How to Treat Rosacea
Rosacea (pronounced roh-ZAY-sha) is a common but poorly understood facial skin condition affecting an estimated 14 million people. At Janiga MDs Plastic Surgery and Dermatology, patients regularly present with typical symptoms of rosacea, including redness on the cheeks, nose chin and forehead; small visible blood vessels; bumps or pimples and watery or irritated eyes.
Rosacea is most common in persons with fair skin -particularly those of Irish, English or Scandinavian decent – and is most likely to occur between the age of 30 and 60. Ex-President Bill Clinton is one of many well-known rosacea patients.
Although the symptoms tend to wax and wane, the condition is chronic and there is no cure. It is true however that these symptoms can often be improved if not completely controlled with medical therapies in addition to lifestyle changes.
Classic signs of rosacea include the easy and prolonged flushing of the face, with small but visible linear blood vessels, especially on the cheeks and nose. Some patients also have itchy or irritated eyelids and eyes. Constant redness of the skin may also show small pimple-like bumps. Less commonly the skin can become thickened.
The flushing and redness associated with rosacea can often be linked to certain triggers. According to the National Rosacea Society the most common of these triggers are “…sun exposure, emotional stress, hot or cold weather, wind, alcohol, spicy foods, heavy exercise, hot baths, and hot drinks.”
Avoiding such triggers is essential for the proper management rosacea and keeping a diary of foods and events which lead to flushing will assist in their avoidance. The most well-known trigger for flushing and something that is generally well known, are the harmful effects of UV radiation for which we recommend a daily sunscreen containing an SPF of at least 30.
First-line treatments for the pimple-like bumps associated with rosacea may include low- dose oral antibiotics such as minocycline and doxycycline, which can be beneficial due to their anti-inflammatory properties rather than their bacteria-fighting properties. Topical medications also used treat the bumps are metronidazole, sulfur drugs, and azeleic acid.
Treatment options for the generalized redness and visible blood vessels are either laser, and/or the new topical blood vessel constricting medication named Mirvaso. The laser, known as IPL for Intensed Pulse Light Laser, is a cosmetic in-office treatment in which the spectrum of light is narrowed to specifically target and disintegrate with heat the redness and visible blood vessels. The cost for IPL is $350 per treatment and patients usually require 3-5 treatments based on individual results.
While not a permanent solution, Mirvaso is a topical prescription gel applied to the face in the morning, which constricts the blood vessels and temporarily removes or reduces the appearance of redness associated with rosacea.
Because one’s appearance and self esteem are inextricably entwined, it can be readily understood why rosacea can be a devastating condition which If left untreated can cause significant psychological, social and occupational difficulties.
Call our South Reno dermatology offices any time for a consultation for your rosacea.