Rosacea is called the “blushing disease”

By: Nayan Khandor


Rosacea is a common skin disease whose main feature is frequent blushing or flushing of the face. The areas of the face most commonly affected are the cheeks though occasionally the eyelids could also display the rosacea rash. In more severe cases, rosacea afflicts the nose.

“Curse of the Celts”

This skin condition, which affects 13 million people in the US alone, is partial to fair and very fair skin and is called the “Curse of the Celts” in some European countries.

It is chronic, non-contagious and is sometimes mistaken for acne, which is why it is sometimes called adult acne. That’s also because its onset, unlike acne, is usually after the age of 20. Acne, on the other hand, is a skin disease of adolescents.

Rosacea is usually marked by the appearance of red or pink patches and dots where the facial blood vessels or capillaries are broken. In some instances, there could be inflammation of the papules or bumps on the face.

What is a “W C Fields” nose?

Extreme rosacea strikes the nose, which is typically lumpy and lobulated. This is called rhynophyma. The condition is called “W C Fields” nose because the famous American comedian suffered – and profited – from it! Another famous personality afflicted by rosacea is former US President Bill Clinton.

Many rosacea patients report burning and dryness of the eyes and a gritty sensation where the eyes become hypersensitive to light. If it grows severe, this condition is called ocular rosacea and is often confused with conjunctivitis.

What Causes Rosacea?

It’s another skin condition whose causes are not clear. But researchers suspect it is a vascular disease or a disease of the facial blood vessels as its main symptom is flushing of the face or a sudden dilation of the surface capillaries.

When these blood vessels break, red, thread-like lines are visible and these are called telangiectasias.

Rosacea is also linked to helicobacter pylori, gastrointestinal bacteria that are present in stomach ulcers. Others have observed the presence of a mite called demodex folliculorum in the hair follicles. Still other scientists suspect that rosacea is hereditary.

Triggers of Rosacea

He sudden flushing of the face can be caused by stress and anxiety which in turn are sparked by sudden and extreme emotions such as fear, excitement and embarrassment.

Strong wind and humidity can also trigger bouts just as prolonged exposure to the sun can cause the condition to flare up.
Believe it or not but some foods can aggravate rosacea. For instance, hot and spicy foods like peppers and paprika release heat and stimulate the receptors at the back of the throat. This makes the facial blood vessels dilate. Pungent ingredients also release niacin or histamine that makes the face flush.

Should rosacea patients stop drinking alcohol? Do hot beverages also exacerbate the condition? Yes, they do but this is not due to any ingredient in them. Rather, it is sue to the stimulation of the receptors in the throat.

Also, excessive intake of alcohol and red wine do seem to trigger rosacea but the redness and puffiness could also be because excessive alcohol makes the face red and puffy anyway.

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