Skin conditions and rashes are commonly encountered in general practice. This month we focus on a condition called acne rosacea. This is different from the acne that tends to affect younger patients, acne vugaris.
Rosacea is a common skin condition, usually affecting the face. It most commonly occurs between 40 and 60 years of age and affects women more than men, however when it does affect men it can be more severe. It is a chronic skin condition that can be controlled to a certain degree with treatment. The severity tends to fluctuate. however, like any skin condition there can be significant psychological impact due to changes in physical appearance.
Symptoms of Acne Rosacea
Rosacea tends to affect cheeks, forehead, chin and nose area. It is characterised by:-
- Burning and stinging sensations
- Redness caused by dilated blood vessels
- Pus filled spots and small bumps
- Inflammation of surface of eyes and eyelids
What causes Acne Rosacea?
The cause of acne rosacea is unclear. It is thought that there are a number of factors including genetics, the immune system (system that fights infection) and environmental factors play a part. It has also been suggested that abnormalities in the blood vessels of the face react to a microscopic mite commonly find on the face.
- Exposure to sunlight
- Hot or cold weather
- Hot drinks
- Acohol and caffeine
Treatment of Acne Rosacea
There is currently no cure for acne rosacea. Treatment is aimed at controlling symptoms. Long term treatment may be necessary but can be stopped temporarily when symptoms improve.
For most people, treatment involves both self-help measures and medication.
It is important to avoid known triggers. These can include avoiding alcohol or caffeinated drinks or direct sun light and using sun protection when needed.
Your GP or pharmacist may prescribe an antibtiotic gel which should be applied to affected areas. It may take up to 8 weeks to take effect.
Your GP or pharmacist may suggest using an oral antibiotic. These can be helpful in treating moderate to severe acne rosacea. Your response to treatment will be monitored on a regular basis. Some patients may need a combination of topical and oral treatment.
If you don’t respond to some of these treatments, your GP may refer you to secondary care for further treatment.
Acne Rosacea, like any skin condition, can cause significant psychological impact due to changes in physical appearance. Whilst there is no cure for the condition, current treatments may help the symptoms. If you think you may have acne rosacea or would like to discuss this condition further, please visit your GP or GP pharmacist.