Rosacea: Prevention, Causes and Treatments

Rosacea is a skin condition that is commonly seen that causes redness of the face. Many times it is referred to as acne rosacea. It will often produce small bumps on the skin that can be filled with pus that are red. It can effect anyone, but if left untreated, it will get worse as time goes on. Rosacea commonly effects woman who are middle aged and have fair skin. Those who are of Irish, English, or Scottish descent are more likely to develop Rosacea. It is not considered to be contagious or infectious.

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Approximately 3 million people alone in Australia, and 45 million worldwide have Rosacea. Generally it effects adults, ages 30-60. Generally speaking, individuals who suffer from Rosacea will not outgrow it.

What are the symptoms of Rosacea?

Rosacea has periods of flare ups. It may be mistaken for a sunburn, acne, and rosy cheeks. Symptoms of Rosacea include frequent flushing of the face. Most of the redness will be concentrated on the center of the face, such as the nose, cheeks, forehead, and chin. There is a possibility of a burning feeling, as well as some slight swelling. The eyes and eyelids could become inflamed, and the nose could be swollen. In males, the nose could become red, large, and bumpy. The skin is often thicker on individuals who suffer from this skin condition. There are constant bumps on the skin with the redness. The bumps may or may not have pus in them. Many times solid bumps on the skin will become painful to the individual. There could be small, red lines under the skin that are seen when the blood vessels under the skin become large. This area of the skin can feel warm and look swollen.

What causes Rosacea?

No one knows the exact cause of Rosacea. Blood vessels could possibly expand too easily, which will cause an individual to flush. Rosacea could possibly be inherited. Other factors that may possibly cause Rosacea include heat that is excessive, heavy exercise, hot baths, sunlight, drinking alcohol, menopause, winds, very cold temperatures, emotional stress, long term use of steroids on the face, and hot or spicy foods.

How is Rosacea diagnosed?

Rosacea can be diagnosed by the symptoms and the appearance of the skin. Many times it is under diagnosed. A skin specislist will be able to determine if an individual has Rosacea. In some cases, a skin biopsy can help determine if an individual has this skin condition. The skin biopsy will be done by scraping the skin, which can help to rule out other skin conditions, such as seasonal allergies, eczema, staph infections, a medication reaction, impetigo, and herpes simplex.

Are there any risks to living with Rosacea?

Rosacea can effect the eyes, although not everyone who has Rosacea will have the eyes effected. Half of individuals with Rosacea report dry eyes, burning, and irritation. Light sensitivity and redness of the eyelids may also be experienced. If eye problems with Rosacea is left untreated, it could cause complications that are serious, such as damaging the cornea. If Rosacea does effect the eyes, an ophthalmologist will need to be seen to treat the eyes.

Is there a cure for Rosacea?

While there is not a cure for Rosacea, there are many things that can be done to help treat it. It is easily controlled and managed. A skin specialist may prescribe antibiotics that come in either cream, gel or lotion forms, as well as pills. These antibiotics are effective for short term use, but could have side effects. These antibiotics for Rosacea will help inflammation.

Another treatment used is acne drugs. It can help to clear up acne that can be caused during Rosacea. Some of these drugs should not be used while pregnant, as they may cause birth defects.

A treatment our skin specialists can perform in the comfort of our clinic is photo-rejuvenation, also known as IPL photo-rejuvenation. This skin treatment utilises lasers, photo dynamic therapy, or intense pulsed light. Prior to the procedure, eye pads or glasses will be placed over the eyes to protect them. A cooling gel is placed on the skin. A hand held device is moved over the skin, which will emit the light. The light will break down superficial blood vessels. After the treatment, the cooling gel is wiped off the skin, and a moisturiser will be applied. There is very little pain felt, with many individuals reporting it feels like a rubber band is snapping the skin lightly. Within the first treatment, most individuals report feeling the most pain, and with each session the discomfort level will be improved. A series of 3 -5 treatments will be needed for optimal results, performed once every 3-6 weeks. A single treatment will take anywhere from half an hour to an hour and a half, depending on how large the treatment area is.

After the treatment, there may be some minor swelling. Ice packs can help to control the swelling.

What are the benefits of photo-rejuvenation for Rosacea?

There are many benefits of utilising the photo-rejuvenation treatment. The most significant one is no downtime is needed for the procedure. The treatments are 100% non-invasive with very low risks. Results seen from photo-rejuvenation are gradual, and the treatment is customised to fit specific skin concerns.

Are there any risks of photo-rejuvenation when treating Rosacea?

As with most procedures, there is always the risk of unwanted side effects. However, photo-rejuvenation has only mild risks. These include mild temporary swelling, small blistering, and an occasional bruise. Mild redness may also be a side effect. In order to protect yourself, always make sure that anyone performing the procedure has experience in laser treatments. At Advanced Dermatology in Sydney all our treatments are performed by experienced and extensively trained skin specialists.

What can an individual do if they have Rosacea?

Should an individual suffer from Rosacea, they should only wash the skin with a mild cleanser. The skin should be babied, without scrubbing or rubbing it too hard. Sunscreen of SPF 30 or higher should be worn at all times. Protect the face in cold weather with a scarf. Make sure any product used on the face does not contain any alcohol. Makeup can used to help with Rosacea. Look for green tinted foundations and powders to help counteract any redness.

Is there anything that should be avoided with Rosacea?

Flushing of the skin may be caused by spicy foods, cigarettes, alcohol and hot drinks. These should be avoided at all costs. Exposure to sunlight and extreme hot and cold temperatures should also be avoided. Foods may also be a trigger for Rosacea. These foods often include dairy products, some beans, such as Lima and navy beans, peas, soy sauce, chocolate, tomatoes, citrus fruits, spinach, avocado, yeast extract, and eggplants. It is best to keep a food diary to determine what foods can cause a flare up.

On the contrary, there are foods that help with Rosacea flare ups. These include non-dairy cheeses, thermally cooler meals, cold drinks, and drinks without alcohol.

Triggers found in skin care products include alcohol, clove oil, peppermint, witch hazel, menthol, salicylic acid, eucalyptus oil and fragrances.

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10 replies
  1. Beth
    Beth says:

    My suffering with Rosacea has been going on for many years now. I have found that I control it well with the food that I eat and how I protect my skin. I stay away from all spicy foods, so when my friends hit up a Thai restaurant, I opt for something that is not spicy or have a burger. I do not drink any alcohol in excess. I might enjoy a glass of wine here or there. And when I go outside in the winter, I make sure that a scarf is up and around my mouth, and my hat is pulled down as far as it can go over my forehead. And I apply an SPF of at least 50 each and every day. No excuses. This has allowed me to have far less flare ups. I have also come to terms with the fact that Rosacea will always be a part of my life, and I no longer let it bother me.

  2. Theo
    Theo says:

    I am a 46 year old male who suffers with rosacea. This long term skin care issue has effected my life greatly. Self-treatment did not work well for me and I only aggravated the skin. I will say that when I watch my diet my rosacea is a lot better. I limit the number of alcoholic drinks I have in a week, as well as how much dairy I am allowed each day. I stay away from the spicy foods as well. I have just learned to live with it. I know that it makes me look awful when it flares up, but I figured that it could be worse than it is. I have not been to the doctor for it yet, as I just feel odd being a man going to a dermatologist.

  3. sally h.
    sally h. says:

    Over the years I had so many flare ups but have learned how to control them. I always pay attention to my skin and let it help guide me. I never scrub at it and only use the most gentle cleanser. I only wash twice a day and use lukewarm water. I would have to say that I treat my face like that of a baby. I protect my face when I am outdoors by applying sunscreen and wearing a wide brimmed hat and sunglasses. Plus I avoid the sun during the peak hours of the day when it is the hottest. I used to enjoy hot black tea every morning, but have since switched to warm green tea, as there is not the caffeine in green tea like there is in the black tea. Two years ago I went to my dermatologist and had the photo-rejuvenation done. I feel like a new found woman again. The treatment was easy to do, and only felt like small snaps to my skin. I had a series of 4 done, and my skin greatly improved. My treatments were spread out 6 weeks at a time. It was the best $1400 I have ever spent! My dermatologist took the time to answer all my questions and was great at explaining when she was moving the hand piece over my face. I would say that this treatment is great for anyone that suffers from Rosacea. It worked for me well and I am sure that it could work for you too.

  4. Shay
    Shay says:

    This skin condition has prevented me from social get togethers because I am so embarrassed with it. I’m suffering with facial swelling and rosacea. Others know that it is not contagious but yet some do not even want to be near me. I do not feel pretty at all! And it makes me feel bad about myself. Not only is my face swollen, it itches as well. And I have dry skin, so that makes my face look even worse. I feel like an alien. I want so badly to be able to have normal skin. Those of you with normal skin do not even know how lucky you are. I have never heard of the photo-rejuvenation before but I wonder if it can work for me. Can you have the treatment done if the face is swollen? Or when one is in the middle of a flare up? Because it seems to me that I am always in the middle of a flare up, as my face does not get much of a chance to ever be normal. I just long to have normal skin that is not red, itchy, swollen or dry. Having all 4 of these conditions makes it very hard for me to live a normal life.

  5. Liv
    Liv says:

    Please help me determine if I really have Rosacea. Is Rosacea symmetrical? My face looks the exact same on each side and I wondered if that was common. Also, can I have Rosacea if I have extremely oily skin? Or is there a certain skin type that Rosacea only occurs with? And finally, I really like to run and exercise. Will exercising cause my Rosacea to flare up since it will make me hot? If so, is there anything I can do or apply to make it not flare up?

  6. jam
    jam says:

    I have done photo-rejuvenation before and loved the results! Yes they are gradual, so when one looks at you, they will not be able to tell that you had any procedure done. And the results really do work well I feel. I did it for Rosacea as well. My skin is nowhere near what it once looked like. I am happy to say that I would recommend it to anyone suffering with Rosacea.

  7. connie c
    connie c says:

    I never knew that what one ate could affect Rosacea. No wonder I have so many flare ups. I love Mexican food. The hotter and spicier the better to me! I eat it at least twice a week. I guess that would totally explain why my face is always red. I will have to re-evaluate my diet. Or ask my dermatologist what can be done about this. I really love Mexican foods and do not want to have to give them up!

  8. elsy
    elsy says:

    For the past 5 years, I have suffered from Rosacea. At first, I thought that I had windburn. Now, I am flushed a great deal of the time and I hate it. I would love to be able to do a treatment for it. I have tried moisturizing lotions that claim they are good for Rosacea but they just do not work on my face. The photo-rejuvenation process seems like it could be a good one for me. I am going to ask my dermatologist if he does this in his clinic. I wonder though, with this treatment, after I had the recommended numbers done, would I have to have maintenance treatments each year and if so, how often would they need to be done? It would be great if you can answer my enquiry.

  9. Pippa Allan
    Pippa Allan says:

    I have suffered from rosacea for a while now. My face is really red and it bothers me. I have been looking for a rosacea treatment for some time now. I like to really research these things, before I just jump into something, as I want not only to treat this skin condition, but also find a rosacea cure. I was surprised that there is not a cure for it though, which does sadden me. However, I did not realise that stress has such an impact on making rosacea worse. Which could explain why lately mine has been flaring up. I will be sure to try to keep my stress under control, as well as limit my alcohol. Looking forward to finding other ways that will make my rosacea less noticeable.

  10. Michelle
    Michelle says:

    I have had rosacea for about fourteen years now. Nothing gets rid of the redness and the bumps except antibiotics and I want nothing to do with that. I had tried a Tata Harper face oil and hated it. It made my rosacea worse.

    I now use (and only use) the Made from Earth Rosehip Hibiscus Serum. I didn’t notice much the night I put it on BUT the next day my skin looked clearer. LESS RED. The day after that my redness and skin bumps were almost non existent.

    Putting makeup on made me look ten years younger (I’m 37) and I didn’t even have to use concealer on what are normally terrible hereditary dark circles under my eyes.


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