Sunlight is thought to play an important role in the development and worsening of rosacea. Sun avoidance, including the use of a broad spectrum, non-irritating SPF 30 or higher sunscreen or sun block is generally recommended.
Rosacea medications, such as metronidazole, azelaic acid and doxycycline monohydrate are often effective for long-term control of the papules associated with rosacea. Rosacea, can however, flare at times and a single medication may be inadequate. In these circumstances, dermatologists will often prescribe a topical and oral medication to manage the more challenging cases. Patients may often continue on a single medication once the flare-up has subsided. Talk to your physician about what would be the best course of action.
General advice would include using gentle products, like Cetaphil, that moisturize the facial skin barrier and avoiding activities or products that irritate the skin. A specific skin care regimen might include the use of a soap free cleanser, daily application of a broad spectrum gentle sunscreen or physical sun block with titanium dioxide or zinc oxide, use of cosmetics containing protective silicones (dimethicone or cyclomethicone), use of light and easy to spread camouflage foundation combined with sunscreen as well as green-tinted make-up or sunscreen to cover red areas. Products to avoid might include astringents and toners that can irritate the skin as well as heavy waterproof make-ups that are difficult to apply and require solvents to remove.
Some people with rosacea think that they have adult acne. There are some key differences between acne and rosacea. The biggest difference is most people with rosacea start with symptoms only on their face, people with acne will usually have it on other areas of the body. People with rosacea and acne can have pimples (“white heads”) but people with rosacea will normally not have any “black heads”. People with rosacea will commonly have facial flushing, where this is not common in people with acne.
Many of the medications for acne can make rosacea worse. It is important to let your doctor know which medications you have tried to help them pick the best medication to help to improve your skin.
Rosacea tends to be a waxing and waning chronic condition involving redness of the central portion of the face, sparing the areas around the eyes and lasting at least three months. It’s more prolonged nature helps differentiate it from other forms of flushing.
It may be useful to keep a journal to track the various triggers for symptoms. Typical triggers include hot or cold temperatures, wind, hot drinks, exercise, spicy food, alcohol, emotions, irritating cosmetics and menopausal flushing.
Dermatologists will usually recommend that you use the product every day to help keep your rosacea under control. A common mistake is many people will use their medication less or stop it altogether when their skin starts to improve.
It may sometimes be difficult to differentiate between a mild sunburn and rosacea in the summer. In fact, a sunburn can often trigger a flare-up of rosacea. Nevertheless, rosacea would be limited primarily to the central face while a sunburn would involve redness and burning of the face and other sun exposed areas, such as the tops of the hands, neck, ears and chest.
Rosaceafacts.ca contains information on medical and health-related topics. It should not be used as a substitute for consultation with your doctor or other healthcare professionals. If you have any questions about your symptoms, please consult your doctor.