Excellent skin health begins with a working knowledge of your skin and the ability to recognize what is and isn’t normal. At Dermatology Associates of Atlanta, our goal is to go beyond providing the best skin care from head to toe by educating our patients and others in the Atlanta area about their skin. This is the aim of our Skin Condition of the Month blog series.
This month, we’re bringing you a thorough look at one of the most common yet often overlooked skin conditions: rosacea.
What Is Rosacea?
Rosacea is a chronic skin condition that causes blood vessels in your face to dilate excessively. This leads to frequent and persistent facial redness which can also include inflammation, facial spider veins, and acne-like bumps. These symptoms usually appear on the central face including your cheeks, nose, chin, and forehead, but they can expand to your ears and neck over time.
There are four types of rosacea, each with slightly different symptoms and severity levels:
- Type I or vascular rosacea, which primarily causes redness in the central face, and potentially stinging and burning sensations
- Type II or inflammatory rosacea, which causes inflammation and redness as well as acne-like pimples
- Type III or late rosacea, which causes redness and inflammation as well as thicker, ruddy skin, especially on the nose
- Type IV or ocular rosacea, which involves watery, bloodshot eyes that are also often dry and more sensitive to light
What Causes Rosacea and Rosacea Symptoms?
Medical researchers are still investigating what causes rosacea. We know that it has a genetic link but it isn’t known why some people in a particular family will get rosacea and others won’t.
Rosacea symptoms are a bit more understood. The symptoms tend to rise and fall, with flare-ups that are usually triggered by certain environmental factors. Each person has different triggers that spark their rosacea symptoms, but the most common triggers include:
- Sun exposure
- Spicy foods
- Hot beverages
- Alcoholic drinks, especially red wine
- Severe temperatures
- Harsh skin care products
- Strenuous exercise
What Are the Treatments for Rosacea?
As a chronic condition, rosacea cannot be cured. There are effective treatments, though, that can manage and minimize your symptoms. Only an experienced, skilled medical professional like a board-certified dermatologist or a physician assistant specializing in dermatology should create a rosacea treatment plan.
One of the most effective treatments for rosacea is laser therapy. Laser treatments with the Vbeam® Prima or intense pulsed light (IPL) lasers treat rosacea by non-invasively collapsing excess blood vessels under your skin. Your body naturally removes these blood vessels so you experience less facial redness and other symptoms. In cases of late rosacea, CO2 lasers can also reduce thickened skin.
Antibiotics or certain diuretics are often used to treat rosacea too. Depending on your rosacea and your specific needs, topical or oral antibiotics can reduce inflammation and kill bacteria on your skin that is contributing to your symptoms. Specific oral diuretics can also reduce inflammation and diminish acne breakouts.
Along with medical rosacea treatments, it’s important to minimize your symptoms by managing your triggers. Observe your flare-ups to identify your rosacea triggers and find ways to reduce your exposure to those triggers. This could include wearing hats and sunscreen to protect your skin from the sun, choosing white wine over red wine, trading hot coffee for iced coffee, using skin care products for sensitive skin, and avoiding harsh skin care products with salicylic or glycolic acid, and so on.
Expert Rosacea Care at Dermatology Associates of Atlanta
If you believe you may have rosacea or if you have been diagnosed but aren’t getting effective treatment, our medical team is here to help. Call Dermatology Associates of Atlanta today to schedule an appointment with one of our knowledgeable, experienced providers so we can put you on the best treatment plan to help your rosacea. Follow us on Facebook and Instagram for more skin health tips and our future skin conditions of the month.