Written by Maya Amhaz
Rosacea is a chronic, inflammatory skin condition affecting the skin of the central face that sometimes produces small, red, pus-filled bumps or pustules.
Did you know there are four different types of rosacea. You may experience a combination of different symptoms from each type, here’s what to look out for:
Type 1 – Erythematotelangiectatic Rosacea
- redness – a little bit like sunburn that doesn’t go away
- flushing – this is usually an early sign of the condition
- spider vein – like broken blood vessels (telangiectasia)
- swollen skin (erythema) which may feel sensitive
- stinging sensation
- rough or dry flaky skin (rosacea dermatitis)
Type 2 – Papulopustular Rosacea
- redness and flushing as with type 1
- pustules and papules which are basically yellow pimples and small red bumps. While this may seem like acne it could be a type of rosacea, particularly if they sting or burn.
- afflicting the nose, forehead, cheeks and chin; rarely the trunk and upper limbs may also be affected
Type 3 – Ocular Rosacea
- bloodshot or red and irritated eyes
- dry eyes that may itch or burn and sting
- and/or blurred vision
- may include papules and styes
- possible firm swelling of the eyelids and other areas
Type 4 – Phymatous Rosacea
- the skin on the face (typically on the nose) may thicken and swell, with a bumpy texture
- broken blood vessels and enlarged pores
Rosacea may be transient, recurrent or persistent with most sufferers having good and bad days. Rosacea signs and symptoms may also develop beyond the face, most commonly on the neck, chest, scalp or ears.
Causes & Aggravators:
The exact causes of rosacea are still not fully understood and are the subject of ongoing research. It is increasingly believed that rather than any one single cause, there are multiple factors likely to induce and aggravate the condition including:
- genetic predisposition
- skin damage due to chronic exposure to ultraviolet radiation
- abnormal vasomotor control
- hormonal imbalance
- hot and spicy food or drink and alcohol
- intensive exercise that overheats the body
- hot and cold stimulation and weather extremes
- mental stress and emotional excitement
- make-up, sunscreens, facial creams and oils etc.
- microscopic hair follicle mites called Demodex Folliculorum
- local recurrent infections
- associated with helicobacter pylori infection
- long-term use of topical steroids
Diagnosis & Western Treatment
Diagnosis is based on the characteristic appearance and history. Treatment depends on severity and includes:
- identifying and avoiding the triggers
- topical and oral antibiotics to tackle inflammation
- laser therapy to reduce the incidence of visible red blood vessels (telangiectasia)
- in severe cases where thickening of the skin tissue of the nose (rhinophyma) has occurred, cosmetic surgery is the only option to reduce this
While steroids (primarily hydrocortisone) can be used temporarily to ease the symptoms of psoriasis and eczema, they should not be used to treat rosacea. In fact, they can aggravate rosacea, as they cause similar effects. They can cause worsening pustules and reddening of the skin on the face, a condition known as steroid rosacea. Antibiotics aren’t great either. While they can reduce redness, they do not cure the disorder, must be taken for long periods of time with further courses often required and resistance can develop. Chinese herbal medicine is a viable alternative approach to treatment.
So how can we help?
Acupuncture and Chinse herbal medicine are effective at clearing the redness, flushing, acne-like blemishes as well as preventing the progression and recurrence of the condition by addressing the root causes.
What can I do in the meantime?
While every case of rosacea is unique, here are some general tips you can implement now to start addressing your rosacea right away.
- avoid hot and spicy foods
- eliminating wheat and dairy from your diet
- avoid sun exposure
- use a skin care that doesn’t contain synthetic chemicals – we recommend Bare Roots
- avoid alcohol – particularly red wine
- protect yourself from weather extremes
- limit your consumption of coffee, chocolate, tomatoes and cinnamon
- actively work to regulate your emotional stress
- increase your consumption of Omega 3’s
If you’ve been battling the effects of rosacea with little success the conventional way, or just want to avoid pharmaceuticals, our resident practitioner Maya has a special interest in Chinese Medicine Dermatology and would love to help you get to the root of your skin issues so you achieve clearer skin and better health! With a thorough intake and Chinese Medicine diagnosis she will create a treatment plan specific to you.
Maya is available for consultation and treatment at Mornington Chinese Medicine on Mondays and Wednesdays.
138 Tanti Avenue, Mornington, VIC
03 5973 6886