Rosacea is a skin condition that is easily recognized because of the facial redness, swelling and lesions that it causes. Both men and women can suffer from rosacea, and the condition usually appears for the first time in people between the ages of 30 and 50.
There are more than 45 million people in the world who suffer from rosacea to some degree, and around one third of those sufferers live in the United States.
If left untreated, rosacea can become very severe, and may even be disfiguring. The good news is that most people can manage their rosacea either by using creams and pills, or by making lifestyle changes to avoid flare-ups.
Common Rosacea Triggers
Rosacea can be triggered by environmental changes, diet, and stress. The most common causes of rosacea flare-ups include exposure to bright sunlight, extreme heat or cold (or even moving from a hot room to a cold room), eating spicy foods and drinking alcohol.
Some people find that eating foods that contain histamines can trigger their rosacea. Dairy products and spinach are common triggers, as are citrus fruits and chocolates. It is important to note that everybody is different, and a food that causes a flare up in one person could be a non-issue for another sufferer.
Rather than excluding every potential trigger from your diet it is a good idea to keep a flare-up diary, and log the food that you eat as well as the things you do and the places you go. Once you have figured out what affects your condition you can start to eliminate potential triggers from your diet.
If you notice that an attack is pending – perhaps because you ate something that contained a trigger ingredient without realising, or you are forced to spend time in a hot room unexpectedly,
you can reduce the severity of the attack by drinking lots of water, or by sucking on an ice cube.
Being hydrated and cooling your face down will stop the blood flowing to the capillaries in your face, helping to minimise the severity of your attack.
Creams To Treat Rosacea
The most common topical creams used to treat rosacea are metronidazole and azelaic acid. These creams are typically applied twice a day, every day, and it can take several months for them to take full effect.
In addition to these creams, there are some antibiotic creams that are used to manage severe rosacea.
In some cases, doctors will prescribe a combination therapy, with one kind of cream being used in the morning, and another at night. Most patients find that a combination of using these creams, along with avoiding common triggers, is sufficient to get their rosacea under control.
Oral antibiotics such as tetracycline, as well as doxycycline, some doses of minocycline and the traditional amoxicillin are often used to reduce inflammation and treat pimples in rosacea sufferers.
Antibiotics are typically prescribed as a last resort for rosacea sufferers, because of the risk inherent in the over-use of antibiotics.
Whenever antibiotics are deployed there is the risk of the bacteria they are being used to treat becoming antibiotic resistant. If your doctor gives you antibiotics, take them in accordance with his or her recommendations, and be sure to finish the course.
What Not To Use On Rosacea
One thing that many people ask when they go to their dermatologist or doctor is “can you use hydrocortisone cream on rosacea?” and the answer to this may surprise you.
It is common for doctors to prescribe hydrocortisone to people who suffer from red skin, lesions and bumps on their face, but usually those people have been (mis)diagnosed as suffering from acne.
Hydrocortisone creams are a topical steroid, and while this kind of steroid is very effective at treating acne, it is not good for treating rosacea.
Using steroid creams can increase the risk of rosacea flare-ups, and even if you are lucky and do not experience more flare ups when using topical steroids, prolonged use of desonide lotion or a cream containing hydroctortison can cause perioral dermatitis.
Other creams that you should not use to treat rosacea include tretinoin (also known as Retin-A), adapalene, or tazarotene. These creams are commonly used to treat acne, and can make rosacea worse.