By Dr. Cheryl Hull, dermatologist and owner of Hull Dermatology
Most of you have probably seen rosacea, whether you knew exactly what it was or not. It’s a common skin disease that frequently begins as a tendency to flush or blush easily. With time, rosacea progresses and develops into persistent redness in the center of the face. The redness is caused by tiny, unstable blood vessels that open easily. People with rosacea can also develop acne-like bumps that express clear fluid.
About 50% of rosacea patients develop symptoms involving the eyes that are often described as a burning, stinging, or gritty-type of sensation. Left untreated, this can lead to serious eye complications. In more advanced cases of rosacea, people, especially men, experience thickening of their nose by enlarged oil glands.
March has been named public awareness month by the National Rosacea Society, so it’s a good time to learn more about this condition, its prevention and how to treat it. Unfortunately, rosacea is a chronic condition, and several different factors can make it flare. To effectively treat rosacea, it’s important to have an individualized plan for each patient and to include advice on how to avoid the triggers.
Here are some tips I advise my patients on:
1. Practice good sun protection. Sun exposure seems to be the most common trigger. Seek shade when possible, limit exposure to sunlight, wear protective clothing, and use non-irritating broad-spectrum sunscreen with SPF of 30 or higher.
2. Avoid certain foods and drinks. Spicy foods, hot drinks, caffeine, and alcoholic beverages are common rosacea triggers.
3. Protect your skin from extreme hot and cold temperatures. These can exacerbate rosacea. Exercise in a cool environment. Don’t overheat. Protect your face from cold and wind with a non-irritating scarf or ski mask.
4. Avoid rubbing, scrubbing, or massaging your face.
5. Avoid cosmetics and skin care products that contain alcohol or other irritating substances. Use hair sprays properly, avoiding contact with facial skin.
6. Keep your skin care routine simple. Fewer products are better.
7. Note flushing episodes. The above are common triggers, but what causes rosacea to flare in one person may not trigger it in another.
In addition to advising patients on the above tips, there are prescription medications, both topicals and pills, that are prescribed for patients in combination with the above recommendations. These treatments are effective, but improvement can take time. To treat the broken blood vessels and persistent redness, we commonly use laser treatments.
For more info on rosacea or any other dermatology-related issue, contact Dr. Hull by calling her office at 479-254-9662. “Beauty Buzz” is sponsored by Hull Dermatology, with offices in Rogers, Bella Vista and at the Eureka Springs Hospital. Dr. Hull has published several scientific papers and has received numerous awards and honors for her work in dermatology. For more info, click here to visit the Hull Dermatology website.