Rosacea

Rosacea is a long-term (chronic) condition that affects the skin of the face (cheeks, nose, brow, and chin) and sometimes the eyes. Rosacea causes the blood vessels near the surface of the skin to enlarge, resulting in redness. This condition usually begins after age 30. It occurs most often in light-skinned women. Without treatment, rosacea tends to get worse over time. There is no cure for rosacea, but treatment can help control your symptoms.

CAUSES

The cause is unknown. It is thought that some people may inherit a tendency to develop rosacea. Certain triggers can make your rosacea worse, including:

  • Hot baths.

  • Exercise.

  • Sunlight.

  • Very hot or cold temperatures.

  • Hot or spicy foods and drinks.

  • Drinking alcohol.

  • Stress.

  • Taking blood pressure medicine.

  • Long-term use of topical steroids on the face.

SYMPTOMS

  • Redness of the face.

  • Red bumps or pimples on the face.

  • Red, enlarged nose (rhinophyma).

  • Blushing easily.

  • Red lines on the skin.

  • Irritated or burning feeling in the eyes.

  • Swollen eyelids.

DIAGNOSIS

Your caregiver can usually tell what is wrong by asking about your symptoms and performing a physical exam.

TREATMENT

Avoiding triggers is an important part of treatment. You will also need to see a skin specialist (dermatologist) who can develop a treatment plan for you. The goals of treatment are to control your condition and to improve the appearance of your skin. It may take several weeks or months of treatment before you notice an improvement in your skin. Even after your skin improves, you will likely need to continue treatment to prevent your rosacea from coming back. Treatment methods may include:

  • Using sunscreen or sunblock daily to protect the skin.

  • Antibiotic medicine, such as metronidazole, applied directly to the skin.

  • Antibiotics taken by mouth. This is usually prescribed if you have eye problems from your rosacea.

  • Laser surgery to improve the appearance of the skin. This surgery can reduce the appearance of red lines on the skin and can remove excess tissue from the nose to reduce its size.

HOME CARE INSTRUCTIONS

  • Avoid things that seem to trigger your flare-ups.

  • If you are given antibiotics, take them as directed. Finish them even if you start to feel better.

  • Use a gentle facial cleanser that does not contain alcohol.

  • You may use a mild facial moisturizer.

  • Use a sunscreen or sunblock with SPF 30 or greater.

  • Wear a green-tinted foundation powder to conceal redness, if needed. Choose cosmetics that are noncomedogenic. This means they do not block your pores.

  • If your eyelids are affected, apply warm compresses to the eyelids several times a day or as directed by your caregiver.

SEEK MEDICAL CARE IF:

  • Your skin problems get worse.

  • You feel depressed.

  • You lose your appetite.

  • You have trouble concentrating.

  • You have problems with your eyes.