Women Today

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Managing rosacea symptoms

A chronic skin condition, rosacea affects millions of people each year and often begins with a tendency to blush or turn flushed more easily than other people. However, rosacea can become more pronounced on the face, producing swelling and bumpy or thickening skin. Rosacea can spread to other areas of the body as well. Because rosacea is often noticeable, many people with the condition are interested in learning how to reduce their symptoms.

The first step when considering skincare treatment is to visit a doctor to determine if the symptoms you are exhibiting are indicative of rosacea. If a general practitioner is unsure, he or she may refer you to a dermatologist. Dermatologists specialize in skin conditions and usually can identify rosacea with just a visual inspection. Ignoring symptoms of rosacea could put you at risk of exacerbating the redness even further.

The exact cause of rosacea is unknown, but some believe it is linked to the swelling of blood vessels beneath the skin. The Mayo Clinic says rosacea symptoms may flare up for weeks at a time before diminishing.

Many people who develop rosacea fall into these categories:

• between 30 and 50 years old

• fair skin with light hair and blue eyes

• Celtic or Scandinavian ancestry, and

• most likely have someone in their family with severe acne or rosacea.

Although there's no definitive cure for rosacea, treatments can help control redness and reduce other signs of the condition. A combination of medication, avoidance of triggers and some natural remedies may be able to help.

• Antibiotic treatments: Antibiotics used to treat rosacea have anti-inflammatory properties. They can be effective in the short term and are usually applied as creams, but they may come in pill form as well.

• Acne medications: The Mayo Clinic says some doctors will prescribe isotretinoin, a powerful acne medication, if antibiotics do not work. This may be used on acne-like lesions that accompany rosacea.

• Lasers and light treatments: Doctors may use lasers and other light treatments to reduce redness and inflammation and to remove thickening skin.

• Electrosurgery (electrocautery): This procedure sends electric currents into the skin to help treat it by reducing the appearance of blood vessels or removing tissue buildup that typically forms around the nose.

• Avoiding triggers: Some people have found that eating spicy food; excessive drinking; stress; or extreme temperatures can cause rosacea to flare up. Learning about your triggers and avoiding these things can make rosacea less troublesome, possibly extending the time between flare-ups.

• Exploring home remedies: Foods and beverages known to reduce inflammation can help reduce the redness associated with rosacea. These include but are not limited to chamomile, green tea and oatmeal. Lavender oil and honey also have antimicrobial and antiseptic properties that may make them good for treating rosacea. A study presented to the American Academy of Dermatology found that licorice also helps reduce redness and can help promote healthy skin cells. Consult with a dermatologist before trying natural remedies to ensure they do not compete with or interact with any medications.

People with rosacea should use gentle skincare products and avoid scrubbing or touching their faces too much. Avoid products that contain alcohol, which can cause further irritation. Everyone should also wear a broad-spectrum sunscreen daily to protect their skin from damaging UV rays.

Rosacea is a common condition, but it is one that can be managed through a comprehensive approach.

Osceola News-Gazette