Dr Ian Webster
Dr Ian Webster

Understanding Rosacea

Rosacea is a common relapsing condition that tends to occur more frequently in women with a fairer skin. It is often misdiagnosed as Acne and unfortunately is often not managed correctly.

The primary pathology is what we call vaso-motor instability i.e. patients with Rosacea tend to flush or blush more easily. They often have a background redness of the skin with multiple small papules and pustules. Rosacea may also effect the conjunctiva of the eyes causing redness and irritation, this is what we call Occular Roscea. Rosacea may be complicated by the development of small ‘broken’ capillaries on the face, referred to as Telangiectasia and in men the nose may grow bigger and this is what we call Rhinophyma.

“Anything that causes a person’s face to go red will aggravate the Rosacea ie., extremes of heat and cold, alcohol, hot beverages, spicy foods and cleansers and toners that are too harsh”

As Rosacea is a chronic relapsing condition there is unfortunately no cure as such. The affected person needs to be educated about possible trigger factors and avoid these where possible. They should only cleanse their skin with the mildest cream based cleansers and definitely not use any toners or scrubs. Topical treatment for the small red papules and pustules would include Azelaic Acid and Metronidazole Gels. If the Rosacea is more severe I will often prescribe one of the more modern Oral Tetracyclines. This needs to be given until the Rosacea is under control and once it is under control I generally slowly wean the patient off the Oral Tetracyclines. Soothing bland moisturising creams are indicated and it is often useful to use a product with a slight tint to help disguise the red broken capillaries on the persons face. Intense Pulsed Light (IPL) is a laser-like device that can treat the ‘broken’ capillaries on the face and it also has an anti-inflammatory as well as an anti-ageing effect on the skin.

“They should only cleanse their skin with the mildest cream based cleansers and definitely not use any toners or scrubs”

Therefore, although Rosacea cannot be cured as such it can be very successfully managed.

Posted in NEWS / Original Content on June 22nd, 2017.

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