It Looks Like Rosacea But Isn’t
Author: Jayesh Khandor
Acne and Rosacea
Though both conditions are common – acne is the most widespread of all skin diseases – they are quite different. Acne is caused by excess production of oil in the sebaceous glands of the hair follicle.
Rosacea, on the other hand, usually does not involve the inflammation or infection of the follicle. Though its causes are still a mystery to science, its main symptom is flushing of the skin. I some cases, papules appear, leading patients to confuse rosacea with acne.
Another obvious difference between the two diseases is that there are no comedones, white heads or blackheads in rosacea as there are in acne. Still, due to the appearance of spots on the face, rosacea is sometimes called aadult acnea.
As much as acne looks like rosacea, it is different in terms of demographics as well. Acne tends to strike mainly during puberty and is called the abane of teenagersa, whereas rosacea tends to show up post-30.
Also rosacea appears partial to very white-skinned Caucasian people and has earned it the nickname aCurse of the Celtsa in countries such as Ireland and Scotland.
Other Close Cousins
There are several other skin diseases that look like rosacea but are not the same. One of these is lupus erythematosus. This is a serious disease that involves disturbances to the skin and several other organs.
Patients with this disease exhibit red scaly lesions to the skin that are very sensitive to light. The lesions appear on the face but often spread to other organs of body.
Lupus profundus on the other hand affects the subcutaneous fat and causes nodules that lead to depressions on the skin.
Do note that rosacea does not lead to the formation of nodules, cysts or rash. It is a vascular disease, whose main symptom is excessive flushing usually restricted to the face.
Rosacea and Dermatitis
Another skin condition that looks like rosacea is contact dermatitis. As the term suggests, this develops when repeated skin contact with certain allergens or chemicals causes the epidermis to get damaged and appear red and raw.
For instance, frequent or compulsive washing or rubbing of the face damages the upper layer of the skin and causes redness that is easily aggravated. That’s why contact dermatitis is sometimes confused with rosacea.
Sometimes, overuse or an allergic reaction to certain chemicals in cosmetics can lead to the same effect.
Like we said, rosacea has many cousins and perioral dermatitis ranks among the closest. Though it is in no way related to rosacea, it closely mimics the skin disease.
Patients with perioral dermatitis develop a facial rash and itching around the mouth, upper lip and chin. This is also accompanied by redness and could be aggravated by the use of creams with a steroid base. It strikes mainly in one’s teens and at menopause in women.
What Causes Rosacea?
Unlike acne whose causes are well researched, the causes of rosacea are obscure. This is important in the context of treatment of any disease as the course it takes will depend on the kind of disease and its severity.
Mild cases of rosacea are effectively treated with topical applications such as foundations and other similar skin camouflage products as the main objective is to cover up the facial flushing.
Medical treatment of rosacea includes the use of medicines – both antibiotic and otherwise – that come in two forms. Some are medicated creams and lotions while others need to be taken orally.
The active ingredients in these are azelaic acid, sodium sulfacetamide or metronidazole, which either reduce pigmentation or inflammation in patients with rosacea.
Make sure you get the right diagnosis though because you may have a skin condition that looks like rosacea but is actually quite different.