Rosacea is a chronic skin disorder characterized by microcirculation problems that primarily affect the face. It’s comprised of several related symptoms, such as couperose, or the dilation of facial blood vessels, and erythema, or redness. Extra-facial lesions on the neck and upper chest are not uncommon. The word “rosacea” comes from the Latin rosacea, derived from rosaceus meaning “pinklike.”
Approximately 16 million Americans and 45 million people worldwide suffer from rosacea. According to the National Rosacea Society (NRS), a Gallup survey found that 78% of Americans have no knowledge of this condition, including how to recognize it and what to do about it. (See Be Knowledgeable About Rosacea.) Although symptoms may occur during the teenage years, most people experience the onset of rosacea in their 30s, 40s or 50s, and it is more predominate in fair-skinned women. The precise cause of rosacea remains unknown, but research has shown that many factors are involved, such as genetic predisposition, heredity—especially European/Celtic descent, stomach dyspepsia and Helicobacter pylori infection, seborrhea, Demodex folliculorum mites, endocrine disorders, vitamin deficiency, liver disease and stress-related causes.
Discerning the enigma
Rosacea clients are generally prone to flushing and blushing mainly on the t-zone and cheeks. This can occur either spontaneously or can be precipitated by certain triggers that play a particular role in the development of this skin disorder, including the following.
- Emotional stress
- Heat and abrupt temperature changes
- Sunlight and repeated sunburning
- Alcoholic beverages
- Spicy foods
- Foods that contain histamine or cause the body to release histamine, such as tomatoes and pineapples
- Medications, such as steroids