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Rosacea is a condition that causes redness of the face, especially across the cheeks and nose. It may also include visible blood vessels or bumpy skin in these areas or eye redness.

It is estimated that more than 14 million Americans have rosacea, though many do not realize their facial redness is rosacea. Rosacea typically starts between 30 and 50 years old and occurs more frequently in people with fair skin (often with light hair and blue eyes), particularly those with Celtic or Scandinavian ancestry. Women are more likely than men to have rosacea, but men are more likely to have severe rosacea.

Rosacea is grouped into for subtypes based on the locations and types of symptoms:

  • Subtype 1: Facial redness, flushing, and visible blood vessels in the center of the face Other symptoms include dry skin, roughness or scaling, and a tendency to flush or blush easily. People with this subtype of red face often have very sensitive skin and may experience burning or stinging sensations.
  • Subtype 2: Acne-like breakouts (called acne rosacea) In this type of rosacea, the skin is very red and oily with acne-like breakouts that come and go. The redness is accompanied by visible broken blood vessels and raised patches of skin called plaques. The skin may be very sensitive with feelings of burning or stinging. This type is most common in middle-aged women.
  • Subtype 3: Thickening skin on the cheeks and nose This type of rosacea includes a bumpy texture and visible broken blood vessels, especially on the nose (called rhinophyma). The skin may also thicken on the chin, forehead and ears. The skin in these areas is oily with large visible pores.
  • Subtype 4: Rosacea in the eyes Symptoms may include watery or bloodshot appearance; feeling of dryness, grittiness, burning, stinging or itching; light sensitivity; blurry vision; and broken blood vessels or cysts on the eyelids.

Common Medications and Treatments for Rosacea

Currently, there are no treatments to cure rosacea. However, there are treatments to manage the symptoms and help prevent rosacea from worsening over time. Treatment is aimed at reducing acne-like breakouts, red face, and the number of flare-ups.

The different symptoms of rosacea require different types of treatment. However, it is important for all people with rosacea to learn what triggers their rosacea, because avoiding these triggers can lessen or eliminate the symptoms and help prevent the rosacea from worsening over time. Treatment options are different for every patient.  Remember rosacea we can control not cure.

Common rosacea triggers include

  • Sunlight
  • Stress
  • Spicy foods
  • Hot beverages
  • Alcohol
  • Hot weather
  • Cold weather
  • Wind
  • Hot baths
  • Some skin care products, including over-the-counter acne medications

Treatments for facial redness, visible blood vessels and acne rosacea

  • Daily sunscreen to help prevent flare-ups
  • Retinoid medications either applied to the skin or taken in pill form
  • An emollient to help repair the skin
  • Laser and other light treatments(IPL) to reduce redness
  • Antibiotic medication applied to the skin or taken in pill form
  • Topical medication (Metrogel, Finacea, Soolantra)
  • PRP – Platelet Rich Plasma
  • Levulan Treatments and Photodynamic Therapy
  • Superficial botox injections

Treatments for thickening skin

  • Laser surgery to remove excess skin tissue
  • Dermabrasion − a procedure that removes the top layer of skin tissue
  • Electrocautery − a procedure that sends electrical current into the skin to remove excess skin tissue

Treatments for eye rosacea symptoms

  • Special methods of washing the eyelids several times per day
  • Prescription medication for the eyes
  • Oral antibiotic medication