Rosacea (pronounced rose-AY-shah) is a condition that mostly affects the skin of the face - usually in the area where people blush. There are a number of symptoms, ranging from mild to more severe:
This can look like nothing more than a blush or a sunburn. It's caused by flushing (when a large amount of blood rushes to the blood vessels just under the skin, and the vessels expand to handle the flow). Over time, the redness does not go away.
As a result of continual flushing, the skin eventually becomes inflamed. Pimples may appear on the face. These pimples may be papules (small, red, and solic) or pustules (pus-filled, like some acne).
Broken or enlarged blood vessels:
Doctors call this telangiectasia (tell-an-jek-TAZE-yah). When people with rosacea flush, the small blood vessels of the face get larger. Eventually, they show through the skin. They may appear as spots or as thin, wavy lines.
Enlarged, bumpy nose:
This condition is called rhinophyma (ry-no-FY-muh). It is present in the more advanced stages of rosacea, especially in men. When rosacea isn't treated early, small, knobby bumps may gradually appear on the nose, giving it a swollen appearance.
How does rosacea start, and how does it progress?
The first sign of rosacea is usually rosy cheeks. As it progresses, the face may get red in patches and stay red for hours or days at a time. Eventually, the redness doesn't go away at all.
Beginning treatment usually consists of an oral anti-inflammatory drug and a topical medication. You may see results in the first few weeks. Although full results usually take up to 12 weeks. A study showed that nearly one-fourth of people who stopped using their rosacea medication after 3 months relapsed within the first few days. Sixty percent relapsed within the first 6 months. That's why this chronic condition requires ongoing control.
Topical medication - Your dermatologist will recommend the right care for your symptoms. One medication that may be prescribed for you is called MetroGel® 1%. Its once-daily application makes it easy to remember and the smooth gel formulation makes it easy to apply.
Follow a regular cleansing and medication routine, once a day or as prescribed by your doctor. This will make treatment easier and more successful. How you cleanse and moisturize your face are also important. Here are some simple steps to follow:
- Cleanse gently with a very mild cleanser. Avoid products that contain alcohol or other irritants. Dermatologists often recommend Cetaphil® Gentle Skin Cleanser, a non-soap cleanser available at most drugstores. It does an excellent job of cleaning without irritating.
- Medicate according to your dermatologist's instructions.
- Moisturize with a good-quality, "noncomedogenic" (meaning it won't clog pores) moisturizer as needed. If your treatment includes a topical medication, you can usually apply the moisturizer after the medication has dried. The Cetaphil® product line also includes a moisturizer, available in lotion and cream forms. It is specially designed for sensitive skin.
- Protect with a sunscreen of SPF 15 or higher, even on cloudy days. Look for a noncomedogenic product that does not contain alcohol. Cetaphil® Daily Facial Moisturizer with SPF 15 is an excellent choice.