What are rosacea spots?

Rosacea is a chronic skin condition that mainly affects the face. Although anyone can be affected by this, people aged 30-50 with a light skin tone are more prone to developing acne rosacea.

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What are rosacea spots?

Rosacea is a chronic skin condition that mainly affects the face. Although anyone can be affected by this, people aged 30-50 with a light skin tone are more prone to developing acne rosacea. Women are more likely to develop this condition, but when men do, the symptoms are often more severe. There is no cure available, but acne rosacea treatment can improve the skin's appearance and minimise some of the other physical aspects of the condition.

People affected by acne rosacea can experience flare-ups which can last anywhere from a few weeks to a few months. Although the condition is relatively harmless, it can cause a degree of pain and has a major impact on people’s confidence levels. The potential effect on mental health is a motivation to seek out acne rosacea treatment as early as possible. Left untreated the condition is likely to worsen and this can lead to an intense burning or stinging sensation, or even complications such as rhinophyma.

As rosacea can be confused with acne, dermatitis, and lupus, in this article we’d like to take the time to tell you more about the condition, how to recognise it, and what treatment options are available. 

What causes acne rosacea?

The exact cause of acne rosacea is unclear. What is known is that the condition is not contagious and nor is it caused by a lack of hygiene. There is the possibility that rosacea sees genetic factors come into play as people are more likely to be affected if there is a family history. It is also believed that smoking can increase the likelihood of someone developing the condition. 

Whilst the exact cause of acne rosacea may not be known, what is widely accepted is the fact that there are a number of triggers that can cause a flare-up and worsen the condition. The main triggers include:

  • Alcohol
  • Spicy foods
  • cheese
  • caffeine
  • Hot drinks
  • Aerobic exercise
  • Extreme changes in temperature
  • Sunlight and wind
  • Medications that dilate blood vessels 

Avoiding these triggers is an important part of managing the condition, but acne rosacea treatment is still the best way to avoid complications developing. One such complication that we referred to earlier is rhinophyma. Rhinophyma sees the oil glands (sebaceous glands) on the nose and cheeks increase in size. The nose itself take on a bulbous appearance due to a build-up of tissue on and around it. This is more common in men aged 50-70, but the potential exists for anyone to be affected.

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What do rosacea spots look like?

Rosacea can often be confused with an outbreak of acne and this is why an expert should be consulted to ensure that a correct diagnosis is given as early as possible. This is important so that acne rosacea treatment can be sought. The confusion between the 2 conditions arises as rosacea causes what appears like spots. These are small pink or red bumps and can be filled with pus that has a yellowish colour to it. Prior to these spots appearing, the early signs of acne rosacea include redness across the nose, chin, forehead, and cheeks that comes and goes. There may also be a burning sensation when water is applied to the face. 

The face can develop to almost permanently having a red or purple tinge to it. This is caused by the appearance of tiny broken blood vessels on the face. Other symptoms of acne rosacea include:

  • Dry skin
  • Swelling, especial around the eyes
  • Yellow/orange patches on the skin
  • Sore eyelids or a crust that forms at the base of the eyelashes
  • Thickening of the skin 

How do you get rid of rosacea spots?

Those that suffer from acne rosacea are, understandably, keen to rid themselves of the physical signs of the condition. Acne rosacea treatment will help to get rid of the spots, reduce the redness and itchiness, and restore an uneven skin tone. Major outbreaks are often treated with an antibiotic such as oxytetracycline or, in a topical gel, metronidazole. Azelaic acid is also a common form of medication that can prove useful. Once the spots are gone, people still need to target the redness caused by the condition and this can be achieved through either laser treatment or the use of intense pulsed lights (IPL).

There are also a number of things that a person can do at home in the form of self-help to manage their condition. These include:

  • Using gentle cleansers
  • Avoid perfumed soaps or products that are alcohol-based
  • Rather than run your face dry, blot it or allow it to dry naturally
  • When it is sunny use suncream with a minimum SPF of 30
  • Avoid obvious triggers

Although these actions will not necessarily rid a sufferer of their spots, they can help to control the extent of any outbreak and minimise their frequency.

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What is the best treatment for acne rosacea?

When looking for the best acne rosacea treatment, it is important to consult an experienced dermatologist who is an expert in this field. A consultation will allow an expert to assess the extent of your acne rosacea and then to determine what would be the best course of treatment for you. This can be influenced by your skin type and whether you have developed any complications.

In terms of treating the spots caused by rosacea, often a course of antibiotics is effective in controlling an outbreak. This will not address the issue of redness to the face and so a combination of treatments is often the best way to manage rosacea. The redness can be addressed through the use of IPL. 

IPL uses intense light that focuses on visible blood vessels. The heat generated from the light targets blood vessels that have been widened and causes them to shrink. This reduces their visibility. Great care is taken not to damage any of the surrounding skin. It may be the case that more than one treatment is required to achieve the desired result, but the team at Cadogan Clinic are able to advise when putting together your treatment plan. 

Treatments mentioned in this article

Rosacea is a chronic skin condition that makes your face turn red and may cause swelling and skin sores that look like acne. It typically occurs in people with fair skin between the ages of 30 and 50 and is more common in women than men.

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