Rosacea In The Red

rosacea_lower_faceRosacea is a medical and skin condition that affects more than 16 million Americans, but is little known to most. In fact, a recent survey showed that 95% of rosacea patients knew almost nothing about the signs and symptoms of this condition before being given their diagnosis.

Rosacea is characterized by redness, visible blood vessels, flushing, bumps, and pimples, especially on the face.  If not treated, the affected skin will frequently thicken.

rosacea-rhinophymaIf rosacea forms on the nose, it can cause a bulbous deformity called rhinophyma.  Although this ailment occurs in very extreme circumstances, leaving rhinophyma untreated puts those who have rosacea on the nose at much greater risk of it growing and spreading.

Despite ongoing research, there is currently no known conclusive cause for rosacea.  Some hereditary factors are known, as researchers have recently discovered two genetic variants of the human genome that may be associated with this condition.

Although diet is not known to cause rosacea, many of the common rosacea triggers include food items. Unfortunately, the list includes such popular items as wine, citrus fruits, chocolate, spicy foods, and dairy products.  Medications such as prednisone and other drugs that dilate blood vessels can also increase the redness of rosacea.

rosacea_triggersThere are some theories that bacteria, fungi and mites that live in our hair follicles may be a cause.  This appears to be particularly relevant in a subset of rosacea known as acne rosacea.  In these cases, the use of topical and oral antibiotics often work for short time, but do not cure the condition.

The most reliable treatment for the redness of rosacea continues to be laser therapy, which uses focused laser light to target inflamed blood vessels.  The collapsed blood vessels as a result of laser therapy gradually decreases the redness and flushing of rosacea.

I have had very excellent results with laser therapy here at Maine Laser Skin Care.  However, I always warn rosacea patients that laser therapy is a treatment, not a cure.  Touchup therapy will be needed periodically following the laser treatment.

For those who suffer from rosacea, avoiding the aforementioned triggers and obtaining laser treatment for redness can control embarrassing symptoms until a cure is found.  I continue to monitor the medical literature for ongoing research in this area, and I will let you know of any new developments as they become available.

In the meantime, if you or anyone you know or love suffers from rosacea, feel free to call us at (207) 873-2158 for a free consultation and evaluation.

About Dr. John Burke

John Burke M.D. has practiced medicine for over 25 years, and is the founding partner of MidMaine Internal Medicine. He established Maine Laser Skin Care in 2004 after devoting years to learning the latest in laser and dermatologic technology. Dr. Burke has treated patients from all over the United States. He is one of Maine's busiest practitioners in laser treatments, and in the use of Botox for upper facial lines and excessive sweating.
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