Rosacea (roe-ZAY-she-uh) is a common medical skin condition that causes skin redness and visible blood vessels on your face. Small, red acne pimple like bumps are also present on occasion during an acute rosacea flair. The symptoms of rosacea can come and go. Acute flairs have been known to persist for weeks to months and is most commonly mistaken for an acne flair or just a natural redness to the skin.
Although most often seen in middle-aged women with fair skin, Rosacea can affect almost anyone. At this time, there is no known cure for rosacea. Consequently, the goal in rosacea treatment is to control and minimize the symptoms of the sufferer.
Symptoms of Rosacea:
- Ocular Rosacea: Some people will experience a dry, irritation to their eyes resulting in a mild swelling of the eyelids. This ocular symptom seems to develop prior to the onset of the classic skin symptoms.
- Facial redness: This is the development of a redness to the central regions of the face and nose. The redness is often associated with small blood vessels on the nose and cheeks.
- Enlarged Nose: Over time, rosacea will cause a thickening of the skin on the nose, a condition called Rhinophyma. The end result is the appearance of a bulb like nose.
- Red, swollen bumps: The development of acne-like pimples on the face. These pimples or bumps may become pus filled on occasion. This is the reason why people often mistaken rosacea with acne flairs.
Do you need to see a Doctor?
Since rosacea is not really an acutely harmful condition, there is really no need to urgently rush out to see your physician. Most sufferers will broach the topic of the redness during one of their regularly scheduled appointments. A diagnosis or referral to a skin specialist can be made at that time.
Rosacea is not particularly well understood. Physicians suspect that it is driven by a combination of hereditary and environmental factors and not by poor hygiene. A number of factors that are believed to promote a rosacea flair are:
- Emotional issues
- Sun and wind exposure
- Alcohol intake
- Various foods and drinks
- Cosmetic products
- Extreme temperature (high and low)
Rosacea is more common in:
- Fair complexion people
- >30 yo
- A family history of Rosacea
Physicians are able to make the diagnosis of rosacea based on the patient history and physical examination. On occasion, additional testing may be required to rule out psoriasis, lupus or eczema which can also resemble rosacea at various stages in their development. An ophthalmology consult may be required in those experiencing ocular rosacea symptoms.
Since there is no cure for rosacea, the goal in treatment is directed towards minimizing the symptoms and manifestations of the medical condition. To accomplish this, most physicians will use a combination of prescription medications and proper skin care. How long of a duration of treatment is required, is dependent on the symptoms and the overall severity of the rosacea. Since every case of rosacea can be different, most physicians will vary their treatment regiments based on what is working for the patient. There is not a single treatment that appears to work of all cases.
Laser/IPL Based Treatments
As the medical treatment for rosacea continues to advance, so have alternative treatments. Laser and/or Intense pulse light (IPL) based treatments have begun to gain traction in the treatment of rosacea. For many, we are finding that these light based therapies may in fact prove to be a better option when treating the small, red blood vessels (telangiectasias) on the face. Medical studies have begun to show that this light therapy helps to reduce the overall facial redness, and the telangiectasias that contribute to the redness. Multiple treatments are normally required to improve the overall skin appearance with minimal to few potential side-effects, predominantly temporary redness, hypopigmentation and some bruising. Although more research is still needed, light based therapies in the treatment of rosacea has definitely proven to be beneficial. If you would like to learn more, please call our staff at STL Vein and Cosmetics to set up your free consultation. Let our staff of experts help guide you in determining whether you would be a good candidate for light base therapies for your rosacea.