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Medical Dermatology


What is Rosacea?

Rosacea is a common chronic skin disease of the central face. Symptoms include facial redness, papules, pustules, visible broken blood vessels (Telangiectasias), flushing and swelling. Over time the redness in the center of the face can become persistent and spread to the cheeks, forehead, and chin. Patients with rosacea often have sensitive skin.

Rosacea affects about 1 in 10 patients. Women are more frequently affected than men. Fair-skinned individuals with blond hair and blue eyes, from a Celtic or Scandinavian ancestry, with a family history of rosacea or acne are at higher risk. There is no cure and often rosacea affects a person’s quality of life. However, it can be controlled successfully with lifestyle changes, and certain treatments.

What causes rosacea?

The cause of rosacea is not entirely clear. Inflammation, hyperactivity of blood vessels, sun exposure, and an overgrowth of a common skin organism have all been associated with the disease.

There are four types of rosacea:

  1. Erythematotelangiectasis rosacea. Symptoms: Redness and flushing with visible dilated blood vessels; swollen, pink, and sensitive skin; dry, rough and scaly skin, and skin that stings and burns.
  2. Papulopustular rosacea. Symptoms: Redness, swelling, and acne-like lesions breakouts that come and go; sensitive skin, oily skin, skin that burns and stings; visible dilated blood vessels.
  3. Phymatous rosacea. Symptoms: Thickened skin that has a bumpy texture and enlarged pores; roughly textured skin; skin that thickens on the nose, forehead, cheeks, chin and ears; enlarged pores; visible broken blood vessels, and oily skin.
  4. Ocular Rosacea. Symptoms: watery, red , and irritated eyes; dry eyes that burn, sting and feel gritty; sensitivity to light; blurry vision; swollen eyelids; visible blood vessels on the eyelids, cysts on the eyelids and impaired vision.

How is Rosacea diagnosed?

Rosacea is diagnosed by your signs and symptoms. Prepare for your dermatology consultation by making a list of your signs and symptoms and the triggers you have noticed that worsen your condition. At your consultation, a board-certified dermatologist  will examine your skin and eyes, review your history, ask you questions, and rule out other conditions that can look like rosacea. In rare cases, tests are needed to look for microorganisms or skin inflammation.

What are the treatment options?

The goal of treatment is to control symptoms, reduce or eliminate flare-ups which aggravate the condition, relieve discomfort and prevent worsening of the condition.

  • Recognizing triggers. Everyone has different triggers. Identifying your triggers can help to control flare-ups. Common triggers include stress, heat, spicy foods, sun exposure, hairspray, alcohol, exercise, and makeup and skin care products that cause stinging, burning or itching.
  • Sun protection and sun avoidance is essential. Patients with rosacea should wear sunscreen with SPF 30 or greater daily. Wide-brimmed hats, sunglasses, and seeking shade when outdoors will help prevent worsening of the disease.
  • Treatments range from oral antibiotics, to topical treatments like a azelaic acid, metronidazole, ivermectin or niacinamide. Laser therapy can be considered to reduce visible blood vessels.

Rosacea is a frustrating condition that causes many patients to avoid social activities. 70% of people living with rosacea find that it impacts their self-confidence and self-esteem, and because many people do not know what rosacea is, they conclude the affected has a drinking problem. Treatment can improve the quality of life for people affected by rosacea.

Contact Phoenix Surgical Dermatology Group to schedule a consultation and receive the correct diagnosis and treatment options.

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