Friday, June 16, 2006

The Facial Redness Picture

According to the American Academy of Dermatology, you can actually have more than one skin condition at a time! Many other skin conditions can occur at the same time as rosacea or have symptoms similar to rosacea. In some cases, treatment of one skin condition can lead to another skin condition.

Acne is the term for plugged pores (blackheads and whiteheads), pimples, and even deeper lumps (cysts or nodules) that occur on the face, neck, chest, back, shoulders and even the upper arms. Acne affects most teenagers to some extent, but can also affect adults in their 20s, 30s and 40s. While there is no permanent cure for acne, it is controllable. Often the harsher treatments used in the treatment of acne such as accutane, retinoids, Azelaic acid, and benzoyl peroxide can aggravate the sensitive facial skin leading to the occurrence of rosacea. Rosacea can occur with acne or become the result of the treatment of acne.

Psoriasis causes the skin to become inflamed, while producing red, thickened areas with silvery scales. This persistent skin disease occurs most often on the scalp, elbows, knees, and lower back. In some cases, psoriasis is so mild that people don't know they have it. At the opposite extreme, severe psoriasis may cover large areas of the body. Psoriasis, frequently treated with topical steroids will cause thinning of the skin and blood vessels causing the tell-tale blush or flush of rosacea.

Eczema is an all inclusive term used to describe all kinds of red, blistering, oozing, scaly, brownish, thickened, and itching skin conditions. Eczema is often treated with steroids leading to a steroid-induced rosacea condition.

Seborrheic dermatitis involves overactive sebaceous glands which cause inflammation, flaking and a red rash in the central portion of the face. If one looks closely, the flakes usually have a greasy look, smell and feel. The dryness of seborrheic dermatitis is perceived because of the flaking which consists of dried layers of accumulated oil. Seborrheic dermatitis causes yellowish scales to develop on the scalp, the hairline and the eyebrows; which is often confused with the crusting and scaling on the eyelids that occur with ocular rosacea. Topical steroids used in the treatment of dermatitis can create steroid induced rosacea. This condition typically worsens when the steroid is stopped. In an unfortunate cycle the steroid may be reapplied to diminish the redness which only worsens the condition.

Discoid (cutaneous) lupus is always limited to the skin and is identified by a rash that may appear on the face, neck and scalp. Discoid lupus accounts for approximately 10% of all cases. Skin rashes occur in approximately 74% of all lupus cases. Photosensitivity occurs in approximately 30% of lupus sufferers. 42% of lupus cases are distinguished by a butterfly-shaped rash across the cheeks and nose.

Urushiol, found in the sap of Poison Ivy, Poison Oak and Poison Sumac causes a reaction in the form of a line or streak of rash (sometimes resembling insect bites) within 12-48 hours. Redness and swelling will be followed by blisters and severe itching which can in some cases resemble rosacea. In a few days, the blisters become crusted and begin to scale. The rash will usually take about ten days to heal, sometimes leaving small spots.

Insect Bites and Stings can produce local inflammatory reactions that may vary in appearance. Acute reactions may appear as hives; more chronic reactions may appear as inflammatory papule (circumscribed, solid elevations on the skin) or may be characterized by a blister or blisters.