Rosacea is a chronic inflammatory disease that causes redness, mainly in the centre of the face. It is often accompanied by flushing, a hot or even burning sensation on the face.
Many people confuse rosacea and couperose. Couperose is a form of rosacea that presents with dilated vessels (telangiectasias).
However, rosacea can also take other forms, from simple redness to papules (red pimples) or pustules (whiteheads). This is known as papulopustular rosacea or acne rosacea.
Rosacea can also lead to deformation of the skin’s contours, which is called phymatous rosacea. The most common example is thickening of the nose with an irregular contour.
Rosacea is often erroneously associated with alcoholism. Although it is true that alcohol exacerbates rosacea, it is not the cause. Rosacea is a hereditary condition that will affect the majority of fair-skinned people of Northern European origin to some degree over the course of their lives. What is sometimes referred to in popular jargon as “brandy nose” or “gin blossoms” are indeed cases of untreated rosacea, but alcohol is not necessarily the cause, although it may have contributed to aggravating it.
Several other factors can exacerbate rosacea. Among the most frequent are sun exposure, the transition from the warmth of our homes to the cold of our Quebec winters, hot beverages and spicy foods. However, it is possible to reduce the effect of these factors, for example, by protecting yourself with sunscreen or by covering your face in cold weather.
Although rosacea is a chronic disease with no cure, there are several treatments available to help control it and return to normal. Several forms of rosacea can be effectively treated with various prescription creams or oral treatments.
Couperose and diffuse redness, however, do not respond as well to these types of treatment. For these forms of rosacea, some aesthetic treatments such as pulsed dye laser (vascular laser) and intense pulsed light give excellent results. They do not cure rosacea, but they can reduce it by making many of the surface vessels disappear.
It takes an average of three treatments, one month apart, to obtain a good response. The treatments must be subsequently maintained, depending on the disease activity. For some patients, treatments may be required every six months, every year, or even every three or five years.