Rosacea has been a lifelong problem. Is there a solution?
A broad web-based survey recently published in Journal of Clinical and Aesthetic Dermatology found that most patients with mild to moderate rosacea are dissatisfied with their appearances, and they worry about how others will react. If you are among the millions of Americans afflicted, don’t despair! Rosacea treatment is available, right here in Nashville, TN. We can help you to feel good about your appearance again!
What is rosacea?
This common skin disease is characterized by facial redness and thickening skin. There are several types of rosacea, and symptoms may vary from one person to another. In many cases, it resembles acne, which can lead to incorrect self-diagnosis. The two are very different skin conditions, and acne medication may aggravate rosacea. That is one of the reasons evaluation and diagnosis by a skincare professional is important.
Although it is a chronic skin condition, rosacea is not consistent. Normally, it will cycle between periods of remission and active flareups. A true rosacea cure does not yet exist, as the underlying causes are not fully understood.
However, in recent years researchers have made great strides in understanding the nature and processes of this disease, leading to a wealth of new treatment options.
Today, we have a better understanding of what triggers flareup and how to help patients avoid them. Additionally, laser therapy and other nonsurgical skin rejuvenation procedures are highly effective for correcting redness, textural problems, and other rosacea symptoms.
What are the signs of rosacea?
According to the National Rosacea Society, recent studies indicate that at any given time about 16 million Americans have active signs of rosacea. They estimate that millions more are affected, with symptoms currently in remission. In reality, the exact number of people with rosacea is unknown, because many are undiagnosed. If you struggle with recurring redness or breakouts, you could be among them. The signs of rosacea may include:
- Skin redness – This is the most common and best-known rosacea symptom. The appearance of the skin may resemble a sunburn.
- Thickening skin – Along with redness, this is considered the other diagnostic symptom of rosacea. It usually occurs around the nasal area, and affected skin is often hard or dry.
- Flushing – It is common and normal for cheeks to have a red tinge in cold weather, during physical exertion, or in moments of embarrassment. However, for people with rosacea this may happen frequently, sometimes for unknown reasons, and the redness lingers. It is usually accompanied by a sensation of warming or burning.
- Bumps on skin – This can range from a generally lumpy skin texture to hard red lumps, or pus-filled pimples. Although some rosacea outbreaks resemble acne, they do not include blackheads.
- Burning sensation – Many rosacea patients report feelings of heat or stinging, especially in the cheeks. This may accompany flushing.
- Visible vessels – We all have countless tiny, superficial vessels, which carry blood to the skin. Normally we do not see them. However, sometimes those vessels are visible, and often quite predominant. This problem, known as telangiectasia, can develop for many reasons, with rosacea being one of the most common. They are most commonly seen on the bridge of the nose, cheeks, or elsewhere in the midface region.
- Eye irritation – Although the most predominant rosacea symptoms normally occur in the midface, some patients have eye symptoms. This occurs with a particular subtype of the disease, which is called ocular rosacea. Affected patients may have irritated, watery, or bloodshot eyes. Crusting can occur on the eyelids, particularly around lashes. Redness and visible vessels also may be seen on the eyelids.
- Dry skin – If you have rosacea, you might notice excessive dryness, flaking, or a leathery texture to the skin, most commonly around the nose and cheeks.
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How rosacea is treated?
Rosacea is a complex condition requiring a multi-faceted approach. Effective management includes taking steps to prevent flare-ups, as well as treating existing symptoms and skin damage. Because every rosacea patient has unique needs, every treatment plan is a bit different. Recommendations may include one or more of the following:
- Trigger avoidance – This is a key step in long-term control. The challenge here is figuring out your triggers, because the list is a little different for everyone. We will help you learn to spot early signs, keep a rosacea diary, record your reaction to various common triggers, and then use this information to reduce flares.
- Skincare – If you have rosacea, your skin is particularly susceptible to damage from harsh products and sun exposure. We will guide you in developing a customized skincare regimen and sun protection habits.
- Medication – Prescription topicals such as brimonidine can help reduce redness in some patients. For those with pustules (infected, pus-filled pimples), oral antibiotics may be beneficial.
- Eye treatment – Patients with severe ocular rosacea may benefit from ophthalmic therapy, medicated eye drops, and similar treatments.
- Light therapy – In most cases, this is the best option for correcting rosacea symptoms and restoring skin health. Lasers and IPL (intense pulsed light) treatments can selectively target and eliminate redness, with minimal side effects and reliable results.
What is the benefit of laser and IPL treatments for rosacea?
The most common signs of rosacea – thickening skin, persistent redness, and visible vessels – are the most difficult to camouflage with cosmetics. Fortunately, these things also respond very well to light energy, making IPL and lasers extremely effective treatment options.
Generally speaking, IPL excels in treating diffuse redness, whereas non-ablative lasers are wonderful for targeting visible vessels. These procedures usually have very little, if any downtime. Laser resurfacing may be recommended for correcting thick skin and improving texture. It may involve a short recovery period, but fractionated laser technology enables fast and comfortable healing.