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Rosacea is a facial rash that occurs in middle-aged men and women. Rosacea is an inflammatory skin condition often resulting in redness of your face. You may mistake its characteristics — red nose, flushed cheeks, and small, red, pus-filled bumps or pustules — for acne. In fact, rosacea is also known as adult acne or acne rosacea, but in reality it has little to do with the pimples and blackheads that commonly afflict teenagers. Although some people with rosacea have had significant acne as teenagers, the cause of rosecea is unknown.

If not treated, rosacea tends to be a progressive condition, which means it gets worse over time, but in most people it's cyclic. It may be active for a time, lessen in intensity, then be followed by a flare-up. Besides, acne it can also be mistaken for other skin problems, such as skin allergy. Once diagnosed, it's highly treatable.


Although there's no way to eliminate rosacea, effective treatment can relieve its signs and symptoms. Most often this requires a combination of prescription treatments and certain self-care measures on your part.

Prescription treatment usually involves antibiotics that you apply directly to your skin (topical) or that you take orally. In many cases, dermatologists first prescribe both oral and topical antibiotics to lessen symptoms, followed by long-term use of a topical antibiotic alone to maintain remission. Your doctor may treat ocular rosacea with oral antibiotics. Laser surgery can be used to reduce visible blood vessels and treat rhinophyma.

In addition, your doctor may recommend certain moisturizers, soaps, sunscreens and other products to improve the health of your skin. If hot flashes appear to trigger your rosacea, you might ask your doctor about treatment options for menopause.

A common topical antibiotic prescribed is metronidazole. This medication comes in a cream, lotion or gel form. It's available in a 0.75-percent or 1-percent formulation, which you apply once daily. Other topical antibiotics include erythromycin and clindamycin. Sulfur-based lotions and the antibiotic sulfacetamide also may be helpful.

Some of the most common prescription oral antibiotics include tetracycline, minocycline, doxycycline and erythromycin. Oral antibiotics tend to work faster than topical ones.

Isotretinoin (Accutane) is a powerful medication sometimes used for more severe cases of inflammatory rosacea. Doctors don't prescribe it for the treatment of mild cases or for telangiectasia or redness of the face. Usually prescribed for cystic acne, it works to inhibit the production of oil by sebaceous glands. However, isotretinoin has significant side effects and is known to cause severe birth defects. Don't take isotretinoin if you're pregnant, and don't become pregnant while taking this medication.

The duration of your treatment depends on the type and severity of your symptoms, but typically you notice an improvement within 1 to 2 months. Because symptoms may recur if you stop taking medications, long-term regular treatment is often necessary.

Enlarged blood vessels, some redness and changes due to rhinophyma often become permanent. In these cases, surgical methods, such as laser surgery and electrosurgery, may reduce the visibility of blood vessels, remove tissue buildup around your nose and generally improve your appearance.

Rosacea > 1 > 2 > 3 > 4

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Last Modified : 03/15/08 02:06 AM