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Medical Dermatology


What is rosacea?

Rosacea is a condition of the skin that causes redness and swelling on the cheeks, forehead, chin and nose. It can also occur on the ears, chest and back. In addition to redness, rosacea also creates small, red bumps and tiny blood vessels on the surface of the skin. In more advanced cases, the nose becomes enlarged with thick bumps developing on the lower half. This condition is called rhinophyma and normally occurs more often in men with rosacea. In approximately half of all cases, patients experience a burning sensation of the eyes. Rosacea normally develops over a long period of time. In early stages of the disease, it may be seen as the tendency to blush easily, a red complexion, or intense sensitivity to cosmetics. Although this condition can affect men or women of any age, it is more common in women between the ages of 30 and 50. Fair skinned individuals are more likely to develop rosacea.

What causes rosacea?

The cause of rosacea is unknown. It is believed that heredity plays a role in some cases.

What is the treatment for rosacea?

A combination of therapies recommended by your dermatologist can impede the progress of the disease and in some cases reverse it. These treatments include:

  • Topical gels and creams
  • Oral antibiotics
  • Cortisone creams, to be used only under the direction of a dermatologist
  • PhotoFacial, using pulsed light treatment
  • Corrective surgery may be recommended for rhinophyma

Successful management of rosacea depends on early diagnosis and treatment. It is very important to not attempt to self-treat. Some non-prescription creams or lotions may create adverse effects.

Tips for rosacea management:

  • Limit exposure to sunlight.
  • Use protective clothing or broad spectrum sunscreens with SPF 15 or higher.
  • Avoid extremes in temperature.
  • Refrain from rubbing, scrubbing or massaging the face.
  • Stay away from hot drinks and spicy foods.
  • Avoid caffeine and alcoholic beverages which tend to increase facial redness.
  • Use facial products that are free of alcohol or other irritating substances.
  • Stay away from oil based cosmetics.
  • Use make up with a yellow or green tint may help mask the facial redness.

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