If you suffer from Rosacea, you’re no stranger to the redness, flushing, and breakouts that accompany this chronic skin disorder.  Rosacea is a neurovascular condition that primarily affects the central part of your face, and is found most often in fair-skinned adults between the ages of 30 and 50.

Rosacea is thought to occur in four stages:

  • Pre-rosacea, which is an early stage characterized by minimal flushing or redness of your skin and is not usually noticeable,
  • With mild rosacea, you will have some facial redness and flushing which lasts longer than normal, usually one-half hour or more after a trigger,
  • Moderate rosacea means that your facial flushing becomes more frequent, intense, and vascular damage may occur. At this stage you may also notice papules and pustules (small white pimples) on your nose or cheeks,
  • Severe rosacea is associated with intense facial flushing with inflammation, swelling and even burning. Papules, pustules and nodules are likely to be present. Some people may experience a bulbous enlargement of their nose, called a rhinophyma.

About half of the people who have rosacea suffer from ocular, or eye rosacea, which affects the eye surface and lid. The symptoms of ocular rosacea include redness, dry eyes, sensitivity of the eye surface, sties, crusting, and loss of eyelashes.

There are treatment options for your rosacea, which include oral antibiotics such as Tetracycline and in severe cases, Accutane may be prescribed. Topical treatments include Retin A, MetroGel,  MetroCream, and sulfur preparations which will need to be applied to your skin once or twice a day. Also, topical Vitamin C creams can help reduce the redness.

Light therapy is also helpful for rosacea.  BBL or IPL light therapy can help diminish redness and reduce breakouts.   Rhinophyma can be treated effectively with the CO2 laser, which is often covered by health insurance because of the pain and disfigurement associated with this condition.

The cause of rosacea is unknown; however it seems to run in families, so there is a genetic tendency.  Some other possible causes include:

  • Exposure to heat, including hot baths
  • A history of heavy exercise
  • Excessive exposure to sunlight
  • Exposure to wind
  • Exposure to very cold temperatures
  • Eating hot or very spicy foods
  • Drinking alcohol
  • Emotional stress
  • Menopause
  • Long term use of steroids on the face

While there is no cure for rosacea, it can be treated and managed. Avoiding known triggers, and wearing sun protection are key to keeping your rosacea under control.