Rosacea is a difficult-to-treat skin condition that usually, but not always, affects fair skinned individuals. It has no relation to common acne.
It has many clinical findings, but not all are necessarily found on the same patient. It is characterised by:
1. Facial redness that worsens with sun exposure, alcohol intake, hot and spicy food and drinks. It is associated with the presence of widened small vessels.
2. Spots and pimples often with a white head.
3. An aggrevating sense of foreign body or 'sand' in the eyes.
4. A burning or sometimes itching sensation in the face.
5. On some cases that are not dealt early and appropriately, formation of small lumps due to granuloma formation. It may even disfigure the nose leading to 'rhinophyma'.
We have a special research interest in this condition, with three published papers in established international journals, with original findings that have guided us to develop the treatment protocols we use with great success.
Although it is a multifactorial disease, the first and foremost in its establishment is the destruction of skin elastic fibers from chronic sun exposure.
It is crucial for a patient to present as early as possible in the course of this condition and to avoid the use of steroids in any form since they are contraindicated. It is also essential to have good patient compliance with regards to changing certain habits such as sun exposure, alcohol intake etc.
It is not a condition that is treated within days or even weeks. It requires a combined and targeted pharmaceutical approach to deal with the inflammation first, followed by carefull interventions with skin peels and specific vascular lasers to remodel the damaged collagen and elastic fibers and to decrease telangectasias and redness. This will allow the patient to be relapse free for years without the need for treatments. On the other hand, if the therapy protocol is inadequate, relapses are common.