Good Skin Care Essential for the Treatment of Rosacea
Rosacea is a chronic skin condition that causes inflammation appearing as redness of the face. There is no known cure, but dermatologists agree that good skin care and avoiding certain triggers, rosacea can be manageable.
Dr. Jenny J. Kim, MD PhD FAAD, a dermatologist who spoke at the recent 68th Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Dermatology, said “”Sometimes it is hard for patients dealing with…rosacea to understand why, even with ongoing treatment, they cannot get rid of their symptoms forever. I explain to them that [this] condition is similar to having any chronic disease. Just like insulin helps maintain a diabetic’s blood sugar, patients with…rosacea need to find a treatment regimen that works for them.”
Rosacea affects about 14 million people in the United States. It’s cause is not fully understood, but common triggers include sunlight, alcohol, spicy foods, caffeine, heat, citric acid, and stress.
Patients with rosacea should avoid cleansing products that make the redness worse. Use a mild soap that is made for sensitive skin. Use cool or room temperature water, as hot water can exacerbate the redness of the skin. Avoid products with witch hazel, fragrance, menthol, peppermint and eucalyptus oil.
For women, makeup should also be fragrance-free and allergy tested to reduce irritation. Test a product first on a small patch of skin to observe for a reaction.
Protection from the Elements
Patients with rosacea should avoid excess sun exposure and always wear sunscreen of at least 15 SPF when outdoors. Hot weather can also be a trigger for symptoms, so stay indoors during the heat of the summer if this is an issue.
Foods that trigger a flare-up for rosacea patients are individual and not the same for every patient. Most dermatologists recommend keeping a food and symptom diary to pinpoint foods and other environmental concerns that increase the redness and flushing in rosacea. Some patients find that drinking hot beverages, such as coffee or tea, or eating spicy foods can make the redness of the face worse. Alcohol has also been shown to worsen redness.
Some patients believe that taking certain vitamin or mineral supplements will help with rosacea symptoms. One mineral that has been studied because of its benefit in acne patients is zinc. A recent small trial found that a twice daily 220 milligram oral dose of zinc sulfate for 90 days did not benefit patients with moderate to severe rosacea any more than a placebo. However, another study conducted in July of 2006 found that it significantly improved those with the condition.
It is best not to take large doses of any single vitamin or herbal supplement in an attempt to cure rosacea or reduce symptoms without first discussing with a physician or dermatologist.
Common medications for rosacea include antibiotic creams or pills and Accutane (isotretinoin) or Retin-A (tretinoin) creams in more severe cases.
Dr. Kim discussed some up-and-coming medical treatments that may help those who suffer from rosacea. Some studies have found that the peptide cathelicidin within the skin may be processed differently in rosacea patients than in others which induces the inflammation. Further studies of cathelicidin may help scientists create better treatments. She also said that pulsed-dye laser treatments work well for broken blood vessels and intense-pulsed light treatments are effective in reducing redness and flushing. Topical treatments include metronidazole and azeleic acid.
Stress is a known trigger of inflammation and has many effects on all areas of the body, including the skin and face. Reducing stress using relaxation techniques, yoga, deep breathing, or other therapy can go a long way to keep rosacea under control. Exercise is a great stress reliever, but those with rosacea may want to avoid exercising outside during the heat of the day. Shorter, more frequent intervals to prevent overheating may also be helpful.