Northampton Press

Wednesday, May 27, 2020

Treatments for rosacea explained

Friday, February 12, 2016 by FRED CICETTI Special to The Press in Business Showcase

Q. My husband is getting a drinker’s nose. He reminds me of W.C. Fields. But my husband doesn’t really drink more than an occasional beer. I don’t get it.

W.C. Fields, the vaudevillian and comedic actor in early films, was known to hoist more than an occasional beer. But Fields got his red, bumpy nose from rosacea, not alcohol. Former President Bill Clinton has rosacea and so did the late financier J.P. Morgan.

Rosacea (roh-ZAY-shee-uh) is a chronic skin disease that causes redness and swelling. It usually affects the face. It can also strike the scalp, neck, ears, chest and back. You can also get it in your eyes. That condition is called ocular rosacea. The disease can make the eyes look bloodshot.

Rosacea affects about 16 million United States residents. Most of them don’t know they have it. According to a Gallup survey, nearly eight in 10 Americans do not know that rosacea exists.

There is no cure for rosacea and science hasn’t found a cause. However, dermatologists can attack the symptoms with medication (oral and topical), laser surgery and other treatments if the disease is caught early. It may take two months of treatment before skin affected by rosacea looks better.

Some believe that early treatment may reverse the disease. If ignored, rosacea often worsens and becomes difficult to treat. Rosacea may last for years. For most, it tends to get better and then flare up again.

Symptoms usually begin in adults between the ages of 30 and 60. When women with rosacea go through menopause, they may experience additional flushing.

Rosacea often starts with what looks like a blush. Then the disease progresses to red pimples and bumps filled with pus. Tiny blood vessels may become noticeable. The skin on the nose may become thick and red.

Research has debunked the old tale that rosacea is caused by heavy drinking. Alcohol aggravates rosacea but does not cause it. Another myth is that rosacea is “adult acne.” The disease has little to do with the pimples and blackheads of acne.

People with fair skin tend to get rosacea. Women are afflicted more often than men. Men get more severe forms of the disease. Rosacea often runs in families.

If you have rosacea, here are some tips to avoid flare-ups:

Shield yourself from the sun and extreme cold; abstain from alcohol. If not, cut down; When you put anything on your face, do it gently. No scrubbing; Avoid spicy foods and hot beverages; Do not use facial products containing alcohol, acids and fragrances. Wash with mild soap; Avoid overheating. When exercising, make sure it’s in a cool place. Do not take hot showers or baths, and Don’t get hair spray on your face.

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© 2016 Fred Cicetti