What is rosacea?
Rosacea is a common skin condition that causes redness and visible blood vessels on the face. It may also produce small, red, pus filled bumps. These signs and symptoms may flare up for a period of weeks to months and then diminish for a while. Rosacea can be mistaken for acne, an allergic reaction, or other skin problems.
Rosacea can occur in anyone, but it most commonly affects women over 45 with fair skin. While there's no cure for rosacea, treatments can control and reduce the signs and symptoms.
What causes rosacea?
The cause of rosacea is unknown, but it could be due to a combination of hereditary and environmental factors. It’s important to note that rosacea is not caused by poor hygiene. Anyone can develop rosacea, but you may be more likely to develop the condition if you are a woman, smoke, have fair or sun damaged skin, are over age 30, or have a family history of rosacea.
A number of factors can aggravate rosacea by increasing blood flow to the surface of the skin. Some of these factors include:
- Hot drinks
- Spicy foods
- Temperature extremes
- Extreme emotions
- Cosmetics containing irritants
- Drugs that dilate blood vessels, including some blood pressure medications
What are the signs and symptoms of rosacea? What does rosacea look like?
- Facial redness- Rosacea usually causes a persistent redness in the central part of your face. Small blood vessels on your nose and cheeks often swell and become visible.
- Swollen red bumps- Many people who have rosacea also develop pimples on their face that resemble acne. These bumps sometimes contain pus. Your skin may feel hot and tender.
- Eye problems- About half of the people who have rosacea also experience eye dryness, irritation, and swollen, reddened eyelids. In some people, these eye symptoms precede skin symptoms.
- Enlarged nose- Rosacea can thicken the skin on the nose, causing the nose to appear bulbous. This occurs more often in men than in women.
What treatments are available at Skin And Cancer Institute for rosacea?
Treatments for rosacea focus on controlling signs and symptoms. Most often this requires a combination of skin care and prescription treatments. The duration of your treatment depends on the type and severity of your symptoms. Recurrence is common, so many patients require long term treatment.
Photorejuvenation therapy delivers an intense but gentle burst of laser light which is absorbed by the enlarged blood vessels that cause rosacea. In as little as three treatments, the signs and symptoms of rosacea are greatly diminished. Yearly touchups are required for continued results.
During photodynamic therapy, you will receive a specialized topical medication that activates when light energy is applied directly to your problem areas with rosacea. You will need 3-6 treatment sessions for maximum results, and yearly touchups are required for continued benefits.
Topical medications can reduce redness and rosacea related pimples. They are applied to the skin as cream or gel, and work by constricting blood vessels. Some topical medications render temporary results that are visible as soon as 12 hours after application. Other topical treatments deliver long lasting results but take six weeks for improvement to begin.
Oral antibiotics fight inflammation when used to treat rosacea. They are most effective for moderate to severe rosacea with bumps and pustules. If you have severe rosacea that doesn't respond to other therapies, your doctor may suggest a powerful oral acne drug that also helps patients with rosacea.