Rosacea is a common skin disease that affects over 13 million adults in the United States. Diagnosed in all ages, it is seen most commonly in fair-skinned adults, especially women, between 30 and 50 years of age. Rosacea is characterized by a persistent or recurring redness, swelling, and flushing on the face and upper body. It frequently includes acne-like pimples, telangiectasias (broken blood vessels), sensitive and scaly skin, and occasionally includes cysts and nodules that can lead to scarring. A keratitis (inflammed eye) can occasionally develop, as can an enlarged and deformed nasal tip called rhinophyma.
Early Diagnosis and Rosacea Treatment is the Key
Many people with Rosacea are unfamiliar with their condition and it is often mistaken by the patient or their doctor for simple acne, “dermatitis”, or Lupus. Seeking professional dermatologic diagnosis and medical treatment is an essential first step in controlling this disease. Rosacea can be managed successfully with a combination of treatments individually tailored to the patients needs. Avoidance of triggers that can provoke an outbreak, such as stress, alcohol, spicy foods, and overheating, can also help control the disease. Listed below are several rosacea treatment options that may be recommended during your office visit.
The treatment of inflammatory skin Lesions ( pimples, dermatitis,etc.) requires either systemic therapy, topical therapy or both. Systemic therapy of rosacea involves use of certain oral antibiotics. These medications can decrease the severity of pimple-like outbreaks, irritation-induced dermatitis, and eye problems. They cannot decrease flushing outbreaks or decrease background redness of the face and neck. These medications can produce faster improvement than topical treatments. Other advantages include convenience of administration, lack of skin irritation, and dependable clinical response. It may take 2 to 4 weeks for this therapy to take effect. Common medications that I may prescribe include tetracycline, erythromycin, doxycycline, or minocycline. These medications may cause side effects such as allergic reactions, yeast infections, nausea or heartburn, and head aches.
Topical therapy involves the use of medicated gels and creams that may be used alone or in combination with antibiotics. Like oral antibiotics, they can decrease the inflammatory components of Rosacea, but have little effect on redness or flushing. Topical steroids can improve the appearance of rosacea, but can also cause a severe flare when they are stopped. Topical therapy drug choice depends upon the severity of the rosacea and how oily or dry one’s skin is. The main advantage of topical medications is the lower risk of systemic side effects. Disadvantages of topical therapy include potential skin irritation, slower onset of improvement, longer duration to peak effect (8 to 12 weeks), and a more variable, unpredictable response to treatment.
Intense Pulsed Light Therapy
As noted above, systemic and topical therapy of Rosacea does not improve redness and flushing components of the disease. For these problems, we offer Intense Pulsed Light (Fotofacial) treatments. Fotofacial treatments are performed with the Lumenis Intense Pulsed Light System. Our clinical experience has proven that even though Fotofacials are not a cure for Rosacea, cumulative rosacea treatments can reduce the flushing, facial redness, number of telangiectatic blood vessels, and acne-break-outs associated with this disease.
For further information and treatment please call us at 360-459-1700, or schedule an appointment with the buttons in the upper right hand corner of this page.
Olympic Dermatology is the leading dermatology center serving Olympia, Lacey, Tumwater, DuPont, Steilacoom, Centralia, Chehalis, Aberdeen, Hoquiam, Shelton and the South Sound region.