Rosacea is a skin condition that is most well known for the facial redness that it causes. Rosacea is surprisingly common, and there are millions of people in the USA alone that have undiagnosed rosacea. Mild rosacea is not harmful, but serious rosacea can be painful, embarrassing and even disfiguring. The good news is that once it is diagnosed, it is usually possible to manage the condition.
What is Rosacea
Rosacea is a skin condition that can affect the eyes, forehead, nose and cheeks. There are several things that are thought to make people more susceptible to rosacea, including the presence of certain varieties of intestinal flora, and the presence of demodex mites in the skin. These phenomenon cause blood vessels to widen, leading to redness and sometimes inflammation and damage to the skin and the associated blood vessels.
Who Gets Rosacea
It is most common in people from northwestern Europe, but can affect other nationalities. Women are more likely to develop the condition than men, but it does affect both genders and all age groups. Traditionally, rosacea is thought of as a condition that heavy drinkers develop, but many sufferers are teetotal, and some rosacea sufferers are able to drink alcohol without it worsening their symptoms. Rosacea does appear to be hereditary, but the triggers and management techniques differ between sufferers.
What Triggers Rosacea
Common rosacea triggers include exposure to extreme temperatures, strenuous exercise, sunburn, stress, temperature changes, and dietary triggers such as alcohol, spicy food, caffeine, and foods that contain histamines. The list of triggers is complicated by the fact that histamine intolerance can cause facial flushing that looks like a lot like rosacea, leading to misdiagnosis.
According to the National Rosacea society, sun exposure is the biggest trigger of rosacea, followed by emotional stress, hot weather, and wind. Dietary triggers are the least common triggers, with dairy products and certain vegetables triggering attacks in fewer than ten percent of the sufferers surveyed. Other triggers listed included reactions to medications, cosmetics and skin care products.
There are many different medications and treatments that can help with rosacea. If you are looking for non-medicinal products that can help treat your rosacea, choose treatments that contain caffeine or licorice. These natural treatments help to constrict the blood vessels in the face, reducing the amount of visible redness and decreasing inflammation. These treatments make the symptoms of rosacea attacks less severe and reduce the damage to your skin and the underlying blood vessels caused by the attack, but they do not actually treat the cause of the rosacea.
If your rosacea is mild, and occurs only occasionally, you can manage it using a foundation or a cream with a slight green tint. Again, this is simply a management tactic. The symptoms of the rosacea will be less noticeable, but the condition will not be cured.
To treat rosacea more aggressively, you will need to use real medication. There are several prescription medications that can help to get rid of rosacea. Antibiotics such as metronidazole are popular for managing rosacea. Some antibiotics, such as sodium sulfacetamide, are frequently combined with sunscreen to help to fight rosacea and other skin conditions.
The sunscreen helps combat UV light (a common rosacea trigger) while the antibiotics get rid of the infection that is causing the attack.
In situations where antibiotics are contraindicated, anti-inflammatory treatments are used. Pimecrolimus and tacrolimus are the creams of choice, because they reduce inflammation but are non-steroidal. Many people find that steroid creams, such as hydrocortisone, worsen rosacea.
Can Hydrocortisone Help With Rosacea?
Hydrocortisone is a steroidal cream, and this means that while it does reduce inflammation, it also thins the skin. Inflammation is a serious side effect of rosacea, and some doctors do advocate the use of steroid creams to treat the inflammation and associated discomfort. However, prolonged use of hydrocortisone thins the skin, making the blood vessels more visible, which is never a good thing for a rosacea sufferer.
So, the answer to the question ‘can hydrocortisone help with rosacea’ is that yes, in some circumstances it can, but it should not be your first choice as an anti-rosacea treatment. Hydrocortisone should only be used to treat inflammation if all other treatment options have been exhausted.
Non-Medicinal Ways of Managing Rosacea
The best way to manage mild rosacea is to keep a rosacea diary. Keep track of how often you get attacks, and everything you did that day. Triggers can be unusual things such as going from a hot room to a cold room, taking a hot shower, or even eating citrus fruits. Once you have figured out what triggers your condition, you can try to avoid those things.
If you feel that your rosacea is unmanageable, and you do not want to have to worry about using creams and gels for the rest of your life, why not consider getting laser treatment? Lasers can be used to break down the blood vessels in your cheeks or on your nose, reducing the redness.
Laser treatment does not last forever, because the body can grow new blood vessels, but it does last for many years, and there is always the possibility that the new blood vessels that grow back will not be as susceptible to causing flushing and discomfort. For those with serious rosacea, laser treatment can be an incredibly liberating choice.