Acne Rosacea: Causes and Treatment

acne rosacea causes and treatment

One thing that pop culture and artists remind us of is the apparent beauty of rosy cheeks and red lips. Although that paints a pretty picture in our imagination, the reality behind rosy cheeks is far from pleasant. More often than not, in Caucasian people, the reason behind their rosy cheeks or reddening on their faces is a skin condition known as Acne Rosacea.

What is Acne Rosacea?

Acne Rosacea is known as an autoinflammatory skin condition that affects adults(1); till present, it is incurable but manageable with proper medication and care. It shows up usually in Caucasians and tends to be more of an affliction of the fair skinned. It is benign but is not something you grow out of, unlike normal acne that teenagers suffer from.

It is commonly referred to as adult acne. That is one of the distinguishing factors between normal acne and acne rosacea. Normal acne, scientifically referred to as acne vulgaris, is prone to strike during a specific age period, precisely starting from teenage years, extending to mid-twenties at the most.

However, this skin condition pertains to adults and once it makes an appearance, it is known to become worse as time passes by. And this only increases in severity if you don’t treat it medically. One of the biggest misconceptions that people have regarding skin conditions is when they write off signs of acne rosacea as simple “flushing of the skin” or general “skin sensitivity”.

Also read: What causes Acne?

What causes Acne Rosacea?

The causes of Rosacea are mostly genetic dispositions, often aggravated by environmental conditions and exposing the skin to external factors(2). Acne rosacea becomes prominent on the face, especially in the central acne prone region when small blood vessels get dilated.

People who fall prey to Rosacea usually have genetically reduced ability to dampen and decrease the blow caused by facial inflammation. On the other hand, this genetic trait is just the starting point of Rosacea, whereas different fluctuations are known to worsen the condition and are seen as the causes.

Among these factors, the more prominent ones are fluctuations in the weather conditions. When exposed to sudden changes in the weather like increased cold winds or sudden sunlight exposure, people tend to “flush” more profusely. And since people with more frequent flushing of the skin are more easily susceptible to rosacea, this becomes a major cause.

The sun, in particular, is cruel on acne rosacea and its severity. Simple sunburn is no longer a simple skin issue if you have acne rosacea. The region of the skin suffering from the sunburn becomes increasingly sensitive, and healing takes more time.

Emotional turmoil like stress and anxiety are also major causes for aggravating rosacea. Apart from what you are feeling, even what you are consuming may lead to making your skin condition worse.

Spicy cuisine should be given a wide berth if you feel you have chances of developing rosacea. Similarly, consumption of alcohol and the presence of alcohol in our system has been studied and termed to hold relevance in the worsening of Rosacea.

How to deal with Acne Rosacea during Pregnancy?

There are yet to be established findings which identify why exactly acne rosacea shows up during pregnancy. But it is a reality that this often happens. For a pregnant woman, this is a stressful time, especially when she was promised the characteristic “pregnancy glow” and instead gets red rashes on her face.

It can only be correctly diagnosed by a dermatologist, making it very important for pregnant women facing constant redness, flushing and hyper reactions to sun exposure to immediately consult an expert.

Although the common treatment for rosacea is usually of the topical or oral form, carrying various chemicals like benzoyl peroxide and tretinoin(3), this becomes a concern when the patient is pregnant. We need to watch what ingredients are getting absorbed into the body, for the sake of the fetus’s safety.

Therefore, the more recommended solutions made available to pregnant patients are treatments like laser and light therapy. Although this is prescribed normally for those with advanced forms of the acne, it is the safest bet for pregnant women. It specifically addresses blood vessels made visible by inflation, and particular thickening of the skin due to the condition(4).

Dermatologists further use laser resurfacing to reduce thick skin caused by this condition. The light has the capability of getting rid of such blood vessels alone. So this is the best remedy recommended by dermatologists for pregnant women.

Is Acne Rosacea an autoimmune disease?

There have been consistent studies conducted to find the link between Rosacea and its autoimmune status. One established fact is that Acne Rosacea is indeed a marker for autoimmune disease(5). So if you suffer from rosacea, chances are higher that you may fall prey to other autoimmune diseases.

Although this sounds severe, with some suitable changes to your lifestyle and careful monitoring, this need not be a threat to your health. This is where doctors come in and play a major role. With professional consultation, rosacea and its autoimmune traits can reign to a great degree.

Can Acne Rosacea be cured?

As previously mentioned, acne rosacea is still termed as an “incurable” disease. As morose as that sounds, the reality is that it is incurable, but it can be greatly controlled and addressed with proper medical treatment and a suitable skincare routine.

The worst thing to do with rosacea would be to ignore its symptoms and consider it as just another bout of acne. This will only add to the permanence of the skin condition and its marks. So if you come across the symptoms or signs, be sure to visit a dermatologist to get a handle on it and come out victorious from the condition.

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Dr Jisha Gomez

Dr Jisha Gomez

She is a highly skilled dermatology physician with strong expertise in improving skin & hair health through the development of corrective treatment combinations. She completed her Post-graduate Diploma in Dermatology from Cardiff, UK & Fellowship in Aesthetic Medicine (FAM) from the Institute of Laser and Aesthetic Medicine, Delhi with over 5+ years experience treating skin patients. She has worked in Government hospitals in Trivandrum and Bangalore. She is actively involved in creating awareness for healthy skin, breaking the social stigma based on skin colour & stopping steroid abuse in our country.