Rosacea: Skin Blemishes & Redness on the Cheeks
Rosacea is a chronic inflammation of the skin that appears in adults. Persistent redness of the cheeks and facial breakouts are the first two stages of rosacea. In later stages of the disease, the skin of the face can become permanently thickened, the nose may enlarge, and even the eyes and vision can be affected.
The facial redness caused by rosacea is called erythematotelangiectatic rosacea and typically appears after the age of about 30, according to the National Rosacea Society. The first signs you may notice with rosacea are frequent episodes of flushing and a tendency to blush easily. The redness is intermittent at first, but eventually the face takes on a permanent ruddy hue. Quite often, the small blood vessels beneath the skin of the cheeks, chin and nose become visible.
As rosacea progresses, patients may develop blemishes and some swelling of affected areas. This is papulopustular rosacea, which causes bumps and pimples on the face in addition to redness. If the pimples are filled with pus, they are called pustules; if not, they are called papules. Because these pimples resemble acne, some call rosacea “adult acne,” but unlike acne, rosacea does not cause blackheads, notes the American Academy of Dermatology.
Rosacea tends to present itself intermittently, with occasional flare-ups and periods of remission. Women are affected more frequently than men, particularly around the time of menopause. Rosacea is chronic, meaning it is a long-term condition, and it is also progressive, causing patients to experience more severe symptoms as time goes on. By consulting a physician at the first sign of rosacea, you can manage your symptoms and keep the disease from worsening.
Although rosacea cannot be cured, there are many things you can do to avoid flare-ups, according to the Mayo Clinic. Protecting your skin from sun exposure by wearing a broad-spectrum sunscreen is one of the most important ways to avoid triggering rosacea symptoms. You should also protect your face from wind and cold weather and avoid getting overheated. Food and drink such as spicy dishes, hot beverages and alcohol can trigger flushing and should be avoided. Look for skin products that are gentle and free from harsh ingredients like alcohol. Avoid makeup products that contain oils.
If you have facial redness caused by rosacea, your doctor might begin your treatment with a sunscreen and a barrier-repair emollient lotion to calm the skin. An oral antibiotic also may help control redness. Topical medications with ingredients such as azelaic acid, metronidazole, sodium sulfacetamide and a retinoid can help reduce inflammation, although it may take several months of use before you see a marked improvement. Those who find the redness and visible blood vessels disfiguring may opt to have a physician perform laser or other light therapy treatment. The blemishes caused by rosacea respond well to treatment with either oral or topical antibiotics. Glycolic acid peels, washes and creams, used alone or in combination with antibiotics, are also effective in controlling bumps and lesions caused by rosacea, reports SkinCarePhysicians.com.
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