We've been hearing more about rosacea for the past couple of years as drug companies advertise their medicines to the masses now. Rosacea is one of those skin conditions that many people didn't know they had until permanent changes had taken place, or they were so fed up with the way they looked, they went to the doctor as a last-ditch effort. This article will cover various aspects of the causes and treatments of rosacea.
Quick facts about rosacea and adult acne.
- Occurs in people of Celtic or Scandinavian origin
- Usually starts after age 30
- More common in women
- More severe in men
- Affects over 13 million Americans
- No lab tests to diagnose it
Rosacea may be related to the hair follicle mite Demodex folliculorum although this relationship is in question. Some people with rosacea have more of the mite on their skin, but others who have this mite have no symptoms. There may be some evidence that Helicobacter pylori, the same bacteria that causes stomach ulcers, may play some type of role in rosacea. Not because the bacteria is present in the skin but as more of a response to the bacteria in the intestinal tract.
The following features are characteristic of rosacea. Each sufferer can have a combination of any of these.
- Red, sometimes swollen, skin around the middle of the face - the forehead, cheeks, and nose.
- Red bumps that may have pus in them similar to acne.
- Tiny blood vessels, called telangiectasias, over the nose and cheeks that are visible up close but appear as a red blush at a distance.
- An enlarged, pitted, bulbous nose, called rhinophyma, which occurs as fibrous tissue and sebaceous glands get bigger.
Worsening Symptoms of Rosacea
The following is a list of factors that people have reported make their symptoms worse. Avoiding any of these factors that you've noticed may help make medicines more effective or even decrease the need for medicine.
- Sun Exposure
- Hot weather
- Drinking alcohol
- Spicy foods
- Hot baths
- Hot drinks
- Cold weather
Oral Medicine - Several agents can be used to treat rosacea. Erythromycin and tetracycline are the main oral antibiotics used. Other antibiotics that can be used are doxycycline, flagyl (metronidazole), and minocycline. Some people only need to take antibiotics for flare-ups, while others have to take antibiotics every day to suppress symptoms. Usually, it is best to go with the smallest dose possible to give the desired results. The antibiotics help more with the red bumps and acne-like lesions on the face. They don't help as much with the redness and blood vessels. Isotretinoin (Accutane) has been used for stubborn rosacea but can have severe side effects.
Topical Medicine - Several topical agents can be also be used to treat rosacea. The most commonly used agent is Metrogel (metronidazole). Another topical agent is sulfacetamide and sulfur lotion that can be found in a flesh-colored formulation to help hide some of the redness.
Surgery - The enlarged nose cannot be reversed with medicine. Cryosurgery, laser surgery, and electrosurgical therapy have been used for this with variable effectiveness. Electrosurgery and laser therapy are useful for the blood vessels.