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Education Library: Rosacea

Introduction

Rosacea (acne rosacea) is a chronic skin condition. It predominantly causes redness and flushing on the face. Although there is no cure for rosacea, antibiotics and laser therapy can help manage the condition and improve the appearance of your skin.

Anatomy

Your skin covers your body and protects it from the environment. Your skin is composed of three layers, the epidermis, dermis, and subcutaneous tissue. The epidermis is the outermost layer of your skin. It protects the inner layers. The cells at the bottom layer of the epidermis continually move upward to the outer layer. They eventually wear off and are replaced by the next layer of cells.

Causes

The exact cause of rosacea is unknown. Researchers believe it develops because of a combination of inherited and environmental factors.

Symptoms

The main symptom of rosacea is red facial flushing. Rosacea most frequently affects the forehead, nose, cheeks, and chin, although the condition may develop elsewhere on the body. Other symptoms of rosacea vary from person to person. You may have small red lines (blood vessels) that appear beneath your skin, acne, or small bumps. You may have a burning sensation on your skin. The affected skin may become swollen or thick. Rosacea can cause the nose to become larger, red, and bumpy (rhinophyma). This occurs more commonly in men and rarely in women.

Rosacea may cause your eyes to feel dry, burning, and itchy. Your eyes may become red, swollen, and sensitive to light. You may develop blurred vision and excess tearing.

Diagnosis

Your doctor can diagnose rosacea by examining your skin. An ophthalmologist can evaluate your eyes for the condition.

Treatment

There is no cure for rosacea, but treatments may help reduce symptoms. Oral antibiotics or prescription antibiotic lotion may help some people. Laser treatments can produce good temporary results. They may need to be repeated over time. Surgery may be used to remove excess skin from the nose. Although it is not a treatment, using a green tinted corrector under regular base or foundation makeup can help reduce the appearance of redness.

Eye-related rosacea is treated with antibiotics and steroid eye drops. Your doctor will instruct you how to carefully wash your eyelids.

Prevention

You may help prevent rosacea by using a good facial cleansing routine and avoiding facial products or cosmetics that contain alcohol. Use a sunscreen that blocks both UVA and UVB rays and that has a SPF factor of 15 or higher.

Am I at Risk?

Women experience rosacea more frequently than men do. It is more common in people between the ages of 30 and 60. Other risk factors for rosacea include:

  • Certain medications, such as some blood pressure medications.
  • Menopause
  • Fair skin
  • Sunlight

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