensitive to the symptoms of rosacea, as well as a client’s family history, lifestyle and medical conditions.
A typical diagnosis is based on red facial skin witheasy blushing, which may not be considered a problem by the sufferer. There are three stages of rosacea, including:
- Stage I: A breakout of red skin presents, where the sufferer complains of burning, itching skin that is particularly sensitive after application of the wrong cosmetics, suncreens or scents. Small red veins appear. Bumps and pimples may accompany the outbreak. Such breakouts last from hours to days.
- Stage II: Inflamed papules and pustules present, and the breakouts last for weeks. Pores become enlarged, and damage from the sun can cause distinct scarring. If the sufferer is bald, the pustules can extend into the scalp area. They often cover the neck, throat and behind the ears, even over the back.
- Stage III: Large, inflamed nodules on the cheek and nose present, and skin becomes swollen and rough with enlarged pores with an appearance that may be compared to the peel of an orange. The nose is often one of the first and most prominent areas affected, as noted above when discussing the rhinophyma.
Rosacea often also involves the eyes. The problem can begin with the eyes and is another often misdiagnosed problem. Symptoms include dry, irritated, swollen and red eyelids, conjunctivitis and inflammation of the cornea and iris.
Rosacea is a disorder that affects an estimated 16 million people in the United States and 45 million people around the world. Often mistaken for acne (and mistreated as such), rosacea can cause tiny red pimples, dry skin and fine red lines. It has periodic flare-ups with symptoms that come and go. It is more frequent among women, yet more severe among men. It can worsen over time if left unchecked, resulting in rhinophyma—where the sebaceous glands in the nose and cheeks become enlarged and tissue builds up.
The unsightly blemishes, dryness, redness and skin disformity asssociated with rosacea can easily affect a sufferer’s quality of life, often negatively impacting their self-esteem. Many people report that the affliction has left them depressed and anxious.