Rosacea is a chronic, inflammatory skin condition that affects adults. It causes redness in your face and could produce small, red, pus-filled bumps or pustules. Left untreated, rosacea tends to be progressive, which means it gets worse over time.
Most people experience rosacea in cycles. This means your rosacea signs and symptoms may flare up for a period of weeks to months and then lessen for a while before flaring up again. Besides acne, rosacea can be mistaken for other skin problems, such as skin allergy or eczema. Rosacea usually appears in phases:
Rosacea may begin as a simple tendency to flush or blush easily, then progress to a persistent redness in the central portion of your face, particularly your nose. This redness results from the dilation of blood vessels close to your skin’s surface. This phase may sometimes be referred to as pre-rosacea.
As signs and symptoms worsen, vascular rosacea may develop — small blood vessels on your nose and cheeks swell and become visible (telangiectasia). Your skin may become overly sensitive. Vascular rosacea may also be accompanied by oily skin and dandruff.
Small, red bumps or pustules may appear and persist, spreading across your nose, cheeks, forehead and chin. This is sometimes known as inflammatory rosacea.
In severe and rare cases, the oil glands (sebaceous glands) in your nose and sometimes your cheeks become enlarged, resulting in a buildup of tissue on and around your nose — a condition called rhinophyma (ri-no-FI-muh). This complication is much more common in men and develops very slowly over a period of years.
Topical medications applied to your skin once or twice daily may help reduce inflammation and redness. They may also be used along with oral medications or as part of a maintenance program to control symptoms. Common topical medications include antibiotics (metronidazole), tretinoin, benzoyl peroxide and azelaic acid. A dermatology provider at one of our clinics may prescribe if needed.
A dermatology provider may prescribe oral antibiotics to treat rosacea, more for their anti-inflammatory properties than to kill bacteria. Oral antibiotics are also prescribed because they tend to work faster than topical ones. Common prescription oral antibiotics include tetracycline, minocycline and erythromycin.
Isotretinoin is a powerful oral medication sometimes used for severe cases of inflammatory rosacea if other treatment options fail to improve symptoms. Usually prescribed for cystic acne, isotretinoin works to inhibit the production of oil by sebaceous glands. People who take it need close monitoring because of the possibility of serious side effects. A dermatology provider at one of our clinics may prescribe if needed.
Candela Vbeam® Perfecta pulsed dye laser is the most effective solution for vascular rosacea. V-beam attacks red pigment in your skin, in other words the small dilated blood vessels and red spots that are a hallmark of rosacea. V-beam targets just the red pigment, while sparing the rest of the skin. The treatment can take as little as 15 minutes.
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