Acne and Rosacea Skin Care Treatment
The common skin disease acne mainly affects teenagers, who often suffer from skin breakouts as their bodies attempt to adjust to hormone surges. Rosacea is a skin disorder that's more common than acne and often worsens as people age. But according to the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD), the skin conditions look similar and can be mistaken for each other. The effective treatments also overlap significantly, the AAD says.
Acne is considered the most common skin condition in the United States, with up to 50 million teenage and young adult sufferers at any one time. Almost everyone gets a few pimples during the teenage years, according to the AAD. Although the exact cause isn't clear, hormone surges seem to play a large role in causing the oily skin that often precedes whiteheads, blackheads and pimples. Although most teenagers cope with acne by using over-the-counter skin care products with the effective ingredient benzoyl peroxide, dermatologists also offer an array of prescription medications and other treatments that have proven effective in fighting acne lesion outbreaks.
Rosacea affects about 14 million Americans, mostly between the ages of 30 and 50. Sufferers are more likely to have blond hair with blue eyes and light-colored skin, but the disorder also can affect children. Symptoms often start with a tendency to blush easily, and then evolve eventually to persistent redness, especially on the cheeks and nose, along with pimples and inflammation. Because rosacea causes pimples, it often is confused with acne. Untreated, the skin disorder sometimes causes a bulbous nose to develop, especially in men; the comedian W.C. Fields sported the classic bulbous nose of rosacea sufferers.
Types of Treatment
Acne and rosacea often are treated with the same prescription medications. If acne fails to respond to over-the-counter treatments, a dermatologist often will try prescription-strength benzoyl peroxide combined with an antimicrobial ingredient. These types of medications also are the first line of defense against the redness and breakouts associated with rosacea, according to the Mayo Clinic. Next, both acne and rosacea might be treated with prescription tretinoin, a type of vitamin A that's best known by its brand names, Renova and Retin-A. Physicians also may prescribe oral antibiotics, which fight bacteria in acne, and skin inflammation in rosacea, the Mayo Clinic says. In severe instances of both rosacea and acne, physicians may recommend oral isotretinoin, a powerful medication that works well but carries a long list of potential side effects.
Skin treatments also can be effective in treating both acne and rosacea, according to the AAD. Use of laser energy to treat acne is on the rise, the AAD says, in part because the procedure offers relief from messy twice-daily ointment application. In addition, lasers are popular among patients with rosacea because they do not lead to any body-wide side effects as some of the more powerful oral medications can do. Intense pulsed light therapy also has shown promise in treating both acne and rosacea, the AAD says. Further studies are needed, however, to determine the extent of benefits of these new treatments.
Because acne and rosacea can be mistaken for one another, it's important to get an accurate diagnosis to determine treatment, the AAD says. In a case of stubborn skin blemishes that don't seem to respond to over-the-counter medications, the AAD recommends consulting with a dermatologist. In addition, procedures such as lasers and intense pulsed light therapy still are considered experimental for both acne and rosacea treatment, and again, the AAD cautions that patients need to consult a dermatologist before deciding on any one treatment or procedure for their acne or rosacea.
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