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Medical Dermatology


What is Rosacea?

Rosacea is a common chronic inflammatory skin disease that affects the face, and the eyes. Initially it often begins as sensitive and fragile skin that is prone to redness and flushing. The red flush gradually spreads across the center of the face including the cheeks, nose, forehead and chin. Rosacea can also spread to the ears, chest and back. Rosacea means “rose colored” and is also called acne rosacea. Over time the redness and flushing become permanent, while other symptoms flare and remit.

Who is at risk for Rosacea?

Rosacea is a chronic skin disorder that affects over 16 million Americans, most flushing and redness of rosacea begins in patients over age 30. Both men and women suffer with rosacea. It is common in fair-skinned people whose heritage is England, Ireland, Germany and northern Europe.

Rosacea and Quality of life

Rosacea affects a person’s quality of life including frustration, embarrassment, low self-esteem and confidence, problems at work and at home, anxiety and depression especially related to the belief by others that you may have a drinking problem because you flush and have other rosacea symptoms.

Rosacea is a chronic disease that flares up and remits for weeks or months at a time, affecting your quality of life. Treatment can control and improve the condition and your quality of life.

Famous faces with rosacea include Princess Diana, Mariah Carey, Cynthia Nixon, Renee Zellweger, Cameron Diaz, Prince William, Prince Harry, William Shatner, WC Fields, Rembrandt, and President Bill Clinton.

What are the signs and symptom of the four prominent subtypes of rosacea?

  1. Subtype 1: Erythematotelangiectatic rosacea causes the redness, flushing and visible broken blood vessels called spider veins; sun sensitivity, skin sensitivity, burning and stinging skin; dry rough skin. Most patients have this type as well as the signs and symptoms of other subtypes.
  2. Subtype 2: Papulopustular rosacea appears as redness, visible broken blood vessels called spider veins, swelling, bumps, pimples, oily skin, raised patches of irritated skin and acne like breakouts. The skin may be sensitive, burn and sting. This subtype is common in middle-aged women.
  3. Subtype 3: Phymatous rosacea causes redness, skin thickening and bumps on the nose, forehead and other parts of the body, bumpy skin texture and enlarged pores. This type also usually causes symptoms of another subtype before the skin thickening.
  4. Subtype 4: Ocular rosacea causes red irritated eyes, light sensitivity, dry eye, eyelid crusting, itchy and burning eyes, swollen eyelids, eyelid cysts, visible broken blood vessels on the eyelids, and blurry vision.

What causes rosacea?

52% of patients report that another family member has rosacea. Lifestyle and environmental factors can cause and trigger this condition. Every patient has specific triggers that are unique to them. Common triggers are things that increase blood flow to the skin’s surface including:

  • alcoholic drinks including red wine
  • caffeinated drinks
  • hot beverages
  • sun exposure
  • spicy foods
  • red wine
  • stress
  • anger
  • extreme temps
  • temperature extremes hot and cold
  • wind
  • intense physical exercise 

How is rosacea diagnosed?

There are no diagnostic medical tests. Dr. Saini will examine your skin and eyes, review your medical history, and ask you questions about symptoms and possible triggers and whether you have a family member with the same signs and symptoms or a diagnosis of rosacea. If she has a concern that your symptoms may be caused by another condition, she may order tests to rule out those conditions. Then she will create a treatment plan just for you.

What are the treatments for Rosacea?

Although science has not yet discovered the causes of rosacea, and the disease is incurable, treatments can control and prevent worsening of this condition.  Importantly, Dr. Saini will ask about potential triggers and discuss how you can avoid flares.  Additionally, the sensitive skin of rosacea must be protected from the sun 24/7, and how to treat skin irritation.

Treatments include:

  • Topical Azelaic acid, metronidazole and tetracycline in low doses will reduce inflammation and treat acne like breakouts.
  • Retinols can help you gain control of breakouts and prevent flareups.
  • New prescription drugs Bromonidine and Oxymetazoline hydrochloride target redness and constrict dilated blood vessels.
  • Laser and light treatments can help control rosacea including the pulsed dye laser, the ND: Yag laser and IPL photofacial
  • Treatment for ocular rosacea include gentle cleansing of the eyes with baby shampoo, and the use of warm compresses. Eye drops and eye medications can also help.
  • Oral antibiotics can also treat rosacea.

When you or a loved one is suffering with medical skin condition, Dr. Ritu Saini is the medical dermatologist of choice for those in the greater New York region.  She is a nationally and internationally respected dermatologist and researcher. Contact Dr. Saini at New York Medical Skin Solutions to schedule a consultation to receive the correct diagnosis and treatments.

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