Rosacea has many ways of presenting. In general, it is a combination of acne prone skin, redness, and sensitivity. It is chronic, non-contagious, and affects about 14 million Americans. It is characterized by a flushing redness of the cheeks, chin, nose and forehead, and may produce small, red, pus-filled bumps or pustules. Sometimes the eyes are affected.
As rosacea progresses, flushing becomes more persistent and noticeable. Dilated blood vessels (telangiectasia) can form in the skin, giving a constant look of redness. In severe cases, most of the face is affected. Sometimes, permanent facial changes can occur, such as thickening of the skin on the nose.
Understanding the causes of rosacea is an active area of research. Often, rosacea runs in the family, suggesting a genetic predisposition combined with environmental factors. Individuals with rosacea tend to have different triggers that make them flush or flare, such as heat, exercise, consuming hot beverages or spicy food, alcohol or caffeine.
We don't have a cure for rosacea, although many effects treatments are available.
- Topical Medications:
Medications you apply to your skin once or twice daily, such as antibiotics, benzoyl peroxide, and azelaic acid can help reduce inflammation and redness. These creams and lotions are generally used in combination with other treatment, such as oral medication.
- Oral Antibiotics:
Oral antibiotics may be prescribed to reduce inflammation. Oral antibiotics tend to work faster than topical antibiotics, so they may be beneficial for severe cases, involvement of the eyes, or if the physical appearance is interfering with the patient’s normal activities or quality of life.
- Laser Treatment:
Enlarged blood vessels may become permanent. If this occurs, laser therapy may help reduce the visibility of these vessels, making the skin appear less red.
There is no known way to prevent rosacea, but you can take steps to reduce or control symptoms. For example:
- Remember to continue your treatment plan even after rosacea clears or improves to ensure it does not reappear.
- Always be gentle with your skin. Only use mild cleansers, and avoid products containing irritants such as alcohol.
- Avoid your rosacea triggers as much as possible.