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Frequently Asked Questions

What is Rosacea?

Short Answer

Rosacea is a skin condition of the face often mistaken for acne.

Long Answer

Rosacea (rose-AY-sha) is a benign long term skin condition of the face characterized by facial swelling and redness. It has periods where it is quite bad, but does not necessarily worsen over time.

Other skin conditions that are similar and can look like Rosacea are acne, contact dermatitis, lupus erythematosus, perioral dermatitis and seborrheic dermatitis.

Care of the skin is an important aspect of therapy. The sun is something that can trigger an outbreak, so use of a good sunscreen is important. It is also important to use moisturizers on the skin as well. Note that most good sunscreens also are moisturizers. Perfume free cosmetics are a good way to hide the Rosacea. Use a gentle skin cleanser and not a harsh soap to keep the skin clean. Important aspects of treatment are:

  • Understanding the condition
  • Make sure you are aware of the things that cause your skin to flare up
  • Control the signs and symptoms
  • Be vigilant in treating the symptoms and complications if they occur
  • Be aware that this is a chronic long term condition
  • Avoid exposure to weather eg sun , wind
  • Avoid hot food, hot drinks and drinks with alcohol in them
  • When exercising drink plenty of water to avoid dehydration
  • Avoid topical steroids
  • Do not use toners, exfoliating agents or astringents

Medical Treatment:

Please check with your physician for the treatment that best suits you.

Additional Information

RosaceaGuide.ca: Azelaic Acid
Azelaic acid is a naturally occuring dicarboxylic acid that is found in grain. In the 1970's an Italian dermatologist, Dr. Marcella Nazzarro Porro investigated its therapeutic potential and found that it has the ability to reduce pigment formation.

Which Brands Are Available?
  • Azelex 20% cream 30, 50 gms (Allergan)
  • Skinoren (Shering AG)
  • Finnevin (Berlex)
MedicalNewsToday.com: What Is Rosacea? What Causes Rosacea?
Some factors can aggravate rosacea or make it worse by increasing blood flow to the surface of the skin. Below are some of these factors:
  • Hot foods
  • Hot drinks
  • Caffeine
  • Spicy foods
  • Dairy products
  • Extremes of temperature
  • Sunlight
  • Humidity
  • Wind
  • Stress, anxiety, anger, embarrassment
  • Vigorous exercise
  • Hot baths
  • Saunas
  • Corticosteroids
  • Some medications - such as those for treating high blood pressure
  • Acute medical conditions - such as a cold, cough, or fever
  • Some chronic medical conditions - such as hypertension (high blood pressure)
  • Alcohol - alcohol does not cause rosacea, but it can be a trigger for people with the condition. Rosacea is not caused by alcohol abuse.
National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases (NIAMS): Questions and Answers about Rosacea
Doctors do not know the exact cause of rosacea but believe that some people may inherit a tendency to develop the disorder. People who blush frequently may be more likely to develop rosacea. Some researchers believe that rosacea is a disorder where blood vessels dilate too easily, resulting in flushing and redness. Factors that cause rosacea to flare up in one person may have no effect on another person. Although the following factors have not been well-researched, some people claim that one or more of them have aggravated their rosacea: heat (including hot baths), strenuous exercise, sunlight, wind, very cold temperatures, hot or spicy foods and drinks, alcohol consumption, menopause, emotional stress, and long-term use of topical steroids on the face. Patients affected by pustules may assume they are caused by bacteria, but researchers have not established a link between rosacea and bacteria or other organisms on the skin, in the hair follicles, or elsewhere in the body.
Medicinenet.com: Rosacea
With the proper treatment, rosacea symptoms can be fairly well controlled. Popular methods of treatment include topical (skin) medications applied by the patient once or twice a day. Topical antibiotic medication such as metronidazole applied one to two times a day after cleansing may significantly improve rosacea. Azelaic acid (Finacea gel 15%) is another effective treatment for patients with rosacea. Both metronidazole and azelaic acid work to control the redness and bumps in rosacea. Some patients elect combination therapies and notice an improvement by alternating metronidazole and azelaic acid: using one in the morning and one at night. Sodium sulfacetamide (Klaron lotion) is also known to help reduce inflammation. Other topical antibiotic creams include erythromycin and clindamycin (Cleocin).
SkinCarePhysicians.com: Rosacea
Rosacea affects an estimated 14 million Americans. Adults, especially those between 30 and 50 years of age who have lighter skin, blonde hair and blue eyes, are most likely to suffer from rosacea. However, rosacea can affect children and people of any skin type. Rosacea is often passed on in families, with women being afflicted more often than their male counterparts. Men, however, often get more severe forms of rosacea. For women with rosacea, increased flushing and blushing may occur around and during menopause.
Wikipedia: Rosacea
Rosacea is a chronic condition characterized by facial erythema (redness). Pimples are sometimes included as part of the definition. Unless it affects the eyes, it is typically a harmless cosmetic condition. Treatment, if wanted, usually involves topical medications to reduce inflammation.

It primarily affects Caucasians of mainly northwestern European descent and has been nicknamed the 'curse of the Celts' by some in Britain and Ireland, but can also affect people of other ethnicities. Rosacea affects both sexes, but is almost three times more common in women. It has a peak age of onset between 30 and 60.

Rosacea typically begins as redness on the central face across the cheeks, nose, or forehead, but can also less commonly affect the neck, chest, ears, and scalp. In some cases, additional symptoms, such as semi-permanent redness, telangiectasia (dilation of superficial blood vessels on the face), red domed papules (small bumps) and pustules, red gritty eyes, burning and stinging sensations, and in some advanced cases, a red lobulated nose (rhinophyma), may develop.