The National Rosacea Society found that rosacea affects over 16 million Americans. The worst affected populations reside in the Northeastern states of Maine, Rhode Island, New Hampshire and Connecticut with 10% of the states’ adult populations suffering from the skin disorder.
Similar to acne, rosacea is an inflammatory condition that commonly affects individuals with fair skin. Symptoms include red or pink facial skin, dilated blood vessels on the face, red bumps that can contain pus, cysts, flushing skin and possibly pink or red eyes, explained Stanley Kovak, M.D. of Kovak Dermatology & Laser Institute.
Treatments for rosacea are as varied as the patients themselves. Kovak notes the importance of providing several treatment options to the patient, including home-care as well as office visits.
“Some patients may require prescriptions to get their rosacea under control, while others may do perfectly well with diet improvements,” he said. “No option should be discounted because of prejudice since the patient and his or her rosacea is what really matters.”
Common treatments include:
- Skin cooling: Applying topical cooling products or a cold pack can reduce redness during a flair up.
- Soothing products: Some topical over-the-counter skin care products are formulated specifically for rosacea skin, such as Colorescience’s All Calm Clinical Redness Corrector SPF 50.
- Prescription drugs: Prescription medications such as Soolantra topical or Doxycycline oral capsules can help decrease inflammation as well as shrink the size of dilated blood vessels.
- Intense Pulsed Light (IPL) treatments: IPL treatments have been gaining popularity for their ability to treat a multitude of skin disorders, including rosacea.
“Many patients elect to undergo laser or IPL treatments as an alternative to prescriptions because of its ease of treatment and infrequency,” said Kovak. “Lasers and IPL treatments are a staple in the treatment of rosacea, but new drugs continually are being developed to diminish the signs and symptoms of rosacea.”
Home-care for Rosacea Sufferers
The key to soothing rosacea is finding the triggers that cause skin sensitivity and redness. A survey by the National Rosacea Society revealed that some of the most common rosacea triggers include sun exposure, emotional stress, hot or cold weather, wind, alcohol, spicy foods, heavy exercise, hot baths, heated beverages and certain skin care products. Additionally, some foods, medical conditions and cosmetics can also cause trigger rosacea.
“Some prescriptions can make the skin dry and worsen the appearance of the skin,” said Kovak. “Skin care regimens that are overly abrasive may be helpful to remove brown spots or improve the appearance of wrinkles actually can worsen the appearance of rosacea.”
For many patients, diet plays a large role in their rosacea. Following an anti-inflammatory diet or getting tested for food allergies, such as gluten, can make a big impact in lessening the symptoms of rosacea.