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What do you know about Rosacea?

Rosacea (pronounced rose-ay-sha) is a relatively common skin problem amongst the middle-aged population of the U.K, causing a variety of symptoms ranging from recurrent blushing attacks, progressing through permanent red skin with ‘broken veins’ to acne-like eruptions with pustules and lumps.

It tends to run in families and as a result many people mistakenly believe that their florid complexion is simply a family characteristic that they must learn to live with or a ‘healthy’, rosy complexion or an ‘outdoor’ glow.

As many as one in ten women between the ages of 30 and 55 probably suffer from some form of Rosacea. Although it is not as common in men, those who do suffer tend to have a more severe form affecting the nose, called rhinophyma. In these people, the nasal skin thickens and turns in colour to a deep purplish-red giving the impression of a large, deformed nose, often mistakenly associated with excessive drinking. These thickenings can also occur on the cheek, chin and forehead.

Like many other skin conditions, Rosacea is not life threatening. However, because of the affect it has on appearance, it can be very distressing and embarrassing. Many people with facial redness go through life not knowing what it is, that it can be treated or even being aware that without treatment it is likely to get steadily worse. So it is important to report facial redness, excessive flushing and spots to a doctor for a diagnosis and to then start a course of medication. It mustn’t be assumed to be due to age, food or an allergy and expected to go away.

Rosacea is a long-term skin disorder with inflammation of the blood vessels and skin, which causes the skin to redden on the cheeks, nose and sometime the forehead and chin. In the early stages, the skin redness may appear as periodic blushing attacks, but as the condition progresses, spots may appear and blood vessels under the skin surface may become abnormally enlarged, appearing as visible thin red lines on the surface of the skin.

The true cause of Rosacea is still unknown. Numerous suggestions have been put forward, but it now seems likely that there is no single cause and it is probably due to a variety of factors including heredity, skin colour and structure.

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