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Rosacea is a common skin disorder affecting both men and women, usually after the age of 30. Rosacea is often described as redness, flushing, facial burning and or pimples of the face that can persists over time. Women are more commonly affected, however men show more severe complications of the disorder.
Rosacea occurs more commonly in fair skinned patients, however it does occur in darker skinned individuals. It is even known to occur occasionally in children. The pimples seen are very similar to acne pimples common in teenagers. Patients may notice blood vessels on the skin’s surface, known as telangeictasias. Rosacea is sometimes referred to as adult acne. Without treatment the condition can worsen over time, the redness can become more prominent and the skin can grow thicker. In severe cases, the skin of the nose can thicken with visible bumps; this is known as rhinophyma. Though commonly seen on the central face, forehead and cheeks, Rosacea can also affect the ears, chest, back neck and scalp. Rosacea is also known to cause irritation, dryness, stinging, a gritty feeling in the eyes and redness. This condition called blepharitis can be seen in 50% of patients.
Rosacea is a chronic disorder for which the cause is unknown. It is important to know that rosacea can flare and worsen with different triggers including spicy foods, alcoholic drinks, sun exposure, wind, stress, and hot soups or drinks. It is best to avoid known triggers. Sun damage contributes to the disorder and wearing a broad spectrum sunscreen should be encouraged.Persistent redness of the central aspect of the face should include in the differential diagnosis Lupus Erythematosis, Dermatomyositis. Seborrheic dermatitis and Sarcoidosis. Your Dermatologist can rule out these other conditions by performing appropriate blood tests or performing a skin biopsy.
Although Rosacea has no cure, it can be controlled with various topical and oral medications depending on which of the symptoms you are experiencing. Oral and topical antibiotics are used to target inflammation, redness, and papules present. There are various topical medications used to constrict the blood vessels on the surface of the skin to decrease generalized redness of the face. While these products are very effective, unfortunately it is only temporary and would require daily application. Long term therapy is usually required to control this disorder. Gentle washing of the eyelids with a mild facial cleanser or baby shampoo daily can be helpful in treating the blepharitis.
In appropriate cases, lasers or intense pulsed light may also be recommended as a treatment option to decrease redness, visible blood vessels, and to reduce thickened skin about the nose. Applying makeup or concealer to mask the redness is also an option, although these should be used with caution as they may aggravate and worsen the condition if they are too occlusive.
As with any skin regimen, it is important to apply a daily sunscreen and contact your trusted dermatologist, who can tailor a treatment regimen specifically to your individual skin needs.
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