the north face mens boots It may not be sunburn
The condition predominantly affects people aged 30 to 60 and those with fair skin.
Cause The exact cause of rosacea remains unknown.
‘Rosacea can come and go, but has been linked to a number of factors such as sun exposure. But some theories blame a microscopic mite that lives on everyone’s skin Demodex folliculorum.
This bacterium is found in greater amounts on the skin of sufferers, explains Dr Tabi Leslie, a consultant dermatologist.
The triggers for rosacea include as sun exposure, wind, alcohol, spicy food and extreme temperatures.
TreatmentThere is no cure for rosacea but early diagnosis and treatment can be very effective in minimizing symptoms and preventing the condition becoming worse.
‘Many people try to cure rosacea by using skin treatment products to cleanse and exfoliate, but this may exacerbate the condition, making it drier and flakier,’ advises Dr Leslie.
‘Topical creams, such as metronidazole gel and azelaic acid, reduce inflammation and can be effective. They work in mild to moderate rosacea patients.’The duration of an antibiotic course depends on your response and the drugs maybe prescribed as and when needed.
‘These usually take 8 weeks to work and their use would be reviewed again after 6 12 months, changing if necessary. A topical treatment often works well when combined with antibiotics.
‘Isotretinoin tablets are occasionally given for very severe rosacea and to stop the skin making as much oil which can help reduce the number of spots.’
The British Association of Dermatologists explains that the beta blocker, clonidine, can help reduce blushing if this is a big problem and a bulbous nose can be treated surgically.
Lasers, such as vascular lasers or intense pulsed light (IPL) treatments can be successful in reducing facial redness and dilated blood vessels as the heat damages the dilated veins, causing them to shrink so they are no longer visible, but with minimal damage to the tissue.
However, a referral to a dermatologist is required so you may need to pay for treatments.
PreventionDr Leslie says that other ways to help reduce the effects of rosacea include protecting your skin daily using a sun block with a minimum SPF factor of 30.
‘Sunlight is the main trigger, but the next big trigger for rosacea is stress. Combat this with a healthy diet,exercise and plenty of sleep,’ says Dr Leslie.
‘The key food and drink trigger for rosacea is alcohol (red wine and spirits), spicy food and caffeine. These dilate the blood vessels, so try to avoid them.
‘If you have rosacea it’s best to see a dermatologist as over the counter topical treatments which contain steroids mustn’t be used as they can make the symptoms worse.’
Self esteemRosacea is not dangerous to health but it can reduce the quality of life and damage self esteem, as Louis Smith discovered.
The 47 year old business executive, who has suffered with rosacea seven years, says: ‘It has, at times, caused me to postpone social engagements because my skin has looked so red and inflamed, making me feel self conscious and distracted.
‘I get angry rashes across my cheeks and nose that worsen overnight, turning into dark red spots. After six months of suffering I saw a dermatologist who immediately diagnosed rosacea.
‘It took a further three months to find out the exact triggers for my rosacea whisky, red wine, sun exposure, stress and spicy food and to find the right solution.
‘Now I use a multi pronged approach, which includes occasional use of metronidazole antibiotic cream and antibiotic pills. The antibiotic pills are really effective and within two days I have clear skin again.
‘It tends to flare up twice a year but if I know I’m going to eat, drink or do something that triggers it, I use the cream and take antibiotics in advance to help head it off quickly and this is effective. Now my rosacea is pretty much under control.’
Rosacea sufferers can also cover their red skin with special camouflage make up.
The charity, Changing Faces, offers a skin camouflage service, available nationally and free of charge. Your GP or dermatologist can refer you, as well as suggest skin camouflage make up.
Other people also read:What really works for rosacea: We look at the best ways to treat rosacea and limit its symptoms.
Medication for rosacea: The NetDoctor medical team answers a patient’s question about rosacea treatment.