Rosacea (pronounced roh-ZAY-sha) is a common skin problem affecting millions of people. It can affect both men and women and is more common in people with fair skin. It is a chronic condition which means that it has no cure, though there are many treatments which are effective in controlling the symptoms of rosacea.
People with rosacea often have a tendency to flush or blush easily. Some may have permanent redness (erythema) of the face with small visible blood vessels or telangiectasias. Red bumps or pus-filled bumps are common especially across the cheeks and nose and sometimes appearing on the forehead or chin. Burning or itching may be present, especially when flushing is worse. Eyes may be affected in ocular rosacea and become red, dry and irritated. Skin of the face can become thickened or bumpy especially on the nose. This can cause nose enlargement or rhinophyma. This is more commonly seen in older men whose rosacea has not been well-controlled.
Many triggers can cause people to flush or have flares of their rosacea. These triggers can include red wine, hot drinks and various foods such as spicy food, hard cheeses, chocolate and citrus fruits among others. Other triggers can be wind, extremes of heat and cold, stress, and inappropriate facial products. Not every person will be affected by each trigger.
Treatment options include topical medications such as metronidazole, azaleic acid and sulfa products. The most common oral medications are antibiotics such as tetracycline and doxycycline. For people with redness and visible blood vessels, intense pulsed light treatment or Fotofacial can be helpful in decreasing symptoms.
For additional information, The National Rosacea Society has website with the latest information on rosacea: www.rosacea.org