Rosacea is a common condition which may affect up to one in ten fair skinned people. It is a problem marked by dry coarse skin, facial flushing, some residual permanent redness of the mid-portion of the face, a rash which looks a bit like acne, and small blood filled spots called spider naevi. Diagnosis is made through examination by a GP or dermatologist (skin specialist).
Before starting any specific treatment the first course of action is to avoid any triggers that could make the problem worse. These factors can be unique and differ significantly between people. Common triggers include hot or cold temperatures, wind, hot drinks, caffeine, exercise, spicy food, alcohol, emotions, topical products that irritate the skin and medications that cause flushing. These include steroids, high doses of some vitamins and certain prescription drugs. Some studies suggest a skin mite called demodex might make rosacea more severe.
If the above factors have been addressed but the problem persists then further medical therapy may be considered. All patients with rosacea should use a good sunscreen. It is well known that sun damage can greatly worsen the symptoms of rosacea so sufferers should use complete sun blocks such as those containing titanium dioxide or zinc oxide. Sufferers should also avoid cosmetics, toners and skin scrubs. For some women the oral contraceptive pill may help and facial flushing can sometimes be reduced with beta blockers.
Nonablative laser therapy is very effective at treating rosacea and works by remodelling the deep layers of the skin. A common regime used is one to three treatments given four to eight weeks apart. Pulsed light therapies are also used to reduce the blood vessels present that are responsible for the red flush.
In summary, rosacea is a condition that can be managed by you and your doctor. Whilst the cause is not entirely clear there are a range of treatment options available to reduce the symptoms.
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