Sometimes it seems like the symptoms appear overnight. One morning you wake up, look in the mirror and think, “Do I have rosacea?” You’re forced to ask this question because your reflection is marred by a perpetual flush that might involve raised bumps that look like pimples. Even worse, the affected skin feels itchy, dry and irritated. Is this more than just dry winter skin?
You may be experiencing rosacea symptoms. However, it’s impossible to know for certain without an appointment with an experienced dermatologist. That’s because rosacea comes in several different forms and can have some unique elements that differ widely from one person to the next. Because the symptoms of rosacea vary, your rosacea treatment will vary too. Your dermatologist will craft a response to an outbreak that’s tailored specifically to your symptoms in order to obtain the best possible results.
Because of the many different rosacea symptoms and treatment options, you’ll work closely with your dermatologist. Your first appointment will typically take a little longer than follow ups will. That’s because your dermatologist needs to record your medical history and ask many questions about the symptoms of rosacea that you may be experiencing. Your rosacea treatment can begin immediately, and you’ll start to see results within just a few days.
Most people who receive a rosacea diagnosis are disappointed to learn that there is no cure for this disorder. However, it’s important to understand rosacea symptoms and treatment plans so that you’ll know that while it cannot be cured, rosacea can certainly be controlled.
Rosacea is a chronic condition that largely affects facial skin, though it can sometimes appear on other parts of the body. For most people, life is a series of flare-ups and then periods of remission until they find a successful approach for bringing rosacea under control. Most people develop the condition after the age of 30. No one knows precisely what causes rosacea, though researchers suggest that people with fair skin who are descended from Irish, English, Scottish and Welsh ancestors appear more likely to develop it. Moreover, many people who have rosacea know of at least one relative who has the disorder as well.
While working with your dermatologist, you’ll come to identify certain environmental or behavioral conditions that may cause a flare-up. These conditions are called triggers, and they can be numerous and diverse. People with rosacea symptoms and treatment goals learn to avoid these triggers. Though triggers are highly individualized, many people notice a rosacea flare up after sun exposure, with emotional stress or the use of certain skin care products. Sometimes a flare-up is caused by humidity, spicy foods, drinking alcohol or a host of other factors. It isn’t always easy to pin down which triggers may be affecting your rosacea symptoms and treatment. That’s why your dermatologist will give you a diary where you can keep track of your exposure to certain potential triggers and how your skin reacts. Once you’ve identified your triggers, you can work toward avoiding or alleviating them.
While you’re identifying your triggers, your dermatologist will prescribe medications designed to bring your rosacea symptoms under control. Your doctor may suggest a topical rosacea treatment, which may be combined with an oral medication. The approach your doctor prescribes will be precisely designed for the rosacea symptoms you exhibit. For instance, some people are troubled by a persistent flush. Others deal with a flush and pimple like bumps. Still, other people will experience skin thickening or visible blood vessels. One of the more annoying symptoms affects the eyes and may include burning and itching along with swelling eyelids and the potential for damage to the cornea.
Rosacea is very individual, so one person’s symptoms may be quite different from someone else’s. That’s why the treatments are so highly customized. Most cases of rosacea are treated with topical and oral medications. As the patient learns their triggers, they gain more control over flare ups. Your dermatologist can also recommend specialty skin care products that will help minimize the potential for flare-ups.
Particularly difficult cases may require more aggressive treatment. Laser treatment for rosacea symptoms is becoming increasingly popular. A rosacea laser treatment may be able to minimize the visibility of dilated blood vessels or reduce persistent redness. Some people who suffer from thickened skin on their nose and cheeks may also benefit from a rosacea laser treatment.
Making an appointment with Dr. Soine is the first step toward diagnosis and effective rosacea treatment.