Rosacea is a chronic skin condition involving inflammation of the cheeks, nose, chin, forehead, or eyelids. It may appear as redness, prominent spider-like blood vessels, swelling, or skin eruptions similar to acne.
Although the cause of rosacea is unknown, you are more likely to develop this harmless skin condition if:
Your physician can usually diagnose rosacea with a thorough medical history and physical exam.
There is no known cure for rosacea. The goal is to identify and avoid possible triggers, and thus reduce flare-ups. By keeping a symptom diary to identify the specific triggers you may have, you may be able to see a pattern of what makes your rosacea worse. Use this information to avoid future flare-ups.
Here are some steps that may help:
Triggers vary from person to person. Other triggers may include wind, hot baths, cold weather, specific skin products, exercise, or other factors.
Antibiotics taken by mouth (such as tetracycline, minocycline, or doxycycline) or applied to the skin (such as metronidazole) may control skin eruptions. Other medications (isoretinol or Accutane), which are similar to vitamin A, are stronger alternatives that your doctor or dermatologist might consider. Rosacea is not acne and will not improve with over-the-counter acne treatment.
In severe cases, laser surgery may help reduce the redness. Surgical reduction of enlarged nose tissue may also improve your appearance, if you so choose.
Rosacea is not medically dangerous. It is not curable, but can usually be controlled with treatment. It may be persistent and chronic.
Habif TP. Acne, rosacea, and related disorders. In: Habif TP, ed. Clinical Dermatology. 5th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Mosby Elsevier; 2009:chap 7.
Goldgar C, Keahey DJ, Houchins J. Treatment Options for Acne Rosacea. Am Fam Phys. 2009 Sep;80(5).
van Zuuren EJ, et al. Systematic review of rosacea treatments. J Am Acad Dermatol. 2007:56(1):107-115
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