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Rosacea: Diagnosis and treatment


How do dermatologists diagnose rosacea?

A treatment plan for rosacea generally includes avoiding triggers, using gentle skin care products, and treating the rosacea.
If your dermatologist suspects you have rosacea, you won’t need medical tests. No medical test can tell whether you have rosacea.

To diagnose rosacea, your dermatologist will examine your skin and your eyes. Your dermatologist will also ask questions.

Before giving you a diagnosis, your dermatologist may want to make sure you don’t have another medical condition. Sometimes, another medical condition can look a lot like rosacea. Your dermatologist will want to rule out these conditions. Medical tests can help rule out conditions, such as lupus and an allergic skin reaction.

If you have rosacea, your dermatologist can talk with you about treatment options. While treatment cannot cure rosacea, it can help:

  • Reduce (or eliminate) signs of rosacea on your skin

  • Ease your discomfort

  • Prevent rosacea from worsening

How do dermatologists treat rosacea?

To give you the best results, treatment often begins with a bit of education. While medicine or laser treatment can help reduce or clear signs of rosacea, your everyday habits may cause a new flare-up.

Learning how to do the following can help reduce flare-ups:

  1. Find your triggers. Many things you do can cause rosacea to flare. Dermatologists call these tripwires “triggers.”

    Common triggers for rosacea include becoming overheated, having cold wind blowing on your face, and eating spicy foods. These may — or may not — cause your rosacea to flare. People have different triggers.

    It’s important to find out what causes your rosacea to flare and avoid those triggers.

    You can learn more about triggers and how to find them at: Triggers could be causing your rosacea flare-ups.

  2. Think sun protection 24/7. People who have rosacea often find that their skin is quite sensitive to the sun. To protect your skin from the sun, you’ll want to:

    • Apply a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF 30 (or higher) every day before you head outdoors
    • Avoid the midday sun
    • Seek shade when outdoors
    • Slip on a wide-brimmed hat when outdoors to protect your face and neck from the sun
    • Wear sun-protective clothing and sunglasses

    Use sunscreen

    If sunscreen irritates your skin, try using one that contains only titanium oxide and zinc oxide.

  3. Practice rosacea friendly skin care. Many skin care products can irritate skin with rosacea. Some skin care habits, such as scrubbing your skin clean, can cause rosacea to flare. Using mild skin care products and being gentle with your skin can help prevent flare-ups.

    If you have trouble finding mild skin care products, ask your dermatologist for recommendations.

The rest of your treatment plan will be tailored to treating your rosacea. Here’s how dermatologists treat the different signs of rosacea:

Outcome for people who have rosacea

There is no cure for rosacea, but you can successfully control it. Making some lifestyle changes and treating rosacea can prevent flare-ups. It can also prevent the rosacea from worsening.

Many people find that by doing these things, living with rosacea becomes a lot easier. They also say they feel and look better.


Images
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References
Pelle MT. “Rosacea.” In: Wolff K, Goldsmith LA, et alFitzpatrick’s Dermatology in General Medicine (seventh edition). McGraw Hill Medical, New York, 2008:703-9.

Pelle MT, Crawford GH, et al. “Rosacea: II. Therapy.” J Am Acad Dermatol. 2004;51(4):499-512.

Two AM, Wu W, et al. “Rosacea Part II. Topical and systemic therapies in the treatment of rosacea.” J Am Acad Dermatol. 2015;72:761-70.

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