About Rosacea

By: Maddy White and Bryce Utter

What is it?

Rosacea is a common disorder that mainly affects skin on the face. It causes redness on the nose, chin, cheeks, and forehead. Over time, the redness can become more intense, blood vessels may become visible. In some cases, rosacea appears on the chest, back, or neck. It can affect the eyes, causing them to feel irritated and to appear bloodshot or watery. People with rosacea can also develop red solid bumps and pus-filled pimples.

Symptoms and signs

Symptoms are facial flushing, blushing, skin redness, burning, red bumps and small cysts. The symptoms tend to come and go. The skin may be clear for weeks, months, or years and then erupt again. Rosacea tends to evolve in stages and typically causes inflammation of the skin of the face, particularly the forehead, cheeks, nose, and chin.

What doctor would you see?

A dermatologist will treat Rosacea. For ocular rosacea (rosacea of the eyes), treatment by an ophthalmologist may be recommended.

Treatment?

There are many treatment choices for rosacea depending on the severity and extent of symptoms. Available medical treatments include antibacterial washes, topical creams, antibiotic pills, lasers, pulsed-light therapies, photodynamic therapy, and isotretinoin. Mild rosacea may not necessarily require treatment if the individual is not bothered by the condition. More resistant situations may require a combination approach, using several of the treatments at the same time. A combination approach may include home care of washing with a prescription sulfa wash twice a day, applying an antibacterial cream morning and night, and taking an oral antibiotic for flares. A series of in-office laser, intense pulsed light, or photodynamic therapies may also be used in combination with the home regimen. It is advisable to seek a physician's care for the proper evaluation and treatment of rosacea.

Who does it affect?

Rosacea can affect all segments of the population. Many have observed that it typically begins any time after age 30 as a redness on the cheeks, nose, chin or forehead that may come and go. Individuals with fair skin who tend to flush or blush easily are believed to be at greatest risk. The disease is more frequently diagnosed in women, but more severe symptoms tend to be seen in men.

Prognosis?

Rosacea is a harmless condition, but it may cause you to be self-conscious or embarrassed. It cannot be cured, but may be controlled with treatment.