A shingles on the face is relatively common and often associated with complications: the pathogen can cause damage to the eye, ear and facial nerves. In addition, unsightly scars may be left behind. Read more about the shingles on the face!
This is how shingles appear on the face
A shingles on the face develops in the same way as other forms of herpes zoster: The varicella-zoster virus (VZV), which always causes the first chickenpox, remains in the body lifelong after the healing of this teething: It “slumbers” in nerve roots spinal cord and cranial nerves. The immune system keeps the pathogen in an inactive state, so it does not cause any problems.
However, if the body’s defense is weakened, the viruses can “wake up” again and cause shingles. The pathogens migrate from the nerve roots along the respective nerve tract, causing the nerve tissue to become inflamed. From the outside, this becomes visible in the body region which is supplied by the relevant nerve tract. For example, shingles affect the face, scalp and neck when the pathogens have survived in the roots of corresponding cranial nerves.
Symptoms of shingles on the face
As with other zoster forms, shingles on the head usually occur Pain and the typical one skin rash on. These then appear, for example, on the hairy scalp, forehead and nose or even on the neck. However, the rash may be missing.
Because of the many sensitive structures in the head area, shingles on the face can lead to follow-up problems. This is especially true when the patient’s immune system is weakened. It can be particularly problematic when herpes zoster in the face affects the eye or ear:
Shingles on the eye (zoster ophthalmicus)
The eye is a very sensitive organ and therefore susceptible to the herpes zoster. In principle, a shingles on the face can affect any structure of the eye. Possible consequences are for example:
- Conjunctivitis (conjunctivitis)
- Inflammation of the dermis of the eye (scleritis): The porcelain-white dermis forms the outermost wall layer of the eyeball (outer eye skin).
- Inflammation of the cornea of the eye (keratitis): The translucent cornea is that part of the outer eye-skin which lies above the pupil.
- Inflammation of the middle eye skin (Uveitis): The middle skin of the eye (Uvea) consists of several components, including the iris (Iris).
- Secondary glaucoma: Dangerous increase in intraocular pressure (glaucoma) due to uveitis.
- Damage to the retina and / or optic nerve: This complication can lead to permanent blindness.
Shingles on the ear (Zoster oticus)
A shingles on the face can affect an ear or its nerve structures. Possible symptoms here are:
- Hearing impairment when the acustic nerve is affected
- Balance disorders when the vestibular nerve is affected
- Facial paralysis in inflammation of the facial nerve: This nerve supplies, among other things, the facial muscles and runs in parts in the middle and inner ear. Paralysis of the facial nerve is called facial palsy.
Shingles on the face: persistent symptoms
In general, the risk is increased with a shingles on the head, a postzosteric neuralgia to develop. This means that the pain persists even after the rash subsides, sometimes even over years. In the case of shingles on the face, the trigeminal nerve is usually responsible for this persistent pain. One speaks here also of one trigeminal neuralgia.
Shingles on the face: scarring
Apart from the symptoms mentioned, shingles often occur scarring, Face and neck area are of course particularly unfavorable regions. In contrast to the chicken pox, the scars on the zoster are also formed without scratching the skin blisters. Therefore, they often can not be prevented. However, the earlier the risk of scarring, the earlier the risk Shingles on the face treated professionally.