Dear Barb – Rosacea

Dear Barb;

I have had a rash on my face for a few months and after trying everything to get rid of it, I went to my family doctor. I was diagnosed as having a skin condition called Rosacea. Until this diagnosis I had never heard of this condition. My doctor gave me some information and is referring me to a dermatologist. I’m wondering how common this condition is and does it occur more often in men or women? I would appreciate any insight you can offer on this most embarrassing condition.

Tony in Quebec

Hi Tony, great to hear from you. After researching your question I learned that Rosacea is a common skin condition affecting millions of people worldwide. Most of those affected are between the ages of 30 and 60. It is equally distributed among men and women. Often individuals are able to identify other family members who also suffer from this condition.

Rosacea initially appears as a rash-like flushing of the face, mostly across the cheeks. It may escalate into pustules that resemble acne and can affect the eyes as well. The exact cause is unknown. Many factors can aggravate Rosacea. For example consuming coffee, tea, or any hot drink may trigger outbursts. As well what you eat may also aggravate Rocacea. Spicy food is often a precipitating factor for many sufferers. Exposure to the sun or wind, particularly cold wind, can trigger a flare up.

Strong emotions and stressful situations can also cause the symptoms to reappear. However, avoiding stressful situations is not always within our control, therefore you need to know how to manage this skin condition on a daily basis.

Caring for your skin on an ongoing basis is important in handling Rosacea. It is best not to use abrasive cleaners, or scrub your face excessively. Also, Tony, it is advisable that men shave with an electric shaver, rather than a blade, as it is easier on the skin. When you visit the dermatologist, you will learn of many topical creams, as well as oral antibiotics such as tetracycline, that are used in the treatment of Rosacea. Which treatment is best for you will be decided between you and your doctor, as each situation is unique.

You have done the right thing in seeing your doctor since if Rosacea is left untreated it can cause permanent skin damage.

Further information can be obtained at the following websites:
http://www.rosacea.org
http://www.niams.nih.gov/hi/topics/rosacea/rosacea.htm

I hope I have been helpful Tony. Please write back after your visit with the dermatologist, to let me know how you are doing.

E-mail your questions to advice.voice@ausu.org. Some submissions may be edited for length or to protect confidentiality: your real name and location will never be printed. This column is for entertainment only. The author is not a professional counsellor and this column is not intended to take the place of professional advice.

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