How to Manage and Treat Rosacea
Rosacea is a disorder of the skin that causes redness of the face. Specially, areas of the face involved are the nose, cheeks, chin and forehead; although, in some cases, other areas can be involved too - like the chest and back. People afflicted with rosacea experience symptoms such as pimples or bumps. These bumps can be pus-filled or solid in nature. Another feature that may be noticed in people afflicted with rosacea is the presence of thin reddish lines, usually noticed on the cheeks. The medical term for this is telangiectasia and this basically occurs when the existing small vessels of the skin dilate (i.e. expand or enlarge), thereby becoming visible as red lines. Rosacea sufferers can also experience teary eyes, irritating sensation as if there is some foreign body in your eye, swelling of eyelids, etc. In some extreme cases, vision can be impaired as well.
In some cases, mostly among men, a condition called rhinophyma may occur if rosacea is not tackled and treated. Rhinophyma is a condition where the nose can become bulbous or enlarged. This is also referred to variously as rum nose, rum-blossom, brandy nose, potato nose, hammer nose, copper nose, toper's nose, hypertrophic rosacea. The term "hypertrophic" means an increase in the bulk of a part or organ, in this case the nose. So, basically, rhinophyma results in an increase in the bulk of the nose with the presence of bumps on the nose.
What Are the Risk Factors For Rosacea?
One may develop rosacea with or without any particular risk factor. However, certain risk factors do exist which may increase the chances of developing rosacea. For one, women for some reason tend to develop rosacea more often than men. Secondly, rosacea tends to occur between the age group of 30-60. Thirdly, people with fair skin mostly tend to develop rosacea. Fourthly, rosacea may tend to run in families, so having a family member with rosacea might predispose you to develop rosacea as well.
Treatment For Rosacea / How To Manage Rosacea
There is no cure for rosacea unfortunately, however that doesn't mean that it cannot be controlled - it can!! The purpose of any treatment is basically focused on improving your appearance. Early treatment can prevent severe cases such as rhinophyma or potato nose, as it is also called. Treatments for rosacea can involve the following:
1. Reducing flare-ups of rosacea by avoiding the triggers for it. Triggers can include prolonged sun exposure, some cosmetic products that can cause irritation, some foods that are spicy, hot weather, scrubbing of the face, emotional stress, alcohol, cold weather, having hot-water baths, saunas, steaming of the face, etc.
2. Following from above, it would be a good idea to avoid certain weather conditions, especially cold windy weather. You can protect your face with the help of some cloth or some scarves, etc. It would also be a good idea to use a moisturizing cream (make sure it doesn't irritate your skin and is agreeable with your skin) with SPF and limit sun exposure between 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
3. Another thing to watch out for is overexertion. Do not over-exercise for example.
4. Stay indoors mostly, if possible, in a cool place, preferably one that has air-conditioning.
5. Some foods can cause rosacea flare-ups, so watch out for those and try to avoid specific foods if you notice a connection between eating them and rosacea flare-ups. Alcohol can be a trigger and you may have to avoid it. Also, as mentioned above, spicy foods can cause a flare-up. Whatever your specific trigger food, try to avoid them. Keeping a log of foods you eat and noting down any flare-ups that happen after you eat them can be a good way of keeping track.
6. Try to stay away from skin products that can irritate your skin, generally ones that cause burning, stinging, itchy feeling, etc. Try to minimize any adverse impact on your skin from rough material such as brushes, rough cloth, etc. Be as gentle as possible with your skin.
7. Certain medications are available that have been used to treat rosacea. However, do note that these are to be used only under the supervision of a doctor. Your doctor would give you the specific instructions on how to use them, what to watch for, any side effects from it, etc. Some of the medications used to treat rosacea are:
A. MetroGel, clindamycin and benzoyl peroxide, sulfur and sulfacetamide -- these are basically topical antibiotics that are available in cream form and are generally applied to the affected areas.
B. MetroGel also comes in a pill form to be taken orally. Other oral antibiotics such as tetracycline and doxycycline are also used to treat rosacea.
C. There are also other medications such as Retin-A (which is also a cream). Accutane is another medication used to treat rosacea - this comes in capsule form.
As mentioned above, these medications are to be used only as directed by your physician. There are side effects and certain contraindications to using some of these, which your doctor would be best positioned to explain.
8. Surgical intervention may be required in certain severe cases such as rhinophyma (explained above). These interventions can be laser surgery, electrosurgery or dermabrasion (a procedure performed to reduce scars, pits, etc. by use of abrasive materials). This is done for cosmetic reasons if the rosacea has resulted in your appearance becoming unsightly. Good results generally can be expected from undergoing any of the three procedures mentioned above.
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