Heal Your Skin: Fixes for Complexion Complaints
RosaceaWhat It Is
The exact cause of rosacea, an increasingly common chronic skin condition that affects 14 million Americans, is unknown. Generally speaking, it's characterized by redness flare-ups, bumps, and pimples, which occur in two distinct stages. First, blood vessels in the face become permanently enlarged, bringing on rosacea's typical "flushing and blushing" on the cheeks, chin, nose, or forehead. In the second stage, the skin develops red bumps or inflamed pimples.
Since rosacea is often confused with acne, it's crucial to be diagnosed by a dermatologist. "What we prescribe for acne may be too strong when you have rosacea," cautions New York City cosmetic dermatologist Neal Schultz. Additionally, it's helpful to be aware of triggers that can set off rosacea flushing, such as sunlight, extreme hot or cold weather, wind, hot baths, certain foods, spices, and alcohol.What the Dermatologist Can Do
"The goal in treating rosacea is to prevent its progression," says Zoe Draelos, MD, clinical associate professor of dermatology at Wake Forest University School of Medicine. Treatments include:
- Low-dose antibiotics: These reduce the redness or inflammation. These are ideal for protecting against developing bacteria that are resistant to treatment.
- High-dose oral or topical antibiotics, as well as oral sulfa drugs: These treat rosacea's acne-like symptoms.
- Light therapies: These reduce inflammation, kill bacteria, and shrink enlarged blood vessels; they can be used with antibiotics or instead of them, says Dr. Draelos.
The skincare aisles are now chock-full of rosacea treatments, which can be confusing. According to Dr. Schultz, rosacea sufferers have to be extremely discriminating about what touches their skin. The goal should be to cleanse gently, such as with Eucerin Redness Relief Soothing Cleanser, $8.99. Calm redness with a mild moisturizer (try La Roche-Posay Rosaliac Skin Perfecting Anti-Redness Moisturizer, $30), and keep the skin cool to avoid setting off a flushing episode. Since the sun's rays are another trigger for rosacea outbreaks, using sunscreen is absolutely crucial. A good choice: La Roche-Posay Anthelios SX sunscreen with Mexoryl, $29, an ingredient recently approved by the FDA for its potent UVA protection; it also works against UVB rays.
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