Rosacea is a skin condition that causes swelling and blemishes, and for some sufferers it can be itchy, or even painful. Although it can’t be cured, the symptoms can certainly be controlled with long term care. There are many things that can be done to help you manage your rosacea better; read on to find out what they are.
Rosacea is not necessarily something that is always there – sometimes you might not suffer from it at all until you come across a trigger that sets it off. Some common rosacea triggers include stress, sunlight, caffeine, make up and cosmetics, and certain foods (or lack of foods).
If bright sunlight causes your rosacea to flare up, make sure you use plenty of sun cream and wear protective clothing including long sleeved tops and a wide-brimmed hat. The sun cream you wear should be at least SPF 30 and ideally should contain ingredients that won’t exacerbate rosacea symptoms. For some sufferers, children’s sun cream can be the best option. If your diet is the problem, try to include more foods that have anti-inflammatory properties such as ginger, broccoli, and garlic. If it’s caffeine, simply switch to caffeine free coffee, tea, and soft drinks.
Some rosacea sufferers will have pustules – pus-filled swellings – on their skin. These can be treated with topical creams and ointments, or even oral treatments. Most doctors will prescribe topical treatments first as there is less chance of side effects. Examples of these creams (or gels in some cases) include metronidazole, azelaic acid, and ivermectin.
Most topical ointments will need to be applied once or twice a day, and you should always remember that it could take some time for results to become visible. This is why it is best to speak to your GP about the treatments that will work for you, and what to expect from them. If you are ever in any doubt about what you are using, speak to a dermatologist. They will be able to advise you on the correct dosage and usage, and you can ensure that your rosacea is given the chance to heal.
Although prescribed less than the topical creams and gels mentioned above, your doctor may prescribe an antibiotic such as Oxytetracycline, if your rosacea symptoms are unbearable.
As ever when you are prescribed antibiotics, you must finish the course, even if you feel that your rosacea symptoms have calmed or even disappeared altogether. By stopping your antibiotics early, you might allow your infection to return, or for the infection to become immune to the antibiotics you are taking, thus making it harder to get rid of it next time you need to.
Most of the time, isotretinoin is given to patients suffering from severe acne, but it has been shown – in lower doses – to help rosacea sufferers as well.
However, this is a strong medication even at lower dosages, and should never be taken without seeking advice from an expert dermatologist first. It should never be taken if you are pregnant.
Pustules are not always a symptom of rosacea, and it may be that you don’t need to worry about treating them. For many, reddened skin is the problem they need to deal with, and as well as the natural remedies mentioned above, there are other ways to deal with this.
If it is the look of the redness that causes you an issue, then covering it with make up can be a good way to get rid of it – at least from the outside. Of course, some cosmetic products can actually exacerbate rosacea, and it is crucial to know whether this is the case for you before you try to cover up the symptoms; you might find that although it is covered, your skin condition actually becomes a lot worse once you remove the make up at the end of the day.
In order to prevent this from happening, you should check the ingredients on your make up before use. Ingredients such as witch hazel, alcohol, eucalyptus oil, menthol, chemical fragrances, and any kind of abrasive scrub can all cause a rosacea flare up.
Thankfully, there are many natural cosmetics on the market. These have far fewer (if any) chemicals in them, although it is still wise to carry out a patch test and to speak with a dermatologist before using them if you are unsure of what might happen.
IPL treatment – intense pulsed light treatment – can sometimes reduce the redness caused by visible blood vessels. This can be an expensive treatment (it’s not something the NHS generally provides) especially when it takes more than one try to reduce the redness. However, it is an option that might be worth investigating if you have tried the medication on offer or prefer not to use medication at all.
If you are happy to take medication, there are some oral varieties that can reduce the symptoms of rosacea. Clonidine, for example, is often prescribed as this relaxes the blood vessels which allows blood to run more freely through them. Anxiety medications can also be used; this will keep the patient relaxed and therefore less prone to stress-related rosacea flare-ups.