Rosacea is a long-term condition, more common in middle-aged fair skin women. However, rosacea can present in men but their symptoms are usually worse. Rosacea usually presents with facial redness (blushing) and acne-like spots which may or may not contain pus. Currently, no cure had been found for rosacea but there are multiple treatment options available to keep the symptoms under control.
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There is no cure for rosacea out there but there are forms of treatments that can help control the symptoms. Rosacea can get worse if left untreated. A GP may suggest or prescribe:
- Topical creams or gels
- For mild rosacea, the doctor might prescribe you with brimonidine or oxymetazoline to be applied to your affected skin. These medications will reduce the redness of your face by causing the blood vessels to constrict. This, however, is temporary so the medication needs to be applied regularly.
- Other medications such as azelaic acid, metronidazole, and ivermectin can help control the pimples on your face. However, it does not help much with reducing the redness. These medications do not show noticeable improvements for 2 - 6 weeks or longer.
- Antibiotic course for 6 to 16 weeks
- Doxycycline may be prescribed to you by your doctor to help combat moderate to severe rosacea presenting with bumps and pimples.
- Oral acne drug:
- For severe rosacea, resistant to other forms of treatment, the doctor may prescribe you a powerful acne drug called isotretinoin. It also helps clear up acne-like lesions of rosacea. However, this drug is not to be used in pregnancy as it can result in birth defects.
- IPL (intense pulsed light) treatment:
- This shrinks the visible blood vessels without causing damage to the skin.
Your doctor might refer you to a specialist dermatologist if treatments fail to work.
There are practices you can adopt at home to help control the symptoms and prevent a flare-up. These include:
- Triggers: By identifying what triggers your rosacea, it can help you avoid them. Pay attention to anything that is linked to a flare-up, you will know to avoid them in the future.
- Potential triggers are:
- Spicy foods
- Hot drinks
- Aerobic exercise such as running
- Protection: It is important to apply suncream on your face daily. Suncreams which block both UV A and B rays should be used (broad spectrum suncream). It should be at least SPF 30 or higher. If using topical medication, apply the suncream after the medication and before any makeup. During hot weather, you can also wear a hat to protect your face and during winter a scarf or ski mask.
- Be gentle: Avoid being rough on your skin as it is sensitive. Try not to rub or touch your face. When washing your face, used a nonsoap cleaner and moisturizer. Do not use products containing alcohol.
- Makeup: Makeup is a good way to cover up the redness of the face. There are some makeup products and techniques that can reduce skin redness. Powder cosmetics with a green tone and matt finish is the best type of makeup to use.
It is important to keep rosacea symptoms under control and it can progress from mild to severe rosacea.
Long-term conditions affecting your appearance such as rosacea can result in psychological effects. It can affect the way you feel about yourself and the way you interact with others. Many with rosacea have reported feeling embarrassed, frustrated, and having low self-esteem. It might seem as all hope is lost as this is an incurable condition, however, it is important to note that rosacea is controllable. It is important to try the available treatment options and avoid any triggers you have noticed that are associated with your rosacea flare-ups. You may notice that as your physical symptoms your psychological symptoms may fade too and you’ll start feeling better about yourself. Know that you’re not alone and there are many others suffering from the same condition as you. There may be a local rosacea support group in your local area, try and find one to help you through this difficult time.
- Mayoclinic.org. (2019). Rosacea - Diagnosis and treatment - Mayo Clinic. [online] Available at: https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/rosacea/diagnosis-treatment/drc-20353820. [Accessed 5 May 2020].
- WebMD. (n.d.). Understanding Rosacea -- Diagnosis and Treatment. [online] Available at: https://www.webmd.com/skin-problems-and-treatments/understanding-rosacea-treatment [Accessed 5 May 2020].