About 14 million people in the US have rosacea, a skin condition that causes redness and blushing in the face and eyes. Menopausal women and fair-skinned people are more frequently affected.
Rosacea is a skin condition characterized by redness, pimples, and, in later stages, thicker skin. Rosacea typically affects the face.
Symptoms of rosacea may include redness of the face, blushing or flushing of the face, a red, swollen nose, thicker skin, and irritated, bloodshot, watery eyes among others. Rosacea can be triggered by heat, exercise, and sun exposure, among others.
The exact cause of rosacea is not known. However, rosacea is seen more in women (especially during menopause), people with fair skin, and in people between the ages of 30 and 60. Some believe rosacea occurs when blood vessels expand too easily, causing flushing. People who blush may be more likely to get rosacea.
There is not a cure for rosacea, but medications can be used to help treat and manage skin problems associated with rosacea, including antibiotics and steroid eye drops. In more severe cases, laser surgery or other cosmetic procedures may help treat and manage rosacea. In addition, surgery can be performed to remove swollen nose tissue.
Symptoms of rosacea may include:
- Redness of the face
- Blushing or flushing of the face
- Small red lines under the skin of the face
- Red, swollen nose; Mostly men may experience the nose that becomes red, larger, and bumpy
- Thicker skin
- Acne-like skin sores that may ooze or crust
- Burning feeling and slight swelling of the skin
- Irritated, bloodshot, watery eyes
- Inflamed eyes/eyelids
Your rosacea can become worse with certain triggers. Triggers vary from person to person. Rosacea can be triggered by certain factors which may include:
- Heat (including hot baths)
- Heavy exercise
- Sun exposure
- Very cold temperatures
- Hot or spicy foods and drinks
- Drinking alcohol
- Emotional stress
- Long-term use of steroids on the face
The exact cause of rosacea is not known. However, rosacea is seen more in women (especially during menopause), people with fair skin, and in people between the ages of 30 and 60.
Some believe rosacea occurs when blood vessels expand too easily, causing flushing. People who blush may be more likely to get rosacea. It is also thought people may inherit rosacea.
Rosacea may also be associated with other skin disorders such as acne or certain eye disorders such as blepharitis.
Rosacea can be diagnosed based off a physical exam and discussing your medical history.
Living With Rosacea
If you are living with rosacea, these steps can help you manage your rosacea:
- Document when you notice your rosacea flare up. By keeping a log, this can help you determine what may trigger your rosacea.
- Avoid sun exposure.
- Apply sunscreen daily that protects against both UVA and UVB rays. The sunscreen should contain sun-protecting factor (SPF) of 15 or higher.
- Wear wide-brimmed hats when spending time outdoors
- Limit spicy foods, alcohol, and hot beverages.
- Try to reduce stress.
- Avoid spending large amounts of time in hot weather.
- If helpful for your skin, use a lubricant.
- Avoid using products that may be irritating to your skin such as products that contain alcohol, menthol, and witch hazel
- If your eyes have become affected, clean your eyelids as recommended by your doctor.
- Talk to your doctor if you feel sad or have signs of depression.
There is not a cure for rosacea, but there are certain medications that can help treat and manage your rosacea.
The following medications can be used to help treat and manage skin problems associated with rosacea:
- Topical antibiotics
- Azelaic acid (Azelex)
- Metronidazole (Metrogel)
- Topical preparations
- Oral antibiotics
- Tetracyclines such as doxycycline, tetracycline, and minocycline (Minocin)
- Clarithromycin (Biaxin) and azithromycin (Zithromax)
- Metronidazole (Flagyl)
- Isotretinoin (Accutane)
Your doctor may prescribe other treatments based on the type of rosacea subtype you have.
Since rosacea is not acne, it will not improve with over-the-counter acne treatment.
In more severe cases, your doctor may recommend laser surgery or other cosmetic procedures to help treat and manage rosacea. In addition, surgery can be performed to remove swollen nose tissue.
The following medications can be used to help treat and manage eye conditions:
- Oral antibiotics
- Steroid eye drops
If you get infections of the eyelids, your doctor will give you instructions on how to clean your eyelids properly.
Rosacea Related Medications
Licorice has been studied in clinical trials and has shown to reduce erythema in patients with mild to moderate rosacea.
Rosacea Other Treatments
Currently there is research is being completed on the following:
- Methods to stop dry eyes and help other eye problems associated to rosacea
- Medications to treat rosacea
- To understand the way rosacea may be linked to the body’s immune system
- Methods to decrease scarring after removal of the extra skin on the nose
Rosacea is not harmful to your health. However, the symptoms associated with rosacea may cause one to be self-conscious and/or embarrassed.
Although there is not a cure for rosacea, there are certain medications that can be used to help manage rosacea. Talk to your doctor about what are the best treatment options for you.