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Rosacea, is it just a red flushed face?

Updated: Jun 7, 2023


ROSACEA or acne rosacea, is a non-contagious skin inflammation that exclusively affects the face. The small surface blood vessels (capillaries) of the skin enlarge, giving the appearance of a permanent flush. The forehead, cheeks and chin may develop yellow-headed pimples. Unlike acne, rosacea does not scar. It is most common is fair skinned middle aged women but may start in childhood.

facial skin with rosacea

What causes Rosacea?


Rosacea is often both genetic and environmental, and can be triggered by, emotional stress, sun exposure and heat, alcohol, spicy foods, hormonal changes and cosmetics. It is thought to also be related to an alteration in the skin or gut microbiome with an increase of Helicobacter pylori, Demodex folliculorum or Staphylcoccus epidermidis.


The most significant environmental trigger is UV light; affected skin is more sensitive to exposure. UV light can damage the dermis and increase skin inflammation.


What are the clinical features of rosacea?

Features of the skin include:

  • Transient recurrent erythema, ie, flushing

  • Persistent facial redness

  • Telangiectasia or broken blood vessels that are visible as small red lines on the skin

  • Inflammatory papules and pustules (papulopustular)

  • Phymatous changes

    • Thickening of the skin due to hyperplasia/fibrosis of the sebaceous glands of the face

    • Most common area affected is the nose (termed rhinophyma)

    • More commonly present in men.


Lifestyle advice

  • Record a symptom diary to aid the identification of triggers:

    • Common triggers include spicy food, hot/cold temperatures (hot baths), exercise, sun exposure, cosmetic products, medications (those that cause vasodilation), alcohol, fruits and vegetables, dairy, marinated meat products


General skincare advice

  • Moisturise frequently with gentle moisturisers

  • Use gentle over-the-counter cleansers

  • Use physical sunscreens (ie, zinc oxide/titanium oxide) with SPF ≥ 30

    • Provides broad-spectrum UV and visible light protection

    • May be better tolerated than chemical sunscreens

  • Avoid abrasive exfoliants

  • Avoid alcohol-based topical products

  • Avoid use of topical steroids as they may aggravate the condition

  • Cosmetics with a green tint are useful to minimise the appearance of redness.

In health & happiness,

Kirsty


To get some help with your Rosacea book an appointment today.



For more information go to https://dermnetnz.org/topics/rosac


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