Rosacea is an inflammatory condition that is commonly mistaken for acne. Rosacea may present in many ways, the most common being acne-like bumps on the face and erythema (redness) with telangiectasia (blood vessels.) The exact cause of rosacea is unknown, though demodex mites (which usually live in hair follicles) may play a role. Rosacea may be worsened by certain triggers, which can be different in every patient. Vasodilation, which presents are flushing on the face, is exaggerated in patients with rosacea upon exposure to heat. Certain foods, such as spicy foods or alcohol, may also precipitate a rosacea flare.
How is rosacea treated?
Rosacea is treated in a variety of ways. There are topical and oral prescription medications that can be very helpful in treating the rosacea bumps. Lasers are often necessary in order to improve the appearance of redness, telangiectasia or flushing. It is also important for patients to avoid known triggers. For example, a patient may notice that their rosacea flares each time they eat spicy food; if this patient avoid spicy foods, they will have much fewer episodes of rosacea flares.
What prescription medications are used to treat rosacea?
There are many different prescription medications available for the treatment of rosacea. These medications tend to work best for rosacea bumps and generally don’t have a dramatic effect on general redness and telangiectasia. Examples of topical medications that are used for rosacea are Finacea, Metrogel, Rosadan and Sumadan wash. There is currently one oral medication approved for the treatment of rosacea. This medication, called Oracea, contains a very low dose of antibiotic that is delivered throughout the entire day. At this low dose, the antibiotic is not even displaying antibacterial properties; it is only strong enough to have an anti-inflammatory effect on the rosacea.
What lasers are used to treat rosacea?
The most effective laser treatment for rosacea is called the KTP laser. The energy of the KTP laser is observed in the hemoglobin (red) cells of the superficial vessels and the superficial blood vessels subsequently collapse. One KTP treatment is usually sufficient for the treatment of telangiectasia (blood vessels.) Two to three treatments are generally necessary for the treatment of generalized erythema (redness and flushing.) There is no downtime after the KTP laser, though some patients may have more redness for a few hours following the treatment. Other laser treatments commonly used for the treatment of rosacea are IPL (Intense Pulsed Light) and the VBeam.
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