Rosacea (roh-ZAY-sha) is a chronic skin disorder that affects 16 million Americans. Unfortunately for patients, it’s often a progressive disorder, which means that it can get worse over time. That said, while you’ll have to adapt to living with this condition, there are many treatment options available to make your experience with it more manageable.
You’ll notice the early signs of rosacea when you develop occasional redness of the central face. This area includes the chin, nose, cheeks, and brow. Early instances will likely produce a flushed appearance but as time goes on, occasional bouts turn into persistent problems, and flushing turns into noticeable flare-ups.
Rosacea flare-ups usually include the development of small whitehead pimples or dense red solid bumps. From a distance, these can resemble problematic acne, but as you get closer you’ll notice they’re also incredibly dry. This dryness can appear scaly or rough with some patients experiencing a burning or stinging sensation. Lastly, once unseen blood vessels will become more visible adding to the general sense of skin irritation and discomfort on the patient’s face. There are some additional factors that can occur, such as eye irritation or swelling, but the central face skin issues are most common.
Although rosacea is not life-threatening, it can be psychologically and socially devastating for patients who have significant cases. Even more frustrating is that the origins of rosacea have yet to be determined. Thankfully, we do have a good understanding of many cofactors that trigger it, which span from environmental to psychological elements.
Environmental triggers can include the South Florida sun, hot weather, bathing in too warm of water, and cold winters. Consumable triggers can include hot drinks, fiery seasonings, and specific foods. Finally, psychological triggers are most often tied to patients with perpetual stress and anxiety. While this list isn’t exhaustive, these are the most common contributors to flare-ups that we see.
To learn more about rosacea, continue reading below or you can visit one of these national organizations:
• www.rosacea.org (National Rosacea Society Website)
• www.aad.org (American Academy of Dermatology Website)
The short answer is YES! Rosacea is a disorder that reliably and quickly responds to available treatments (in most cases). A week or two of minocycline will melt away a rosacea flare-up (this is in stark contrast to acne, which often requires months of treatment and some trial and error as no medicine other than Accutane is predictably reliable for treating acne). Granted, one patient’s rosacea and another’s can be wildly different in terms of severity and symptoms, so it’s best to meet with your dermatologist for a realistic treatment plan for you.
The most effective rosacea treatment depends on the type of rosacea – but for most, it’s going to be an oral or topical medication. As an example, if you had a bumpy red flare-up, a low dose of an oral antibiotic known as minocycline for a week or two will do wonders! Though patients need to keep in mind, the reprieve isn’t permanent and only lasts until the next flare-up. The good news is that it is usually at least a few months away.
Rosacea cannot be treated by over-the-counter products. There are products available at most drug stores that can help prevent flare-ups, like sunscreens, and even some products can help reduce redness caused by rosacea, but that’s it. Additionally, since there are so many variations and factors to consider with this particularly stubborn disorder, you’ll want to have your dermatologist in your corner to help guide you.
The root cause of rosacea is largely unknown. However, like many diseases, having a genetic predisposition and/or exposure to specific environmental factors or irritants appears to be the leading cause for developing symptoms.
Lasers cannot “cure” rosacea. However, V-beam laser photofacial treatments, also known as pulsed-dye laser, are appropriate for treating the dilated blood vessels that contribute to the appearance of rosacea. Similar to an IPL treatment. There is evidence that lasers can alter the progression (in other words – prevent or slow the worsening of rosacea that sometimes happens over time – but this is not a “cure”).
The red bumps and “pimples” (pustules) of rosacea respond to prescription medications consistently and without surprises. Just keep in mind it’s a treatment, not a cure. Some people stay on these medications for years, while others can cycle on and off of them in response to breakouts. However, medications do not clear the broken capillaries and redness of rosacea, for this you’d need to explore laser therapy.
Rosacea is a disease of the blood vessels in the central face, and laser therapy is the only treatment that addresses these blood vessels. The laser will make your face “less red” and can address the broken capillaries. Most important though, laser therapy changes the course of the disease: the frequency of outbreaks can decrease, and you can hopefully reduce your dependency on creams and pills. The laser is painless and there is no “downtime” (so you can be treated during your lunch hour and return immediately to work).
Improve your experience with rosacea by contacting one of our South Florida rosacea specialists today. We will help you determine what may be triggering your flare-ups and what the most effective treatment plan could be. Reducing the frequency and severity of your flare-ups is priority #1 and then we’ll address your long-term maintenance and skincare routine. Contact us today by calling (954) 987-7512 or click below to make an appointment.
10 face savers for rosacea | Vascular Laser for rosacea
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