Rosacea is a mysterious disease that can afflict anybody from age 30 and up. Medically speaking, rosacea is simply a chronic inflammation of the skin. The symptoms are not very aesthetic nor pleasing to the eyes, however.
For one, it causes redness and pimples on the nose, the cheeks, chin and forehead. The annoying part is that the disease comes and goes and comes around again without your notice.
It is sometimes called adult acne. Once it had started it also causes soreness of the eyes and eyelids. Starting out as the tendency to blush easily, rosacea can progress fast into facial redness, and red bumps and pustules.
Many dermatologists and medical researchers are one in the opinion that rosacea is one disease hard to diagnose. The reason is simply that there are many other skin conditions that co-exist with it.
The list of these diseases — acne, seborrhea, eczema, psoriasis, or lupus symptoms — is rather plentiful.
The main problem is that medications used in the treatment of acne, for instance, can be too harsh leading to the onset of "acne rosacea".
In the meantime, aggressive acne treatments to reduce oiliness of the skin can result in the flaking associated with seborrheic dermatitis. The butterfly rash of lupus can lead to a misdiagnosis of rosacea.
Rosacea has four distinct and recognized phases, each one with its own groupings of symptoms. The disease does not always evolve from one phase to the other, but the symptoms have a tendency to eventually become severe.
The four phases of rosacea are pre-rosacea, vascular rosacea, inflammatory rosacea, and late rosacea.
In the early phase of rosacea, it appears as a repeated tendency to blush. The blushing is known to be caused by the dilation of the blood vessels just under the skin.
Gradually, the redness from the blushing becomes more persistent, and particularly around the nose.
In this phase of rosacea, the blood vessels swell and fluid leaks out of them at a faster-than-normal rate. This results in the skin looking puffy and warm.
As the blood vessels dilate, they are visible on the skin as small red lines. It is called telangiectasia, commonly referred to as "spider veins".
At this time, the skin also becomes more sensitive. When cosmetics and other skin products are used, there often is a stinging or slightly burning sensation. The skin's sebaceous glands enlarge, making the skin more oily.
When papules (small red bumps) and pustule (pus-filled pimples) star appearing, rosacea has entered the inflammatory stage. These two symptoms are like acne, but they are totally different and require different treatments.
This is the most advanced phase of rosacea. The illness still has all its earlier symptoms, only they appear more intense. The redness of the skin deepens, and the number of visible veins increases.
At this point, the skin may also thicken. In some people, the excess skin tissue causes the nose to become enlarged and bulbous. This is called rhinophyma. Rosacea has never been more distinct.