Understanding Rosacea Treatment

Skin Conditions | May 29, 2014 | Author: The Super Pharmacist

skin, rosacea, differin, roacutane, tetracycline

Understanding Rosacea Treatment

Rosacea is a constantly recurring skin condition that millions of adults struggle with on a daily basis. Though the condition can affect people of all ages, it is most commonly developed around 30 to 60 years old. There are several subtypes of rosacea that have noticeable effects on the skin and eyes. One of the most troubling aspects of this skin condition is the amount of mystery surrounding its cause. After years of research, medical professionals are still trying to pinpoint what it is that leads to rosacea. Some claim that those who expose themselves to certain conditions and habits are more likely to develop it, while others claim that it is genetic and can be passed on by a parent. Rosacea is not at all contagious; direct skin contact and airborne bacteria will not transmit the condition to another person. The medicine used to treat rosacea targets inflammatory processes and bacterial components. If you know or suspect you may have rosacea, you should look into diagnosis and treatment immediately. There is no cure for the condition, but that doesn’t mean it has to dominate your social life. When treated correctly, you can be in control of your skin condition and feel confidence in your skin. If left untreated however, rosacea may spread and become more severe over time.

How Rosacea is Diagnosed?

It can be difficult at first for someone with developing rosacea to diagnose themselves with confidence. There are various primary symptoms, most of which happen slowly and randomly at first. Physicians look for some of the following primary symptoms when diagnosing rosacea:

Occasional Blushing A common indicator of the onset of rosacea is blushing, or as others call it flushing. Small areas near the cheek, nose, and forehead will randomly become red or pink looking.

Permanent Blushing The most frequently observed symptom of rosacea is a redness that refuses to go away. It takes on the look of a sunburn, much like blushing, but remains on the skin at all times. Rosacea acneAcne and Bumps Patches of tiny red or pink bumps may begin to form on the face or body. Breakouts may happen sporadically and look like a common acne breakout, usually with more itching and irritation. Bumps may or may not be filled with pus, like a typical pimple.

Irritated Eyes Ocular rosacea can develop on its own, or result from existing skin rosacea. Eyes may become dry and irritated for extended periods of time. They’ll look red, swollen, and have an itching and burning sensation at times. Vision becomes blurred, sensitive to light, and watery.

Thick Skin A surplus of tissue may lead to the thickening of the skin. It’s common to see this symptom, also known as rhinophyma, happen on the nose.

Rhinophyma tends to happen with males more than females. If you have signs of rosacea make sure to consult a physician before using any treatments. There are no tests that give concrete proof of the condition. It can only be diagnosed after your physician has analysed the symptoms, including frequency of episodes, stages, triggers and medical history.

Treatment Options

Lifestyle

There are many different ways to treat rosacea, but the most important actions taken are those at home and throughout your daily routine. What’s Your Flare Source? Rosacea happens in random bursts called flares. Each person’s skin might respond differently to certain conditions, giving them unique flare triggers. Try to stay mindful of the conditions you’re in when you experience flare ups. Here are some common flare sources:

  • Extended periods in direct sunlight
  • Particular types of food and drink
  • Consuming alcohol
  • Intense exercise
  • Menopause
  • High winds and cold temperatures
  • Heavy periods of stress and anxiety

Try to avoid too much exposure to a flare source if possible. You can also find ways around them like using sunscreen when you spend time in the sun, and making sure you dress appropriately for the weather. It’s also advised that you keep your skin well moisturised throughout the day using a good quality moisturiser, applied especially after showering.

Medications

There are also many medicinal solutions that can assist in the treatment of rosacea symptoms. If you’ve tried changing your habits with the tips mentioned above, but have not yielded the healing you need, you can turn to these medical treatments.

Topical Antibiotics

Antibiotics can be used to reduce bacterial presence in the outer layers of the skin. This effect, for some people can reduce inflammation, redness and pimples that appear with rosacea. The most common topical antibiotic, metronidazole, inhibits the replication of bacteria associated with rosacea reducing inflammation in those areas. Topical antibiotics have shown to improve the condition within 3-4 months, and reduce relapses by 19%. These are typically prescribed for mild rosacea cases in a gel or cream form, and should be directly applied to the skin.

Oral Antibiotics

Oral antibiotics are prescribed if rosacea is severe, if it does not respond to topical antibiotic treatments, or if it stops responding to those treatments. These may be used solely, or in addition to topical treatments. Studies have found that tetracycline antibiotic treatment has both antibacterial properties and anti-inflammatory properties. This class of antibiotics has been shown to slow the function of specific chemicals in the body responsible for tissue remodeling, such as matrix metalloproteinase (MMP). By blocking or reducing the function of these chemicals, it is thought that these medications can alter the process associated with rosacea and other related conditions providing a reduction in symptoms and outbreaks. These recent revelations have prompted development of rationally designed medications that target these processes. On the contrary, some suggest that the ingested antibiotics will eliminate the bacteria in the pores of the skin in order to reduce breakouts. It is recommended to use larger dosages initially in order to gain control over the bacteria, then reducing, ceasing or transitioning to alternative treatment such as topical antibiotics. Although the exact way that antibiotics work for rosacea is unclear, symptoms generally improve over 4 weeks of treatment, and continue to improve further after 8 weeks.

Isotretinoin

This synthetic retinoid is made from vitamin A and is known to be able to reduce the sebaceous gland size, reduce the production of sebum and act as an anti-inflammatory. Due to these effects, it is often used for the treatment of severe acne. Physicians commonly prescribe this for rosacea when other treatments have been unsuccessful and lower the dose. Medical studies revealed that the majority of patients had long term success avoiding serious rosacea relapses with the continued use of isotretinoin over a 4 to 6 month period of time. This treatment process involves the expected side effects of dry skin, chapped lips and dry eyes. These unwanted effects can cause some people to cease using the medication to obtain relief. As this medicine is a known teratogen, causing harm to embryo during pregnancy, it should not be used during pregnancy or when planning pregnancy.

Azelaic Acid (Gel)

Azelaic Acid is a material produced by yeast on normal skin. It is known to have the effects of reducing bacteria within hair follicles and returning any disorderly growth of follicle skin cells back to normal. It also helps to reduce inflammation by controlling free radicals. Azelaic acid is the active ingredient in a gel that is used in the treatment of rosacea to control acne manifestations. It takes 4 weeks to show improvements in the symptoms, although it is not known whether the antibacterial or anti-inflammatory properties are the reason for reducing symptoms. Recommended use should generally continue for 15 weeks. A study comparing metronidazole gel and Azelaic acid gel concluded Azelaic acid gel was superior in reducing the average number of lesions, decreasing inflammatory lesions, improving erythema severity, and a higher overall assessment of rosacea symptom improvement.

Eye Drops

Rede eyesOcular rosacea can irritate vision and cause inflammation of the eyes. Lubricating eye drops are known to provide simple and safe relief to people suffering from this type of rosacea. These drops can help relieve itching, dryness, and clear up red and swollen eyes.

Surgery

Some people that experience thickening of the skin turn to cosmetic surgery to have the excess removed. This method is most commonly used by people experiencing rhinophyma, the buildup of skin on the nose. Surgeries use heated scalpels, lasers, and carbon dioxide to thin the thickened red tissue from the nose. This is one of the most costly treatment options and is usually taken when all other methods have failed. There is a short recovery time associated with these surgical procedures.

Intense Pulsed Light (IPL)

The use of pulsing light can actually be quite beneficial to people with symptoms of rosacea. The practice is still in development but remains an effective choice among people looking for new alternatives to their skin problems. The laser technology used releases powerful waves of light to eliminate visible blood vessels. The energy in the light changes to heat, which is then absorbed into the areas affected by rosacea. The heat of the light is controlled to alleviate spider veins, also named telangiectasia, without damaging the surrounding skin. Light pulsing systems are now made to filter the output of specific wavelengths for the different areas of the body. The recommended usage of laser treatment is around 4 treatments every 5 weeks. This form of treatment is also well known for hair removal, vascular lesions, and pigmented lesions.

Prevention

The following lifestyle factors should be considered to make your rosacea easier to control:

  • Keep sunscreen with you when you travel, even if the weather is cold. UV rays are a major cause of flares so avoid prolonged sunlight if you’re without protection.
  • With its dry weather and frigid temperatures, winter is the worst time of the year for people with rosacea. Accessorising with a scarf can help protect your face from UV rays, high winds, and cold temperatures.
  • Don’t think that one application of moisturiser daily is sufficient. Using several coatings, especially before bed and after showering can improve the condition.
  • Stress is the silent killer of rosacea causes. Practice relaxation exercises like yoga, meditation, and simple naps to ease yourself during stressful times.
  • Choose your soaps wisely. Many body washes and shampoos contain harsh chemicals that will dry out your skin and worsen flares. Soap-free gentle cleansers are preferred using gentle application. Scrubbing the face with exfoliating washes can make the condition worse.
  • Spicy foods like chilli, cayenne, and paprika can encourage flares. Try alternatives like combining cumin with oregano to get your fix of spice without having a breakout.
  • If you drink hot beverages like coffee and tea try them chilled instead. Also, if they contain caffeine try to cut back since that also contributes to flares.

References:

  1. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/14623704
  2. http://dermnetnz.org/acne/rosacea.html
  3. http://www.medicinenet.com/rosacea/page5.htm
  4. http://www.webmd.com/skin-problems-and-treatments/antibiotics-for-rosacea
  5. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24428524
  6. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3175801/
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