Rosacea

Rosacea is a fairly common long-term, intermittent blushing in the face, often with inflammation and pimpling.

Description

Its cause isn’t known yet. It strikes women more often than men, but it tends to affect men worse. Fair-skinned people between 40 and 60 are the ones who get it most often. It is not contagious.


Treatment

There isn’t a cure for the blushing, but the inflammation can be managed. Untreated, the inflammation can sting quite a bit, and sometimes it can actually cause ophthalmic problems around the eyes. There’s also a bulbous nose syndrome related to rosacea, called rhinophyma. That can be treated too.

Generally speaking, topical treatments will bring down the swelling, though it may take some weeks. Ask your doctor which ones are best. Do not self-treat with cortisone cream, thinking this will reduce the swelling. Cortisone actually makes rosacea worse.

Oral antibiotics also help. This isn’t because there’s any infection. It’s because some kinds of antibiotics have an anti-inflammatory effect.

Sometimes there will be some unsightly surface blood vessels in rosacea. There is laser treatment to reduce these.

If the blushing or the pimpling really bother you, you can ask your doctor about ‘beta-blockers’ or isotretinoin.

Things you can do yourself include staying out of the sun, being gentle when you wash your face (avoiding soap when you can), and using a moisturiser, preferably the unperfumed variety.

Also be aware that rosacea is sensitive to hot and cold temperatures, hot drinks, spicy food, exercise, alcohol, and stress.

Prognosis

There isn’t a cure for the blushing, but the inflammation can be managed by treatment as described above.

Questions about your skin? Ask our dermatologists online for $35.