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Dealing with Rosacea

Dealing with Rosacea

Dealing with Rosacea

A dermatologist weighs in on what to do.

Dealing with Rosacea
Dealing with Rosacea

Rosacea is an inflammatory condition in which certain triggers cause redness, most commonly in the middle of the face. “Inflammation, flushing and blushing can lead to pustules, sebaceous hyperplasia [small whitish/yellowish bumps], spider veins and a ruddy complexion,” says Dr. Rutledge Forney, dermatologist at Dermatology Affiliates, which has several locations including one in Buckhead. Unfortunately, there isn’t a cure for rosacea, but you can manage it by using the right products or treatments for your individual skin. If you are dealing with rosacea’s unwanted symptoms, Forney has the following recommendations.

Dr. Rutledge Forney, dermatologist at Dermatology Affiliates
Dr. Rutledge Forney, dermatologist at Dermatology Affiliates

Avoiding Flare Ups

Observe your skin to discover what causes a flare up. Common things include stress, alcohol, spicy foods, hot foods and beverages, sun exposure, hot or cold weather and certain skin care products. “Each individual will have their unique triggers. There are at least 35 different triggers that have been identified in different studies,” Forney says. She suggests avoiding what makes you flush and using medication, if needed, to reduce the chance that a new or unknown trigger will produce a flare.

Selecting Over-the-Counter Products

Several OTC products, including cleansers and moisturizers, can help reduce baseline redness. Forney says these will be labeled “redness reducing.” She notes that sulfur-based products work very well for rosacea pustules. However, most salicylic acid and benzoyl peroxide products, as well as some retinol products, can irritate rosacea-prone skin unless the skin is very oily.

Choosing Sunscreen

Sun protection is paramount for anyone with rosacea. Consider wearing a hat and buying a mineral sunscreen for your face, neck and chest. “Rosacea-prone skin tends to react to heat, and the chemical sunscreens actually produce a small amount of heat in the skin as the chemical process occurs. For that reason, mineral sunscreens are often more comfortable for rosacea patients.” Finding the Right Prescription Numerous prescription treatments for rosacea range from pills to creams to cleansers. “Typically, a combination of prescription medications can reduce the redness, eliminate the bumps and prevent flares,” Forney says.

Considering Lasers

The most beneficial treatment for the redness and prominent veins of rosacea may be lasers, such as the Vbeam and IPL, that target tiny blood vessels under the skin. Generally, at least three treatments are required, notes the National Rosacea Society. “The disease process continues, and lasers will have to be done again in a few years, but medical treatment can increase the time between laser treatments, which are not covered by insurance,” Forney says.

Visiting a Dermatologist

If you notice chronic skin redness, seek out a dermatologist for a diagnosis and to help you navigate products and treatments that are right for you.


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