What Is Rosacea?
Rosacea is a common, chronic skin condition that affects over 14 million Americans, many of whom are unaware that they have the condition. Rosacea appears on the skin of the face as areas of redness and small, pus-filled bumps similar to acne, and can affect a patient's confidence and self-esteem as a result. Although rosacea is a chronic condition that cannot be cured, there are several treatments available to relieve symptoms and prevent flare ups, allowing patients to avoid embarrassment from the appearance of their skin.
While there is no cure for rosacea, there are several treatments available to help control symptoms and allow patients to enjoy their lives without constantly worrying about the appearance of their skin. The most effective treatment for rosacea depends on each patient's individual case, but usually includes a combination of prescription treatment and life changes.
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What Causes Rosacea?
While the specific cause of rosacea is unknown, it is believed to be a combination of hereditary and environmental factors. Symptoms can also be triggered by certain factors, including:
- Hot or spicy foods
- Extreme temperatures
- Strenuous exercise
- Certain medications
Rosacea can affect anyone, but is most common in fair-skinned adults between the ages of 30 and 50 years old. Women are more affected by this condition than men, since it is often associated with menopause. When diagnosing rosacea, our specialists will consider your personal and medical history, as well as perform a physical examination of the skin.
What Are The Symptoms of Rosacea?
Patients with rosacea may experience:
- Small red bumps or pustules
- Visible blood vessels
- Flushing or blushing easily
- Burning or stinging of the facial skin
- Dry, irritated eyes
Symptoms most commonly appear on the nose, cheeks, mouth and forehead. Some patients may also experience thickened skin, raised red patches, facial swelling and symptoms spreading to the neck, chest, scalp or ears. The symptoms of rosacea can come and go, as this condition is cyclic for most patients, meaning that symptoms will flare up for period of weeks to months and then lessen for a while.
Since rosacea is a progressive condition, symptoms tend to worsen as the disease progresses, and can be classified into three different phases. Pre-rosacea symptoms often begin with frequent flushing or blushing, and then progress to a persistent redness on the face. Vascular rosacea symptoms refer to swelling of the small blood vessels around the nose and cheeks, a condition known as telangiectasia. Oily skin and dandruff are also common during this phase. Inflammatory rosacea is when the small bumps or pustules begin to develop and spread across the nose, cheeks, forehead and chin. If left untreated, symptoms will continue to worsen and may cause permanent skin damage.
How is Rosacea Treated?
At PD&CC, we may prescribe topical and/or oral antibiotics to help get your rosacea under control. These medications are good for the pimples and inflammation associated with rosacea. However, they are generally only somewhat beneficial for the underlying redness, flushing, and broken blood vessels. Fortunately, at PD&CC we have a number of laser treatment options available that work beautifully for this problem. The gold standard for treating rosacea is the V-Beam laser. For individual broken blood vessels, the IPL laser may also be recommended to instantaneously erase the unwanted veins. Patients with long-standing severe rosacea may develop rhinophyma, or bulbous thickening of the nose ("W.C. Fields" nose). We are also able to treat this problem with surgery or laser.
Once your redness and inflammation is under control, our providers will also review the importance of a maintenance regimen for your rosacea. In addition to topical and/or oral antibiotics, sunscreen and avoidance of rosacea triggers will be an important part of the routine.