Rosacea is a chronic inflammatory condition that typically begins with flushing and blushing of the cheeks and nose, but can also affect the chin, forehead and even the ears, neck, chest and back. Rosacea can progress into persistent erythema (redness), papules, pustules and even cystic nodules. More advanced cases can progress into rhinophyma, in which the oil glands of the skin become enlarged making the nose larger and the cheeks puffy. Some patients may never present with papules, pustules or cystic nodules and may only deal with the difficult to treat persistent erythema and telangiectasias (tiny blood vessels). About 50% of patients have eye involvement also called “ocular rosacea”. This can cause dryness, burning and grittiness of the eyes.

Anyone can develop rosacea even children, but the most common patient type is the fair-skinned adult between the ages of 30 and 50. Patients who have rosacea need to be cautious of what they use on their skin since some products may worsen their condition. This is why it is important to see your dermatologist if you feel you may be developing rosacea. Treatment regimens are customized to each individual to stop the progression of the disease and education on avoidance of triggers is also important.

TIPS FOR THE ROSACEA PATIENT

  • Practice good sun protection. Seek shade, cover up and apply a daily sunscreen of SPF 30 or higher. Remember to reapply every 90 minutes. Heat and sun exposure can definitely trigger a rosacea flare.
  • Avoid spicy food, hot drinks, caffeine and alcoholic beverages.
  • Avoid extreme temperatures. Exercise in a cool environment, do not overheat and protect your skin from the cold and wind.
  • Avoid abrasive scrubs. Utilize gentle cleansers and moisturizers. Do not rub or use irritating washcloths.
  • Avoid cosmetics and skin care products with alcohol or irritating ingredients. Fewer products are better and allow your dermatologist to tailor your skin care regimen.
  • Consider laser therapy for that persistent erythema and telangiectasias.

Keep a log of what triggers your rosacea by writing down what foods, products, activities, medications and other things that cause your rosacea to flare. Work together as a team with your dermatology provider.

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