In the first stage the face gets red. This redness sometimes merges into the normal variants of ruddy or blushy complexion types. It often persists after cold exposure or after exposure to irritants like soap. With time, small blood vessels develop making the redness more noticeable. Many patients will develop stinging or burning sensations and the skin will often feel tight. The skin feels like a mild sunburn with smiling, frowning, or squinting. Sometimes this progresses to the point that everything the patient puts on his or her face stings, burns, and irritates.
In the second stage of rosacea, the redness covers a larger area of the face. Slight swelling, pimples, and pustules develop. This is especially noticeable on the nose, mid-forehead, and chin. As the condition progresses, prominent facial pores can develop.
The third stage is characterized by swelling and growth of the nose and central facial areas. At times the ears may be involved as well. This can be very disfiguring. This stage is known as rhinophyma. Most patients do not progress to the third stage of rosacea.
What causes this facial rash?
The cause of rosacea is still unknown. It is stubborn and often the condition will last for years.
Foods or beverages that cause facial flushing, such as alcohol, spicy foods, hot soups, coffee, and tea, may make rosacea temporarily more noticeable.
Sunlight is a major trigger factor for rosacea and may be a cause of this condition.
Is rosacea treatable?
There are a number of treatments for rosacea that may help with your condition.
1. Antibiotics such as MetroGel, MetroCream and sulfur preparations applied to the skin one to two times a day work well for many people with rosacea.
2. Retin-A is an effective treatment and can decrease the number of small blood vessels.
3. Oral antibiotics are usually effective in controlling the condition, and can be used for people not helped by topical antibiotics. Tetracycline is the most common antibiotic used for treating rosacea.
4. Accutane is a drug taken by mouth which is reserved for severe rosacea. However, it has many side effects and if taken during pregnancy will cause birth defects. Patients taking the drugmust have periodic blood tests and checkups.
Note that treatment only controls rosacea. There is no cure for this condition. Most people with this condition need to continue applying Metrogel and Retin-A or taking antibiotics for months to years.
2. Topical vitamin C creams such as SkinC Skin Firming Cream will lessen the redness that is caused by rosacea. It should be applied once a day.
3. Use of sunscreen and avoidance of sunlight will help to prevent flares.
1. The red face caused by rosacea can often be improved with tunable dye laser treatments. This type of treatment is time consuming and expensive. It is also not covered by insurance.
2. Rhinophyma, the third, less common stage mentioned above marked by nose swelling and tissue overgrowth can be treated with the CO2 laser. This is often covered by insurance because it is so disfiguring.