Living with Rosacea
Rosacea is a common inflammatory condition of the skin. It affects people’s life greatly and can become permanent. Patients usually complaint of: flushing, blushing, sensitive skin, breakouts and sensitivity to the eyes. Rosacea typically manifests in people with pale skin and light eyes but it can affect any skin type. The problem may get worse if left untreated and it can cause some people to be embarrassed by their appearance. The most common mistake is thinking that there is nothing we can do to treat it. Although rosacea cannot be cured, there are several recommended treatment strategies appropriate to control the symptoms. In addition to adequate skin care, at The Angel Laser Clinic we currently offer different treatment options from laser therapy that can improve the appearance of the skin to medication prescribed by our consultant dermatologists.
It is also called ‘The great disguiser’ because it’s not something you catch. It usually doesn’t appear before age 30 and can run in families. It’s most common in people who blush or flush easily. People tend not to recognize rosacea because it develops gradually. After a while, they begin to think they just flush easily, or that they’re having periodic acne attacks.
Rosacea starts as redness and dryness on the cheeks, nose, chin, or forehead (less often on the neck, scalp, chest, or ears). At first, it comes and goes. After a while, the redness deepens and lasts longer. Visible blood vessels appear in the skin. If not treated, pimples and bumps develop. The nose may become large and bumpy as tissue builds up, this is called rhinophyma. And rosacea sometimes affects the ocular area, making your eyes irritated, watery, sensitive and bloodshot.
The first step in treating rosacea is a lifestyle change. Long-term treatment will usually be necessary, although there may be periods where your symptoms improve and you can stop temporarily your treatment. Though rosacea is genetic in nature, we can pay attention to some “triggers” that make it worse. Avoid common triggers listed here.
- Sun exposure: Everyone should avoid too much sun, but people with rosacea are particularly sensitive. They should be sure to apply sun block to the face when going outdoors. But take care! Skin affected by rosacea is very sensitive to chemicals. Use a high quality sun block that doesn’t irritate the skin with a high protection against UVA / UVB rays. It is also important to select an oil-free sun block particularly suitable for spot prone skin, non-comedogenic and water resistant. We recommend Heliocare SPF 50 gel
- Emotional stress: Flushing increases when you’re particularly under stress. Learn relaxation techniques such as deep breathing.
- Alcoholic drinks: Alcohol does not cause rosacea directly, but it causes a dilatation of blood vessels in the face that makes rosacea worse, especially wine.
- Foods such as sugar, spicy foods, dark coffee and yogurt might make rosacea worse, while olive oil or coconut oil seem to help.
- Temperature changes. If you work outdoor or you pass from a very hot environment to a cold one you are exposed to more risks. You must protect your face from strong wind in winter and regulate heating at home. Also heavy exercises, steam rooms and saunas must be avoided.
- Skin care: Makeup, cleansers, lotions, and even some moisturizers can irritate the skin, especially if they can stimulate the blood circulation or if they contain parabens. Use only products that are non-irritating, hypoallergenic, alcohol free and non-comedogenic. Mineral make up is more indicated because it is lighter and provides sun protection. Use products with Vitamin C to repair the capillaries and moisturising properties to hydrate dry skin. Avoid sponges to apply foundation to avoid infection but use a sterilized brush instead.
Currently there is no known cure for rosacea, but there are treatments that can help keep the symptoms under control. Long-term treatment will normally be necessary. Simply improving the redness can lead to a significant improvement psychologically. Facial redness and flushing caused by rosacea is usually more difficult to treat than the papules and pustules caused by the condition. The treatment options are:
1. Treatments for facial redness:
- Laser treatment: facial redness and visible blood vessels can be improved with a vascular laser such as a pulse dye laser or the Nd: Yag laser. At The Angel Laser Clinic we use the latest pulse dye laser called Regenlite and the latest q-switched laser Revlite. Our pulse dye laser produces a beam of light that is aimed at the visible blood vessels in the skin. The heat from the laser damages the dilated veins and causes them to shrink so they are no longer visible, with minimal damage to the surrounding area. This modern technology also helps to reduce inflammation, by inducing a natural process in the immune system. We can treat mild redness with a course of sessions or severe rosacea and broken capillaries with the vascular mode. Around eight treatments may be needed. Our practitioners will advice the best course of treatment for you during your personal consultation.
- Topical treatment: brimonidine tartrate gel: It works by restricting the widening of the blood vessels in the face. It starts to have an effect about 30 minutes after it is first used and this can last for up to 12 hours.
- Oral treatments: medication taken by mouth that may help improve redness caused by rosace include: clonidine – it relaxes the blood vessels, beta-blockers– it decreases the activity of the heart, anxiety medications – used to help calm the person and reduce blushing. These medications may be prescribed only under the supervision of a dermatologist.
2. Treatments for papules and pustules
- Topical treatments: for mild rosacea, if you have papules (red bumps) and pustules (pus-filled swellings) caused by rosacea. The two medications most often recommended are metronidazole or azelaic acid creams and gels.
- Oral antibiotics: for moderate rosacea, an oral antibiotic may be recommended to reduce inflammation. Antibiotics often used to treat rosacea include tetracycline, oxytetracycline, doxycycline and erythromycin. Tetracyclines can make your skin sensitive to sunlight and artificial light, such as sunbeds so sun protection is required.
- Oral isotretinoin: usually used for severe acne, at lower doses it’s also sometimes used to treat rosacea. Because of its possible side effects, it can only be prescribed by a dermatologist and not a GP.
3. Treatment for thickened skin
In some cases, the skin of the nose can become thickened. This is known as rhinophyma. For severe rhinophyma, surgical treatments to remove excess tissue and remodel the nose are the best treatment option
4. Treatment for eye problems
If rosacea is affecting your eyes you may need to use lubricating eye drops if you have dry eyes, or oral antibiotics if you have blepharitis.
For more information about rosacea book a consultation with one of our practitioners today