If you have what appears to be a case of adult acne across your cheeks and nose that won't go away, you might have rosacea. Rosacea is a skin condition with an appearance similar to acne, but unlike acne, it usually doesn't clear up and go away without treatment. You may have periods of remission between flares, but rosacea tends to be a chronic condition you'll need to deal with for the rest of your life. Fortunately, there are treatments that make rosacea manageable. The first step is to see a dermatologist for a diagnosis of your condition. Here are a few things to know about dealing with rosacea.
See Your Dermatologist
A dermatologist not only rules out other possible causes of your skin condition and diagnoses rosacea but also can provide treatments and medications that keep your flare-ups under control. You may not think your outbreak looks too bad, or you may be able to conceal it under cosmetics, but the problem with rosacea is that it is progressive. If you don't treat it medically, it may cause disfiguration to your skin and especially your nose. Rosacea can even affect your eyes. By getting early treatment, you may be able to avoid problems with enlarged vessels and skin thickening that marks your skin or causes it to look red. Your doctor may prescribe medication you take orally or apply to your skin. You may undergo laser or light-therapy treatments. The treatment you get depends on the severity of your condition and how much you are bothered by the way it affects your appearance. Rosacea affects people in different ways. You may have a mild case with only occasional flares, or you could have a more severe case that requires aggressive treatment.
Avoid Skin Irritation
Another thing you can do to prevent a flare-up of your rosacea is to avoid skin irritation when possible. This means you may need to change your skin-care products to those made for sensitive skin. You may also need to cover your face when you go out in very cold weather to protect it from harsh temperatures and dry wind. You'll want to keep your skin moist so it doesn't dry out and become flaky and itchy. You should also avoid rubbing or scratching your skin in the area of the rosacea bumps, which is usually the center part of your face across the bridge of your nose and cheeks. Protecting your face from sun exposure is a good idea too. Wear a hat for shade when you go outdoors, and apply sunscreen for protection from UV rays so you can prevent a sunburn.
Identify Your Triggers
Pinpointing the things that trigger a flare-up of your rosacea is like identifying substances that cause an allergic reaction. It may take a long period of trial and error to figure out what foods and things in your environment cause your rosacea to return. You may need to start with an elimination diet and then slowly reintroduce foods to see how your skin reacts. Some common things that might be problems for you include cigarette smoke, alcoholic drinks, citrus foods, chocolate, and hot spices. Food and drinks that cause your face to flush, such as hot coffee or hot soup, could possibly irritate your rosacea too.
While you may be overwhelmed when you are first diagnosed with rosacea, if you work with your dermatologist to find an effective treatment and eliminate most of your triggers, you should be able to keep your condition under control. You may not be cured, but with good management, you should be able to go months or even years between flare-ups.
Make an appointment with a healthcare organization such as East Carolina Dermatology and Skin Surgery, PLLC to get started.