There is no single or known cause for rosacea, although it is far more common in women.
What is Rosacea?
Rosacea is most commonly known by its obvious physical manifestation, an excessive reddening of the cheeks and small dilated blood vessels on the skin of the face. In more severe cases, there can also be small pustules or bumps on the skin, as well as general swelling. It most commonly affects the cheeks, forehead, chin, ears, and the area near the eyes, but it can also affect the neck and chest.
The redness is difficult to diagnose as rosacea, specifically, because it is often exacerbated during other red-faced activities, such as strenuous exercise, embarrassment, movement from cold to warm environments, heat, sunburn, stress, etc.
In most cases, there will never be a formal diagnosis or treatment, because the symptoms are mild. In more serious cases, such as those involving pustules or swelling, medical attention may be required to prevent permanent scarring.
There are four main types of rosacea, three of which affect the skin of the face, while the fourth affects the eyes. The three skin varieties include one where there is permanent redness on the face, another where red bumps and pustules present themselves (easily confused with acne), and the third variety manifests as excessive thickening of the skin on the nose, forehead, and cheeks, in addition to redness. This variety of rosacea can cause permanent scarring or slight facial disfigurement.
While the exact causes of rosacea are unknown, some of the contributing factors are listed below:
- Weather: Sun exposure, strong winds, and humidity are some of the factors that can contribute towards triggering rosacea.
- Emotional factors: Anxiety, anger, and stress can trigger this condition of the skin.
- Lifestyle: Certain lifestyles that involve over-consumption of alcohol, no exercise or rigorous exercise, use of cosmetics, and saunas can also act as a trigger.
- Medications or medical conditions: A constant cough, cold, fever, chronic illnesses like hypertension can also cause rosacea. Certain medications that are used to cure other conditions, like corticosteroids, might also have side-effects that include the onset of rosacea.
- Facial blood vessels: Expansion of the blood vessels of the face can also cause the red bumps and inflammation.
- Other: Rosacea is also caused by natural allergens, processed food, imbalanced enzymes, gastrointestinal bacteria, and certain types of mites.
Signs and symptoms of rosacea may include:
- Facial redness: There is a persistent redness in the central facial region. The blood vessels on your nose and cheeks can also swell and become visible.
- Swollen red bumps: Many with rosacea get acne-like bumps on their face that may contain pus. The skin feels heated and tender to the touch.
- Eye problems: Some also experience eye dryness, irritation, and swollen, reddened eyelids.
- Enlarged nose: In rare cases, this skin condition can cause thickening of the skin on the nose, making it appear bulbous.