Rosacea is a common concern for many people, but fortunately there are a lot of options available to address it.
What is rosacea?
Rosacea is a common condition characterized by the appearance of redness or flushing. This usually occurs in the central face (nose and cheeks) but can spread to the entire face and even the neck. There are often triggers for the redness. Everyone is different, but common triggers include heat exposure, drinking alcohol, eating spicy foods, being in the sun, exercise, and emotional stress. Other signs include pustules or bumps that may look like acne and broken capillaries. Another subtype is called phymatous rosacea where the skin on the nose gets thickened. Finally, you can also have ocular rosacea which affects the eyes. In this subtype the eye can get red and inflamed and you may have the feeling that there is sand in your eyes. Rosacea affects approximately 3-5% of all people with a slightly higher prevalence in women than in men. It also affects those with lighter skin more commonly than those with darker skin. It is most common in people 45-60 years of age.
How is rosacea treated?
There are many different treatments available for rosacea and usually a combination approach works best. The first thing to do is identify what your triggers are and avoid them as best as possible. When outdoors make sure you are using sunscreen every day. Dr. Alex recommends a sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30 with broad spectrum (or UVA and UBV) protection. Topical products than contain ingredients such as niacinamide, azelaic acid, metronidazole, ivermectin, sulfacetamide, and dapsone. Oral products such as doxycycline work to decrease the inflammation. Laser therapy is perhaps the most important. The Forever Young BBL IPL photofacial works well to decrease generalized redness and broken capillaries. This works even better when combined with a laser skin tightening treatment which uses gentle micro-pulses of infrared light to further treat the redness. Dr. Alex has designed this combination treatment called the Tight and Bright Rejuvenation. Dr. Alex recommends an initial series of six treatments done once a month. Topical products should be used during this time. After that Dr. Alex recommends one maintenance treatment every three months to keep the rosacea under control. For thickening of the skin on the nose Dr. Alex recommends the fractional CO2 laser treatment. This is an aggressive treatment with a longer recovery time and multiple treatments are needed, but it is the best treatment for the phymatous subtype of rosacea.