Acne & Rosacea

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What Is Acne

With more than 60 million acne sufferers in North America alone, acne is one of the most common skin conditions seen by doctors. Often, acne appears with the onset of puberty and adolescence though people of any age can be affected, especially adults between the ages of 20 and 40. The appearance of acne outbreaks can be embarrassing and can negatively impact your self confidence. Anything from a minor outbreak involving only a few pimples before an important event, or a more severe case where painful cysts have developed, acne can adversely affect your emotional and psychological well-being. In addition to the embarrassment of acne outbreaks, more complicated cases can be quite painful and lead to acne scarring. Acne, or acne vulgaris, is a condition that involves the skin’s oil-producing sebaceous glands. While acne tends to develops on areas of the skin where there are the most sebaceous glands, such as the face, back, chest, neck, shoulder and upper arm. It is a very common problem in teens but may continue to affect up to 25% of people after this time. Rosacea For people living with rosacea, coping with the chronic flushing of the face associated with the condition can be troublesome. Dealing with rosacea can provoke avoidance of social activities and even lead to depression. As you age, dealing with rosacea skin can become more problematic. The flushing of the face associated with rosacea is caused by blood vessels in the face dilating. The repeated over-dilation of these blood vessels can become permanent, leading to the skin becoming ruddy and the enlarged blood vessels to be more visible through the skin. What is Rosacea? Rosacea is a long-term skin condition causing redness on the face – usually the cheeks, nose and forehead. Rosacea is characterized by a tendency to flush and blush after exposure to triggers such as stress, sunlight, spicy foods and alcohol. When a person blushes, blood vessels on the face dilate. In those with rosacea, this happens so often that over time the blood vessels remain enlarged and the skin looks ruddy. Some rosacea sufferers go on to develop inflammatory pimples. In many, the eyes are affected too. Types of Rosacea Mild – Occasional flushing, redness, small blood vessels may be seen on the nose and cheeks Moderate – Patches of redness persist, pimples, skin burning, stinging, visible blood vessels Severe – Diffuse facial redness, enlarged red, bumpy nose called Rhinophyma (mostly men), multiple bumps and/or pustules, enlarged blood vessels Ocular – May affect half of sufferers (1), eyes red, watery, burn, gritty, red eyelids, styes What are the Causes of Rosacea? Genes Environment Unknown Triggers Sufferers have reported (3) Sun exposure (81%) Emotional stress (79%) Hot weather (75%) Wind (57%) Intense exercise (56%) Alcohol (52%) Spicy foods (45%) As with a number of other skin conditions, if you suffer from rosacea you may find that your flare-ups are often set off or made worse by a number of triggers. By recognizing and managing these triggers, it is possible to reduce the impact of rosacea on your life. With fewer flare-ups, the long-term damage incurred as a result of rosacea skin is lessened. Ocular (eye) complications, and other less common events like enlargement of the nose (Rhinophyma) can be reduced by seeking timely care. Beyond learning to manage triggers such as stress, sun exposure and alcohol, there are a number of treatments available that can offer relief from your rosacea. Who is Affected by Rosacea? 2 million Canadians (2) Mainly fair skinned people 30–50 year olds Women more often Related Problems Self consciousness Depression Mistaken for blood pressure problem or drinking problem Potential Treatments for Rosacea Over-the-counter preparations – Riversol for Rosacea, mild cleansers and moisturizers, sunscreen Prescription medications – antibiotics Procedures – laser therapy Note: Certain treatments for medical conditions considered to be elective and/or cosmetic are not covered by Medical Services Plan of BC.

Treatment Benefits

What are the Causes of Acne?

  • Hormones – testosterone
  • Genes
  • Excess sebum, skin cells clog pores
  • p.acnes bacteria cause inflammation

Though acne is not considered to be a serious medical condition, the presence of acne, whether mild or severe, tends to be painful and can leave you with visible acne scarring.  Both the presence of acne and acne scarring can be an emotionally tumultuous experience and have a lasting effect on your confidence and self-esteem.

Who is Affected by Acne?

  • Most common skincare problem seen by doctors (1)
  • Almost 20% of Canadian population (2)
  • Most sufferers aged 12 – 24 (3)
  • 20-30% of adults aged 20 – 40 (4)
  • Males tend to have more severe acne

Related Problems

  • Mild to severe acne scarring
  • Low self-esteem, depression
  • Pain, discomfort
  • Site of scars may darken in colour

Types / Signs

Acne is usually a combination of:

  • Blackheads – open skin pores filled with sebum and dead skin cells
  • Whiteheads – same as blackheads but pores closed, skin-coloured centre
  • Pustules – (pimples) like whiteheads but inflamed and with pus
  • Papules – small firm bumps, with redness
  • Cysts – deep seated pus-filled, inflammatory lesions, some large
  • Nodules – large, hard bumps under the skin, surrounding redness

Potential Acne Treatments

  • Over-the-counter preparations – benzoyl peroxide, salicylic acid, retinol
  • Prescription medications – prescription-strength benzoyl peroxide, antibiotics, corticosteroids, hormonal treatments, retinoids
  • Procedures – light, laser therapy or photodynamic therapy

Note: Certain treatments for medical conditions that are considered to be elective and/or cosmetic are not covered by Medical Services Plan of BC.

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