Options for Rosacea Treatment
Rosacea is an inflammatory condition of the skin of the face. It tends to arise in middle age, and is more common in women. It begins with persistent flushing across the cheeks, nose, forehead and chin, which can last for hours or days. In more advanced cases, papules and pustules develop. The skin feels tight and may sting. Left untreated, a thickening of the skin on the nose, called rhinophyma, can develop. Rosacea treatment options include both prescription and over-the-counter products, as well as lifestyle changes intended to reduce the frequency of flare-ups.
Is Rosacea Acne? Could It Be Treated as an Acne Problem?
Although rosacea can resemble acne, the pustules that characterize it are different and are not pimples, which result from clogged pores, as in acne vulgaris. Treatments for acne vulgaris should not be used to treat rosacea, because, besides not being effective, they are too harsh. Acne medications work by drying the skin, but the skin in rosacea is very sensitive and these drying ingredients will tend to make the condition worse. Unfortunately, many people have never heard of rosacea and continue to treat it as acne, with little success. This is one good reason that any similar skin condition should be evaluated by a dermatologist for a proper diagnosis and a rosacea treatment plan, if necessary.
How is Rosacea Diagnosed? What is The Root Cause?
The diagnosis of rosacea is made based on the characteristic appearance of the rash. There is no laboratory test that can detect it. The root cause is unknown at this time. Some research has shown that a microscopic mite, which is called Demodex, is present in the skin of many people with rosacea, but it is unclear if it is the cause or if the skin of rosacea sufferers is just more hospitable to the mites. Other areas that are being investigated as possible causes are auto-immune disorders, circulatory factors, and the irritation of skin follicles. There are many products on the market which are targeted for treating rosacea. In addition, there is a lot of advice about different herbal and natural remedies that can be made at home. A physician should be consulted before any over-the-counter or home-made rosacea treatment is used.
Rosacea Treatment Options
Those who are newly diagnosed will most often be prescribed a topical cream or gel containing metronidazole and an oral antibiotic, usually tetracycline or erythromycin.
- Antibiotics are used even though rosacea is not caused by a bacterial infection, because they are effective at reducing inflammation. The oral antibiotic may be taken for as long as six months, but longer term use is not recommended.
- Besides metronidazole creams, other topicals such as azelaic acid, sodium sulfacetamide, and sulfur may be prescribed for the rosacea treatment. Topical ointments will continue to be used regularly for maintenance, even after the skin has cleared. In the most resistant cases, isotretinoin ointment may be used. This is a last resort because it is quite harsh on the skin and has some serious side effects. It must be used under the advice and supervision of a physician.
- Chemical peels are not generally recommended for rosacea, because they are so hard on the skin; however, in some cases, a mild peel, such as glycolic acid, may be used to some effect.
What is the Laser Treatment Used for in Rosacea Treatment?
Laser treatment is sometimes used to remove the visible blood vessels that can develop. Intense pulsed light technology is similar to laser technology, but it is less expensive and gentler on skin, so it has become a popular alternative to laser treatment. Photodynamic therapy is used to clear the papules and to reduce redness. Many patients will experience a worsening in redness and/or sensitivity following treatment. This is normal and is part of the skin’s healing process. Typically, within a few weeks, dramatic improvement will be seen.
Is Sun an Enemy of Rosacea Treatment?
Sun protection is important for those who suffer with rosacea, because heat, sun, and sweat can trigger flare-ups. Sensitive skin is also more susceptible to sunburn. It may take some trial-and-error for the patient to discover which sunscreen product is gentle enough so as not irritate the skin. Products made especially for rosacea sufferers, or those made for babies, are the best choices. A skin care regimen that protects and soothes skin should be implemented, using products that are gentle and supportive of the health of the skin’s cells. The more healthy skin is, the more resistant it will be to flare-ups. Proper hydration and oxygen supply are important, as is keeping the skin clean and free from build-up of dead cells.
The Best Formula to Treat Rosacea
The most successfulis a combination of factors including topical ointments, products which support skin’s overall health, and lifestyle changes to avoid triggers. Products like the Zenmed Rosacea Skin Support System®, which contain all-natural ingredients to calm skin, fight bacteria, and boost collagen production, can be used in place of, or in addition to, prescription treatments for a complete approach to healing the skin.