What is Rosacea?

Rosacea is a common skin condition that appears as red, swollen bumps and visible blood vessels on the cheeks, nose, skin, and forehead. Early symptoms include flushing easily, swelling on the nose, cheeks and acne like breakouts that come and go. Rosacea does progress as you get older, redness tends to become deeper in color and if present spider veins are more visible. Skin can thicken with this condition, especially on the nose often a subtype of rosacea called rhinophyma. Rosacea can have triggers such as spicy foods, alcohol, particularly red wine, heat, hormones to name a few.

Who Is Likely To Get Rosacea and Why?

Scientists don’t fully understand what causes rosacea or how to cure it. Numbers vary but an estimated 14 million people are living with rosacea. People who get rosacea tend to be between 30 and 50 years of age, fair-skinned and of Celtic or Scandinavian ancestry.  People who might get rosacea:

  • Family history of the disease
  • Have had lots of acne or cysts and nodules
  • Females are more likely to get it then men
  • Typically worse in men due when rhinophyma of the nose is involved

There are some clues as to what causes rosacea that can help in the treatment:

  • Possibly inheriting the genes from your family
  • Your immune system may play a role overreacting to the bacteria bacillus oleronius
  • Hpylori, a bacteria in your gut is another potential cause although still unproven
  • Demodex mites. Everyone has demodex mites living primarily on nose and cheeks but in rosacea a  larger numbers of these mites are present
  • A protein that normally protects the skin, cathelicidin may cause the redness and swelling. The body processes this protein differently in rosacea patients

Treatment Options

The good news is there are a variety of options available to treat rosacea that can help diminish symptoms getting your skin under control.  A combination approach is best, involving topical or oral medications, diet modifications and laser. Early treatment is key in helping control rosacea. The effects of rosacea are more than physical, patients can suffer from embarrassment and avoidance of social activities. Popular treatments for rosacea include:

  • Topical medications like sodium sulfacetamide and sulfer, metronidazole, azelaic acid, ivermectrin, retinoids, Soolantra
  • Oral medications, Oracea, minocycline, doxycycline and in severe cases isotretinoin
  • Laser. Vbeam laser targets redness in the skin effectively destroying tiny blood vessels. Vbeam helps greatly with the cosmetic aspects of rosacea in one to three treatments. There is little to no downtime with Vbeam and results can be long lasting. Occasional maintenance treatments may be necessary to keep your skin under control

Other considerations for improving rosacea is skincare. Flair up produce irritated, sensitive dry skin. Proper skincare can help your skin to feel more comfortable and be a positive adjunct to medications. Because rosacea suffers tend to have dryness, a good moisturizer for sensitive that provides barrier protections can be helpful. Sun protection is also very important. The sun can exacerbate rosacea so applying sunscreen year round is important. We can help with skincare recommendations creating a well rounded treatment plan. To learn more about rosacea you can also visit the AAD website. Dr. Michalak is a board certified dermatologist and has been member for years.

In some cases, antibiotics such as tetracycline, minocycline or erythromycin, or cleaners or creams are prescribed. Your dermatologist will most likely recommend that you apply sunscreen daily and avoid trigger foods that aggravate the condition.

Scheduling your appointment

If you think you might have rosacea, seeking a diagnosis is the best place to start. Your dermatologist will discuss the best treatment options for you. For those with redness of the skin, visible small capillaries on the nose or cheeks, VBeam laser is another option. You can schedule by calling the office number 425-391-2500 or submit a contact form for more information.

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