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Treating rosacea the right way

24th February 2020 Print

It all started with a blush.

Sounds almost like the start of a story heading somewhere warm or romantic or cute. But then that blush lingered, staining the face a deeper, seemingly permanent shade of red, one which haunted our hero for nights on end.

The ‘Red Face’, as it’s often known, is known medically as rosacea (rose-ay-sha).

It’s a source of embarrassment and confusion for many sufferers and can, if untreated, spiral beyond a persisting redness to the development of enlarged blood vessels and acne-like skin problems.

Many don’t even understand their condition, let alone know what to call it. After all, how easy is it to attribute such changes to day-to-day stresses, poor eating habits, a lack of exercise or too much time out in gale-like winds?

Perhaps you visited the doctor, were diagnosed and sent on your way with oral antibiotics, the go-to fix for pustules and papules. Maybe they gave you a topical cream to apply, you’re weeks down the line, staring in the mirror and wondering if your symptoms are really improving or if you’re just convincing yourself they are.

The truth is, while antibiotics are brilliant at battling those pimples, and topical creams might dull the fire glowing in those cheeks, neither are effective for flushing those symptoms for good.

But hang on, let’s take things back a step.

How to tell if it’s rosacea

Don’t just assume you just blush easily or have developed an extra sensitive skin condition, because you could be one of many who remain undiagnosed and none-the-wiser.

Rosacea cheeks are often the first tell. Have you been blushing more often than usual? Does your face feel a touch warmer than normal?

Don’t panic! You’re probably fine. BUT. If you genuinely believe that warmth is upgrading to a real burning sensation, pay heed.

Alongside persisting red cheeks, rosacea often causes blood vessels to dilate, creating visible veins known medically as telangiectasia, aka facial thread veins, aka spider veins.

Are you noticing these too? Have you started developing acne as well?

If your reflection gazes back at you with any combination of these symptoms, it could be time to seek a consultation and see what’s to be done.

Now, before hypochondria kicks in, keep in mind also that rosacea is most often diagnosed in those between 30 and 50 years old.


Does it need treating?

Of course, this is up to the individual.

Many sufferers feel a great degree of anxiety towards their symptoms which can be debilitating in certain cases. We should all feel comfortable in our bodies, and anything which can be done to help affirm that comfort is worth considering.

Beyond the symptoms we’ve listed, it is possible for an untreated condition to result in an enlarged red nose, known medically as rhinophyma, but rosacea should not be feared.

Rosacea treatment takes many forms. Worth remembering, whatever you choose, is that treatment is aimed largely at minimising and managing symptoms, rather than curing it altogether.

What does treatment look like?

The most successful rosacea treatments involve a combination of prescription medications and laser treatment performed concurrently by a dedicated laser specialist.

“Unfortunately, conventional medicine fails to treat redness and is ineffective for flushing symptoms.” - Dr Nathan Holt, Cambridge Laser Clinic.

Combining oral antibiotics with laser procedures guarantees the greatest chances of clearing every symptom of rosacea and giving you the most ideal life managing this red-faced condition.

And for those whose skin tingles at the thought of laser treatments, rest assured, you’re perfectly safe. These lasers emit high energy wavelengths designed to specifically target the blood in your skin. The blood absorbs the heat energy which breaks down the vessel walls and helps your body disperse the haemoglobin, removing the redness without ever damaging the skin itself.


Pretty nifty, right?

Home remedies and prevention

Whether you’re just noticing the early onset of rosacea cheeks or you’re fresh from treatment, self-care and vigilance will go miles towards helping prevent flare-ups and manage symptoms.

The best approach is, as often, a holistic one.

Identify any rosacea triggers which affect you, then do your best to counter them. These can include:

- Excessive exposure to sunlight

- Strong winds

- Stress

- Extreme weather changes

- Cleansing products containing alcohol

This is by no means a comprehensive list of things to avoid. In truth, no-one knows what causes rosacea, these are just a few triggers which can stir the pot and really exacerbate things.

Ultimately, take care of your skin. Avoid touching your face with unwashed hands, moisturise regularly, consider how natural remedies like aloe could help and, above all, do your research and discuss options with a specialist.

Take advantage of your dermatologist during treatment sessions and ask questions. Check your facts and expectations and you can’t go wrong.


Does laser treatment of rosacea hurt?

You may not care for the science behind how lasers clear that unwanted redness, but unless you’ve had laser treatment before, I bet you’re wondering how it’s going to feel.

Pain is subjective, we all know that, but most patients liken the experience to the feeling of a rubber band being snapped on the skin.

Yes, really. That’s it. Laser treatment is practically pain-free.

Is laser treatment available for everyone?

Not all dermatologists are laser specialists, so you’re going to need to find one if you want to treat rosacea the right way.

Reputable specialists, such as the Cambridge Laser Clinic, offer free consultations so you can be certain it’s the right course for you. Be sure you hunt around for the best practitioner in your area.

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