The Truth About Rosacea - and How to Deal With It

Author: Yodle
With his cheeks like roses and nose like a cherry, Santa Claus may have looked like a raging alcoholic. More likely than not, however, our favorite right jolly old elf suffered from rosacea.

This chronic yet largely benign facial skin condition is characterized by ruddy cheeks, pink scaly patches and broken blood vessels, along with small areas of acne and tiny pustules or groups of cysts. It is estimated to affect at least 14 million Americans, although many people don\'t even realize they have it, and can be difficult - but not impossible - to treat.

One man who suffered from rosacea, according to a health professional, was a professional wine merchant who often had to participate in wine-tastings with groups of potential buyers. With his red cheeks and bulbous 'grog blossom' nose, he usually appeared as if he had just sampled too many of his wares himself.

'He always had a bright red face, and told me it was very embarrassing for him when he was with clients as they assumed he was always drunk,' the health professional said, when recounting her patient\'s treatment. 'When we finally got his condition under control, his business as well as his self-esteem improved.'

Red, Red Rose of Rosacea
Rosacea is not a pleasant condition, although it has no serious health consequences unless you have ocular rosacea, which can affect the eyes and ultimately impair the vision. It mainly affects people with light skin who tend to blush or flush easily.

Flushing actually makes rosacea worse, as it causes facial blood vessels to dilate and become even bigger. Interestingly, rosacea affects more women than men, and while the most common body part affected is the face, some people get it only on their back or ears.

Often, people tend to confuse rosacea with acne, and the two do seem inter-connected (sometimes rosacea is called acne rosacea). Unlike acne, however, rosacea usually affects older adults aged 30-50, and they rarely outgrow it. Men with rosacea that goes untreated can in some cases also develop noticeable bumps on their nose. This is called rhinophyma and it\'s unclear why it is not common in women.

People who have rosacea also complain that they experience stinging and burning on the face more often than those without the condition, as well as an increased incidence of facial itching. Their skin can feel a lot dryer, and they can be very sensitive to certain moisturizers, soaps, make-up and other substances put on the face, especially those containing peppermint and eucalyptus.

Be aware, however, that the symptoms of rosacea vary from individual to individual, and you may have some or all of the symptoms. It is important to visit a qualified medical professional or dermatologist to make a correct diagnosis. Remember: seeing a dermatologist early is vital in stopping the progression of the condition, and making it a lot easier to treat.

Lessening the Incidence of Rosacea
Medical professionals usually treat rosacea with either oral or topical medications, usually in the form of antibiotics. Yet doctors have found that several ways exist to reduce the number of rosacea flare-ups an individual will encounter. They include:
Certain 'triggers' cause rosacea to flare up more in some people. Common triggers include alcohol, spicy food, hot drinks and the sun. Talk to your health professional to see if you together can help determine what triggers your rosacea, then avoid them - at least right before your wedding...
Specific skin care regimens can help calm down rosacea. Wash your face with lukewarm water and apply a mild, fragrance-free cleaning solution with the tips of your fingers, without scrubbing. Pat water gently from your skin and apply all facial medication under make-up or sunscreen. Only use sunscreen that has a UVF of 15 or above, without any artificial fragrances. Avoid astringents or any type of exfoliant as they can irritate the face.
Don\'t give in to the temptation to purchase make-up that claims to stop redness, unless it is specifically mentions rosacea. Often, this type of make-up makes the skin worse - and the result can be a face even redder than before!
A Harvard University study found that a high percentage of people with rosacea recalled having 'blistering sunburns' at some time in their life. Another reason to slap on the sun cream!
Some people have also reported having 'steroid-induced rosacea', or symptoms that mimic rosacea following topical steroid use.

Laser Treatment for Rosacea
Dermatologists and other health professionals have used lasers to treat rosacea for about the last 25 years in the United States. There are two main types: intense pulsed light lasers and pulsed dyed lasers. While their long-term safety and efficacy has not been established, the majority of patients saw a positive result after just one treatment.

Lasers work by both reducing the skin\'s redness and by heating up blood vessels to such a degree that they disintegrate. While in the past laser therapy often resulted in brusing which lasted for two weeks or more, the result of new technology means this has been minimized.

Other lasers, namely the Co2 laser and erbium:YAG laser, are used to treat the thickening of the skin which can result in patients who have suffered from rosacea long-term. Other techniques to treat this are also possible, such as dermabrasion or simply cutting off the excess flesh with a surgical scalpel designed expressly for this purpose.

Emotional Effects
If you don\'t suffer from rosacea yourself, you may not think it\'s a big deal. After all, Santa has had a long and fulfilling career, despite his rosacea, and has maintained an annual presence on the international scene despite - or indeed, because of - his ruddy looks.

Yet a study conducted by the National Rosacea Society found that on average, roughly 70 percent of people with the condition reported low self-esteem as a result, and that 40 percent avoided social situations because of their red faces. So if you suffer from rosacea, it may be time to see your dermatologist - before it gets any worse...

The information in the article is not intended to substitute for the medical expertise and advice of your health care provider. We encourage you to discuss any decisions about treatment or care with an appropriate medical professional.
Sarah Matthews is a writer for Yodle, a business directory and online advertising company. Find a <a href=''> plastic surgeon</a> or more <a href=''> plastic surgey </a> articles at Yodle Consumer Guide.
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About the Author
Sarah Matthews is a writer for Yodle, a business directory and online advertising company. Find a plastic surgeon or more plastic surgey articles at Yodle Consumer Guide.

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