Rosacea (roh-ZAY-sha) is a chronic, progressive skin disorder that affects 14 million Americans. The problem usually starts with occasional and then persistent mild redness on the nose, cheeks, forehead or chin. Pimples pop up, tiny blood vessels may become visible, and the skin can turn extremely dry. Although rosacea is not life-threatening, it is very often psychologically and socially devastating.
While the origins of rosacea have yet to be determined, its cofactors are well known: In South Florida, the sun is an important trigger, followed by stress, heat, alcohol, spicy foods, exercise, hot baths, cold weather, hot drinks, and skin-care products. In addition to fiery seasonings, specific food triggers may include chocolate, yogurt, tomatoes, marinated meats, soy sauce and vinegar.
HOW CAN I TREAT THE “PIMPLES” OF ROSACEA?
The red bumps and “pimples” (pustules) of rosacea respond predictably to prescription medications. It’s a treatment not a cure. Some people stay on these medications for years, while others can cycle them on and off depending on the breakouts. However, medications do not clear the broken capillaries and redness of rosacea, for this we need laser therapy.
HOW CAN I TREAT THE PERSISTENT REDNESS AND BROKEN BLOOD VESSELS?
Rosacea is a disease of the blood vessels in the face, and laser therapy is the only treatment that addresses these blood vessels. The laser will make your face “less red” and can erase the broken capillaries. Most important though, laser therapy changes the course of the disease: frequency of outbreaks will decrease, and you will depend less on creams and pills. The laser is painless and there is no “down-time” (you can be treated during your lunch hour and return immediately to work). Almost every rosacea patient could benefit from laser, but insurance companies will not pay for it.