Rosacea Description, Diagnosis and Treatment
What is rosacea, and what does it look like?
Rosacea is a common skin disease that frequently begins as a tendency to flush or blush easily. As rosacea progresses, people often develop persistent redness in the center of the face. This redness may gradually spread beyond the nose and cheeks to the forehead and chin.
Tiny blood vessels, which many call spider veins, can develop. Some people see small red bumps that usually appear in crops. Some of the red bumps may contain pus. Dermatologists call the pus-filled bumps "pustules". If the bumps do not contain pus, they are called "papules". These pustules and papules resemble acne, so people often refer to rosacea as "adult acne". Unlike acne, blackheads do not develop. Rosacea also can cause the affected skin to swell.
Rosacea also can affect the eyes. About 50 percent of people have eye involvement, also called “ocular rosacea.” This often causes dryness, burning and grittiness can lead to serious eye complications.
What are the signs of rosacea, and who is at risk?
Early rosacea can be difficult to recognize. When rosacea first develops, the redness tends to come and go. Many people may consider this nothing more than flushing that lasts longer than normal. The visible blood vessels can be seen as an inevitable sign of aging. If papules and pustules appear, these can be mistaken for adult acne.
When the skin does not return to its normal color and when other signs, such as pimples and visible blood vessels, appear, it is best to see a licensed dermatologist, such as Dr. Ellen Turner. Left untreated, rosacea can worsen and become more difficult to treat. Self-diagnosis and at-home treatment are not recommended. Some over-the-counter treatments can worsen rosacea.
Although fair-skinned adults between the ages of 30 and 50 may be at greater risk, people of all races and ethnic groups can develop rosacea. It affects men and women of any age—and even children.
Since rosacea can be associated with menopause, women are affected more often than men. As women approach menopause, they may notice an extreme sensitivity to cosmetics and skin-care products. These can be symptoms of rosacea. Both men and women may notice that a particularly embarrassing or tense moment triggers flushing that lasts longer than in other people.
If you experience any of these, it is important to see a licensed dermatologist. Rosacea tends to be a chronic (last for years) and progressive condition that rarely reverses itself.
about Dr. Ellen Turner
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Dr. Ellen Turner and her staff at the Dermatology Office strive to work within a space where compassion meets technology to obtain top results for Dallas patients.Read More Dr. Ellen Turner
Rosacea treatment and tips
To effectively manage rosacea, Dr. Turner usually recommends a combination of treatments tailored to the individual patient. This approach can stop rosacea from progressing and may sometimes halt it. Many treatments are applied directly to the affected skin. Creams, lotions, foams, washes, gels and pads that contain a topical antibiotic, azelaic acid, metronidazole, sulfacetamide, benzoyl peroxide or retinoids may be prescribed. A newer prescription medication containing brimonidine can actually reduce the flushing that can occur with rosacea. While these topical treatments are effective, improvement can take time. A slight improvement may be seen in the first three to four weeks. Greater improvement usually takes about two months. Faster results may be seen with oral antibiotics, especially to treat papules and pustules.
Persistent redness may be treated with a small electric needle (electrodessication) or laser treatments such as IPL (intense pulsed light) or BBL (broadband light). Laser treatments can also reduce the background skin redness as well as the papules and pustules. Cosmetics also may be helpful. Green-tinted makeup may mask the redness.
Many everyday things can cause rosacea to flare. Anything that causes a flare-up is called a “trigger.” To help patients decrease flare-ups, dermatologists often recommend the following:
- Practice good sun protection. Sun exposure seems to be the most common trigger. Seek shade when possible, limit exposure to sunlight, wear protective clothing and use nonirritating broad-spectrum (offers protection from UVA and UVB rays) sunscreen with SPF of 30 or higher. Reapply sunscreen every two hours. Physical block sunscreens with SPF 30 or higher that contain zinc oxide or titanium dioxide as the active ingredients are recommended as opposed to chemical blockers, which may aggravate the rosacea.
- Avoid certain foods and drinks. Spicy foods, hot drinks, caffeine and alcoholic beverages are common rosacea triggers. Although alcohol can worsen rosacea, the condition can be just as severe in someone who does not drink alcohol. Rosacea has been unfairly linked to alcoholism.
- Protect your skin from extreme hot and cold temperatures. These can exacerbate rosacea. Exercise in a cool environment. Do not overheat. Protect your face from cold and wind with a nonirritating scarf or ski mask.
- Avoid rubbing, scrubbing or massaging the face.
- Avoid cosmetics and skin care products that contain alcohol or other irritating substance. Use hair sprays properly, avoiding contact with facial skin.
- Keep your skin care routine simple. Fewer products are better.
- Note flushing episodes. While the above are common triggers, what causes rosacea to flare in one person may not trigger it in another. By writing down what foods, products, activities, medications and other things cause your rosacea to flare, you will learn your triggers.
Outstanding patient care is a point of pride for Dr. Turner, and she aims to listen to their concerns and choose the appropriate therapies for each individual. Consultations have a comfortable, informative and respectful tone. To schedule a consultation with Dr. Turner to discuss rosacea, book an appointment or call the office at (214) 373-7546.
How much does rosacea treatment cost?
The cost will vary based on the type and extent of treatment recommended by Dr. Turner.