When you are first diagnosed with rosacea, it is natural to have many questions about this chronic skin disorder. It commonly affects the facial area, and people with this condition blush readily and the redness does not quickly go away.
In some cases, the blood vessels near the outer skin will be visible and red bumps or pimples may appear. The skin of the nose thickens in severe cases and the eyes are often dry. There are four subtypes of this skin condition.
While there is no cure for rosacea, it can be managed. Understanding the disorder will help you to prevent outbreaks and keep it from getting worse. If you have been diagnosed with rosacea, or suspect that you have it, you probably are wondering how to best care for your skin. Here are 16 questions that you should ask your doctor to be better informed and more able to reduce its effects.
Q1: What Is The Difference Between Rosacea And Acne?
A1: Since some types of rosacea have pimples and bumps that are similar to acne, an accurate diagnosis is important. While acne generally occurs during the teenage years, rosacea often appears later in life. Acne outbreaks are linked to hair follicles, hormonal changes, and bacteria that is treatable with antibiotics. On the other hand, rosacea is linked to problems with the immune system and is best treated with anti-inflammatory medication.
Q2: What Has Caused My Rosacea?
A2: Unfortunately, the causes of rosacea are not well understood at this time. Recent research indicates that it is linked to an immune response.
Outbreaks may also occur due to factors such as sun damage to connective tissue within the skin, hair follicle irritation, skin mites, bacteria, and abnormalities.
In the blood vessels on the skin’s surface which cause them to dilate. Most doctors recommend that patients keep a diary of their daily activities to uncover what triggers their rosacea.
Q3: Can Someone Catch Rosacea From Me?
A3: There is no evidence that rosacea is an infectious disease. It is not spread by skin to skin contact or any other method. Even though antibiotics are used for treatment, the positive results are not attributed to their ability to kill bacteria. Instead, it is the anti-inflammatory effects of antibiotics that are thought to make them effective.
Q4: What Are The Symptoms And Signs Of Rosacea?
A4: The most common sign of rosacea is redness in the face. The small blood vessels within the skin enlarge and may become visible. In some cases, red bumps that look like acne appear which may or may not contain pus. Half of all people with rosacea report dryness in and around the eye, while a small percentage develop thick skin on the nose that makes the nose look bulbous.
Q5: What Will Trigger A Rosacea Outbreak?
A5: Some of the most common rosacea triggers are selected skin care products, hot drinks, overly hot baths, a heavy program of exercise, highly spiced foods, alcohol, wind, extreme weather, high levels of stress, and exposure to the sun.
It is vital that people with rosacea identify their personal triggers. Studies indicate that when these triggers are avoided, the number of flare-ups is dramatically reduced. Keep a diary to record your activities since it can sometimes take a few days before symptoms of rosacea appear.
Q6: Will Any Of My Medications Contribute To My Symptoms Of Rosacea?
A6: Some drugs can make the symptoms of rosacea worse. Common ones include vasodilators, drugs that make blood vessels larger. Both niacin and beta blockers cause increased blood flow to the face which may trigger an outbreak. In addition, the use of steroids is not advised except for short periods of time when applied topically. Patients should talk to their doctor about changing their prescription medications, if possible.
Q7: Should I Avoid Eating Or Drinking Certain Foods?
A7: Alcohol and very hot or very cold are common rosacea triggers. Hot spices such as cayenne and pepper will start a flareup. Monitor the foods that you eat because some people have reported problems after eating dairy products or citrus fruits. Consider reducing your consumption of these items, serving beverages that are cool or warm instead of cold or hot, and by substituting less spicy spices for the ones that trigger flare ups. In some cases, moderation works well.
Q8: What Kinds Of Personal Care Products Are Safe To Use On My Skin?
A8: Avoid skin care products made with witch hazel, alcohol, eucalyptus, fragrances, peppermint, and menthol. Choose products that are allergy tested and wash or apply makeup in a consistently gentle manner.
When it comes to cleansing or using cosmetics on your skin, less is more. Find a happy medium of the amounts of the product that you use so you will either get good coverage or clean skin without triggering a reaction.
Q9: Can I Use Cosmetics?
A9: Yes, you can use cosmetics with rosecea as long as you follow the suggestions listed above. In fact, applying just a little bit of makeup will cover many of the blemishes and other signs of rosacea quite effectively. Be sure to cleanse your skin each night so you don’t irritate the skin too much. In many cases, using cosmetics and good skin care in combination radically improves the complexion.
Q10: Will My Rosacea Get Worse If I Decide Not To Treat It?
A10: Rosacea seldom goes away on its own and it generally gets worse when it is not treated. People with mild cases may not need to do more than follow a good skin care regime. However, you should talk to your doctor to determine how severe your case is before deciding not to treat it. In severe cases, the skin of the nose thickens and some individuals develop difficulty breathing.
Q11: What Kind Of Treatment Options Do I Have?
A11: Every treatment for rosacea is aimed at reducing the signs and symptoms of this skin disorder. Your treatment plan should include good skin care and an awareness and avoidance of the triggers that signal an outbreak.
When none of these methods work to diminish the symptoms of rosacea, isotretinoin may be prescribed. Since dry eyes are a common symptom, liquid eye drops may be used and a visit to an eye doctor may be necessary. In order to reduce the size of blood vessels and alter the facial redness, laser treatment may be needed. Finally, because the physical effects of this skin disorder can affect the emotional state of a patient, psychological counselling may be recommended.
Q12: Does The Medication I Take For Rosacea Have Any Side Effects?
A12: Some individuals experience skin irritation after applying the gels or creams. A few are not safe for pregnant women or women who are considering becoming pregnant. All antibiotics come with side effects, so it is best to talk with your physician before you start to take them. Finally, isotretinoin, the drug of last resort has many serious side effects and is rarely prescribed.
Q13: Are There Any Home Remedies That Work?
A13: Because people with rosacea have such sensitive skin, many home remedies are too harsh to be effective and might even trigger a new outbreak. Some people find that green tea or a mild solution of vinegar is effective. Cleansing should be done twice each day to reduce the signs of rosacea. However, if these natural methods cause skin irritation, stop using them immediately.
Q14: How Often Should I Come In For Follow Up For My Rosacea Treatment?
A14: Many people are first diagnosed with rosacea after the age of 30. Their family doctor may choose to treat them or they may be referred to a dermatologist, depending upon how severe the case is.
After the initial diagnosis, expect to be in close contact with your doctor for follow up to determine if the chosen treatment plan is effective.
Once you have this skin condition well managed, you won’t need to go to the doctor as often. Keep in mind that the number and frequency of your visits will depend upon the severity of your condition and how well your skin is responding to treatment. You and your doctor should work out an individual plan for appointments and treatment.
Q15: Do I Have Other Options If This Treatment Does Not Work?
A15: There are many options available to treat rosacea, so you shouldn’t be upset if the first treatment plan does not work that well. Keep in mind that you may continue to have more frequent outbreaks as you learn what your personal triggers are.
Once you have eliminated those from your environment, you will be better able to manage your skin condition.
This process can take quite a long time and it is recommended that a diary be kept to speed recognition of potential situations that can cause a rosacea outbreak.
There are many creams and gels on the market, so if the initial plan to treat you with one of them fails, your doctor or dermatologist can prescribe a different cream.
When the rosacea is severe, there are a few different types of antibiotics available that have proven quite effective. Even if the over-the-counter medication that you are taking does not work for your dry eyes, your eye doctor can prescribe stronger drops that will help. There are many options available to treat this persistent, chronic skin condition.
Q16: If I Notice That My Rosacea Is Getting Worse, When Should I Call You For An Additional Appointment?
A16: It is important that you contact your doctor to schedule an appointment for follow up if you notice that your rosacea symptoms are getting worse.
It is possible that you may have an additional skin condition that is interfering with your attempts to control your rosacea. In some cases, people have been misdiagnosed, and if your condition is getting worse, it is time to review the case.
Keep in mind that how you live your life and the environment in which you live will affect the severity and frequency of your outbreaks. Before calling your doctor, check your diary to see if you have been subject to increased levels of stress, exposure to sunlight, or other triggers. If you are not sure, give your doctor a call and work out a plan of action.