from the Winter 2002 issue
Q. Rosacea is a common skin complaint among dermatology patients. What is rosacea and who typically suffers from this disease?
A. Rosacea is a chronic condition of the skin on the face. A disease of adults, it most commonly affects individuals in their 30s and 40s, appearing as a flushing or subtle redness on the cheeks, chin, nose, or forehead. The typical patient has light skin rather than dark, and women are more often affected than men.
Q. What causes rosacea?
A. The causes are not clear. While some studies point to the existence of a mite on the skin, the reasons for rosacea remain a mystery. Hygiene is not a factor in the cause of rosacea. While there is no test to determine whether a patient is suffering from rosacea, a dermatologist often makes the diagnosis based on the condition of the skin and the description of the symptoms from the patient.
Q. What are common symptoms of rosacea?
A. Rosacea starts with frequent flushing or blushing, particularly on the cheeks. The flushed appearance generally lasts for a long period of time and mimics sunburn. There is sometimes a facial rash or redness, which can be accompanied by burning or stinging. Red pimple-like bumps may appear. And finally, pustules erupt on the face. Rosacea is not a dangerous disease, but it can be disfiguring.
Q. Many sufferers of rosacea are advised to avoid certain foods. Is this a valid suggestion?
A. Yes, some factors stimulate the condition and cause it to worsen. Rosacea is often aggravated by consumption of alcoholic beverages, caffeine, spicy foods, and hot drinks. While avoiding these foods may help control the severity of the condition, most people cannot control the problem with diet. It is also suggested that rosacea is aggravated by exposure to the sun and wind as well as changes in temperature.
Q. Can rosacea be cured?
A. Unfortunately, there is currently no known cure; but fortunately, the condition can be treated effectively, and there are procedures that can alleviate the redness. The treatment aims to control the redness and the pimple-like bumps and prevent progression of the disease. Many patients respond quickly to very easy treatments. We have a variety of treatments that we can use, ranging from topical products such as gels and washes to oral antibiotics. In addition, here at Suzanne Bruce and Associates, we are finding that our PhotoDerm® and laser treatments are effective in combating the redness. Our patients are so pleased when a treatment, such as the FotoFacial™, causes the redness to subside. After treatment, many women are finding that they are able to use less make-up to cover up the redness.
Q. Have you seen any treatments that offer a quick fix for rosacea?
A. No, nothing for the skin is going to be fast. When treating conditions of the skin, I advise my patients that it is going to take a while. With a mild case of rosacea, we can expect to see improvement in six to eight weeks. It takes the skin a month or so to renew itself, so the treatment will be reflected in that amount of time. With our FotoFacial procedure, it usually takes a series of treatments over several months to achieve the best results. I encourage my rosacea patients to get started with treatments as soon as possible. While it may take a while to get started, there are many available treatments. Rosacea is a condition that will often worsen if left untreated.