Rosacea is a common skin condition. It’s estimated that 14 million Americans live with rosacea. Not usually overly uncomfortable physically, rosacea can be difficult to live with emotionally, causing a person to be embarrassed when he or she has an outbreak, leading to avoiding social situations and lowered self-esteem.
Dr. Callender can treat and control your rosacea and help you understand potential triggers that cause flare-ups.
What is rosacea?
Who gets rosacea?
While rosacea is anything but rare — anyone of any skin color, background and age can get it — it is much more likely in people with these characteristics:
- Between the ages of 30 and 50
- Fair-skinned, often with blonde hair and blue eyes
- Celtic or Scandinavian ancestry
- Family history of rosacea or severe acne
- Likely to have had severe acne, especially the cystic form
- Women (although men are more prone to severe rosacea)
What causes rosacea?
The causes of rosacea are still somewhat of a mystery. It is thought to be a combination of hereditary and environmental factors. There may be an immune function relationship. Personal hygiene, or lack thereof, does not cause rosacea.
Researchers believe there is a genetic tendency to rosacea. Research also points to a bug that is common to those with rosacea, H pylori. Also, the predominance of a skin mite seems to have a link with the condition. These factors have not been definitively proven, however.
A number of factors can trigger an outbreak or aggravate your symptoms because they increase blood flow to the surface of the skin. These factors include:
- Spicy foods
- Hot drinks
- Temperature extremes
- Sun exposure
- Wind exposure
- Drugs that dilate the blood vessels
What are the symptoms of rosacea?
These are common signs and symptoms of rosacea:
- Facial redness — Persistent redness in the central area of the face. Small blood vessels on the nose and cheeks often swell and become visible.
- Swollen red bumps — People with rosacea may develop red bumps that resemble acne. They may contain pus, and the skin may feel hot and sensitive.
- Eye problems — About half of the people with rosacea have eye dryness, and irritated, swollen, reddened eyelids.
- Enlarged nose — In rare cases, rosacea can cause the skin on the nose to become thicker. This makes the nose appear bulbous. This occurs more in men.
How is rosacea treated?
There is no cure for rosacea. For Dr. Callender and our team, treating rosacea in our patients is a balancing act of treatment and education. This is because patients need to understand that some of their everyday habits may be causing flare-ups.
Treatment focuses on controlling flare-ups. For most patients, this is accomplished with a combination of skin care and medication. Even with successful treatment, recurrence is common with rosacea.
Medications For Rosacea
The types of drugs we use to handle rosacea can be broken into three categories:
- Medications to address the redness — The drug brimonidine (Mirvaso) has proven to be effective for reducing redness. When applied topically to the skin it works to constrict the blood vessels. Other topical products that reduce redness and the pimples with mild rosacea are azelaic acid and metronidazole. These drugs take from 3-6 weeks to improve rosacea.
- Oral antibiotics — Oral antibiotics, such as doxycycline, may be used to fight the inflammation showing in pimples and bumps.
- Isotretinoin — This powerful acne drug also helps to clear up acne-like lesions stemming from rosacea.
Treatment of Rosacea and Managing triggers
Certain laser and intense pulsed light therapies help shrink facial blood vessels and lessen the redness of rosacea.
Beyond that, Dr. Callender can isolate the triggers that are leading to your flare-ups. Educating you about these can help you avoid or minimize these foods or behaviors that are aggravating your rosacea.
Sun protection is important. Wearing sunscreen with at least SPF 30 is crucial. Hats and protective clothing are helpful, as well.
Your skin care regimen can also involve triggers. Actions such as scrubbing the skin can cause a flare-up. Many skin care products and cosmetics can irritate your skin.