Treating rosacea

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PATCHY: Rosacea causes the blood vessels in the face to swell. Credit: Shutterstock

ROSACEA- those painful red facial patches some of us suffer from- can be both uncomfortable and distressing.

Often mistaken for acne or eczema, rosacea is an inflammatory condition which can cause the blood vessels in the face to swell and become more obvious. More common in fair skinned people, experts do not yet fully understand what causes rosacea, which first presents itself in the form or large, red bumps.

While as yet not everything is known about the condition, doctors do agree there are various factors which can exacerbate the condition, and that avoiding these could help control breakouts.

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The first and most important thing to do if you have developed any new, chronic skin condition on the face such as itching, redness, or spots, is to see a pharmacist of doctor who may be able to advise you what you are suffering from.  This is particularly important if the condition is near your eyes. Rosacea has four sub-types and, if you are still uncertain, it may be helpful to consult a dermatologist who will be able to tell you exactly which condition you have in more detail.

If you know you have rosacea, although distressing, try not to worry too much.  This is a common condition which affects around one in 10 people in the UK, according to Bupa.  It can fluctuate with seasonal changes, as well as hormonal ones and many things can be done to lessen its symptoms or appearance.

The British Skin Foundation recommends, “the inflammatory element of rosacea may be controlled with a drug applied to the affected areas. It takes at least 8 weeks for its effect to become evident.” For some cases, oral antibiotics may help, “these are helpful for the inflammatory element of moderate or severe rosacea. The most commonly used antibiotics belong to the tetracycline group and include tetracycline, oxytetracycline, doxycycline, lymecycline and minocycline. Erythromycin is another commonly used antibiotic. The duration of an antibiotic course depends on your response. Your doctor may suggest that you use a cream and oral treatment together.”

There are also things you can do at home to help the condition.  These include protecting your skin from the sun by using a sun block (with a sun protection factor of at least 30) on your face.  You should also take care not to rub or scrub your face when cleansing or use perfumed soap as this can make rosacea worse. It may also help to use an unperfumed moisturiser on a regular basis if your skin is dry or sensitive.

Finally, gentle makeup can be used to lessen the appearance of rosacea.  Try to choose a more natural, unperfumed formula with good coverage that still allows your skin to breathe.

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