Red as a Rosacea

Healthcare Times

by Healthcare Times | April 2, 2002 @ 09:00AM

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Rosacea is a common condition affecting up to 13 million Americans and its awareness seems to be on the rise. For many years, physicians have had limited success managing this disorder. However, today with modern lasers, a new and effective tool for helping those tempered with this chronic condition has emerged.

What is Rosacea?

It is a form of acne characterized by an overgrowth of the pilosebaceous units (oil producing glands) of the facial skin. Resulting in the creation and enlargement of superficial blood vessels.

It is a progressive disorder that usually affects those over the age of 30. Persons who are afflicted first notice the episodic facial flushing and heat after exposure to certain irritants, like cold weather, alcohol, spicy foods, or exercise. As the condition progresses, the flushing and redness of the face persist. Areas of the face commonly involved include the nose, chin, cheeks, and forehead. Long standing rosacea can progress to the eyes or cause an overgrowth of the nose, a condition known as rhinophyma. W.C. Field, perhaps the most recognizable person with rhinophyma, benefited greatly from the characteristic appearance of his rhinophyma nose.

How do I know if I have rosacea?

If you experience frequent flushing of your face with resultant patchy red areas around your nose, cheeks and chin, consider visiting your dermatologist for an evaluation.

How is rosacea treated?

Traditionally, rosacea has been treated with avoidance of irritating incitements such as alcohol, spicy foods etc. If this is not feasible or is ineffective, oral and/or topical antibiotics are prescribed. Occasionally, for those who fail to respond to these measures, more aggressive medicines are necessary.

What about laser treatments?

There is a new enthusiasm for rosacea sufferers. Modern day KTP lasers, pulse dye lasers, and intense pulsed light systems are proving very effective at managing rosacea. Patients undergo a series of quick, painless, and safe in-office procedures, resulting in an immediate reduction in facial redness, flushing, and pain. The lasers target superficial vessels (spider veins) by collapsing them and preventing their dilation. Although not a cure for the disorder, the laser represents a significant advancement in the management of rosacea.

Is the laser for me?

Those whos rosacea has been resistant to medicines, who are not tan or on photosensitizing medications may be good candidates for these treatments. To see if laser treatments are right for you, consult with an experienced laser physician.

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