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Dermatology

Rosacea

Rosacea is a chronic skin condition that makes your face turn red and may cause swelling and skin sores that look like acne. 

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Medically Reviewed 20th March 2024, by Mr. Bryan Mayou (GMC: 1414396) - founder of the Cadogan Clinic and one of the world's leading plastic surgeons

What is Rosacea?

Rosacea is a chronic skin condition that results in redness, swelling and skin sores that may look like Acne. It typically occurs in people with fair skin between the ages of 30 and 50. It is more common in women than men however, the symptoms are often worse in men. The condition does affect people with darker skin, but the symptoms can be harder to spot.

Rosacea is caused by the swelling of the blood vessels that are situated right beneath the skin. This results in the characteristic redness of the face and other associated symptoms. Rosacea is a harmless condition and does not usually cause any pain or discomfort, but in the most severe cases, people with Rosacea may experience burning, stinging or itching skin.

The root causes of Rosacea are unknown, but there are certain triggers which can cause the condition to flare up. These triggers vary from person to person. Rosacea is not contagious and is not caused by poor hygiene. 

Many people choose to seek Rosacea treatment as the condition can have a major impact on self-esteem and confidence, often having a negative effect in social and professional environments.

Unfortunately, Rosacea cannot be cured. However, there are a number of treatments which can help to control the symptoms. A Rosacea specialist here at the Cadogan Clinic will be able to advise you on which treatment will be best for you.

Rosacea symptoms can worsen over time if not treated. This may lead to issues such as Rhinophyma.

In order to get the correct treatment for your concerns it is important to you should seek a diagnosis, as Rosacea can present in a similar ways to other conditions, including Acne, Lupus, Dermatitis (in particular Contact Dermatitis and Seborrhoeic Dermatitis) and Keratosis Pilaris, a condition which occurs when hair follicles are blocked by a build-up of keratin.

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Words from our clients:


Why do people have this treatment?

Why do people have it & Who is suittable

People usually seek Rosacea treatment for one or more of the following reasons:

  • To reduce redness and itchiness
  • Alleviate pain and discomfort
  • Restore an even skin tone
  • Improve self-esteem
  • Reduce stress, anxiety and unhappiness
  • Prevent symptoms from getting worse

What causes Rosacea and what are the symptoms?

The symptoms vary depending on the type of Rosacea a person has and which stage of Rosacea they have. Typical Rosacea symptoms include:

  • Redness, rash or blushing across the nose, cheeks, forehead and chin. This redness may disappear quickly or may last for weeks of even months, depending on the severity of the condition. 
  • Burning or stinging when using water or skin care products
  • Acne–like breakouts
  • Dry skin
  • Swelling
  • Irritated, bloodshot eyes. This applies to Ocular Rosacea which which can develop alongside other symptoms of Rosacea affecting the skin, or as an independent condition.
  • Thickened skin: This typically occurs on the nose (known as Rhinophyma), but can also occur on other parts of the face, including the cheek

 

It is not known exactly what causes a person to develop Rosacea. Genetics, the immune system and environmental factors may all play a part. 

However there are a number of things which can cause symptoms to flare up. Diet in particular plays a major role in managing Rosacea symptoms. 

People who have rosacea should identify what triggers their symptoms and avoid them wherever possible. We recommend you keep a diary to record your food intake and to help you identify any potential triggers. Common Rosacea triggers include:

  • Alcohol: A red and bulbous nose is a typical symptom of untreated Rosacea. However, this symptom has, unfairly, become associated with excessive drinking. It is a myth that excessive drinking causes Rosacea to develop.  However, alcohol has been known to trigger Rosacea flare ups. Research has suggested that red wine is the biggest culprit when it comes to aggravating symptoms, but spirits and other alcoholic drinks such as Champagne and beer, can also have an effect.
  • Spicy foods: It is believed that spicy foods can be a trigger for as many as 75 percent of adults with Rosacea. This has been attributed to the chemical capsaicin, which gives these spicy foods their heat. Capsaicin can be commonly found in tabasco pepper, jalapenos, chili pepper and hot sauce.  
  • Dairy: Dairy has been reported to cause Rosacea symptoms to flare up. Dropping cheese and other dairy products such as yogurt and sour cream from your diet, or reducing the amount you consume, may lessen the likelihood of symptom flare ups.
  • Hot drinks: Hot drinks, such as tea and hot chocolate, may set off Rosacea symptoms in some people as the heat from the beverage flushing. People with Rosacea were previously advised to avoid drinking caffeine, but recent research revealed that coffee may actually prove beneficial for people who suffer with Rosacea. Caffeinated drinks reduce the rush of blood to the skin’s surface, are full of protective antioxidants, have an immunosuppressant effect to help curb inflammation and can balance the levels of hormones that are associated with Rosacea.
  • Cinnamaldehyde foods: Cinnamaldehyde is the compound which gives cinnamon its familiar pungent flavour. It causes a warming sensation which triggers Rosacea symptoms, leading to a flare up. Cinnamaldehyde is found in a range of foods, including citrus fruits, chocolate and tomatoes and as well as cinnamon.
  • Aerobic exercise: High-intensity aerobic exercises, such as running, cycling and aerobics, can also be a trigger for Rosacea symptoms. Aerobic exercise temporarily increases blood flow and heart rate, widening the blood vessels, causing the skin to flush. 
  • Sun exposure: Just a short time in the sun can lead to flushing and redness in people who suffer with Rosacea. You should use liberal amounts of sun cream, even on days where the sun is not obvious, to help prevent a flare up of symptoms.
  • Heat exposure: For some people with Rosacea, exposure to heat can cause the skin to flush. This may include hot showers, saunas or excessive use of central heating. Consider turning down the temperature of the shower slightly and avoiding warm environments to reduce flare ups.

Certain medications increase blood flow to the skin, leading to the appearance of Rosacea symptoms. These medications include topical steroids, niacin (vitamin B3) and sympathomimetics, which are used to control blood pressure. 


The cost of Rosacea Treatment

Consultations From

£ 250

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We treat hundreds of rosacea cases each year

Our team of 9 highly experienced specialist dermatologists have been handpicked to form one of the best independent dermatology units in the country

Our purpose build dermatology clinic is conveniently located off Sloane Square  


What are the options?

There are three main treatments that will help to control the symptoms of rosacea. The effectiveness of these treatments depends on the individual patient and the severity of their symptoms.

Rozex (Metronidazole) cream or gel, Soolantra (Ivermectin) cream or Skinoren can be used in milder cases of Rosacea where pustules and papules are showing. However, these prescription options are not suitable for all patients, for example children and pregnant or breastfeeding women. This form of Rosacea treatment may take several months to work. These topical medicines may not be suitable for people displaying more serious symptoms of Rosacea.

In more serious cases of Rosacea, a doctor may prescribe antibiotics to be taken orally. A course of antibiotics may be taken for anywhere between six to 16 weeks. In some cases, creams may be used alongside antibiotics. Erythromycin, oxytetracycline and Efracea (doxycycline as monohydrate) are all medications which are typically prescribed for Rosacea treatment. It can several weeks of taking antibiotics before you see results. Antibiotics for Rosacea may not be suitable for patients with liver or kidney problems, myasthenia gravis (a condition that causes long-term muscle weakness) and pregnant or breastfeeding women.

Some antibiotics are known to interact with other medications. These vary depending on which antibiotic you are prescribed.

IPL for Rosacea focuses on the visible blood vessels of the skin. The heat from the light targets the widened blood vessels and causes them to shrink reducing how visible they are.

Special care must be taken to avoid causing damage to the surrounding skin tissue. This procedure may cause slight discomfort, however patients are usually able to undergo the entire procedure without the need for an anaesthetic.

The number of procedures needed to get the desired results will vary depending on the patient and the severity of the condition. One of our Rosacea specialists will be able to advise you on the number of procedures that you may need.

The side effects of IPL are usually minor and temporary. Typical side effects include itching, light bruising, redness, swelling, skin peeling and scabbing. Our consultant dermatologist will go over these with you before undergoing IPL for Rosacea.

There is no known cure for Rosacea, but timely treatment can stop the condition from getting worse and improve your quality of life.

Whatever your personal needs, you can rest assured that Cadogan Clinic will provide the best level of care to treat your Rosacea at our dedicated dermatology clinic based in Chelsea, London.


Rosacea Specialists

We have invited a selection of the country's very best consultants to join us at the Cadogan Clinic so that you can be sure that whatever the nature of your treatment, you will be seeing one of the top practitioners in the country.


What to expect

Below you will find some key information to help you prepare for surgery and make necessary arrangements to ensure you have the support you need and that everything runs smoothly on the day.

You will meet with one of our highly trained dermatologists at the Cadogan Clinic on Sloane Street, Chelsea for an in-person assessment of your skin.

Your consultant will discuss the following with you at this consultation:

  • Your concerns about your skin
  • Your general medical history
  • Any history of previous issues with your skin
  • The triggers that may be causing your Rosacea to flare up
  • The best treatment options for you and your treatment plan

 

3 Easy Steps

  • Contact our dermatology patient advisors to discuss your concerns and book a consultation
  • Attend your consultation at the Cadogan Clinic and start your treatment plan
  • Return to the Clinic for any follow up appointments, to see your dermatologist to monitor the progress of treatment 

Cadogan Clinic. A strong tradition of innovation

Founded in 2004 by world renown dermatologist Dr Susan Mayou, we now work with over 100 leading consultants and successfully treat over 20,000 patients each year. We have been winning industry awards since inception.

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Why choose the Cadogan Clinic for your Rosacea treatment?

 

  • We successfully treat hundreds of Rosacea cases each year
  • Our team of ten highly experienced specialist dermatologists have been handpicked to form one of the best independent dermatology units in the country
  • Our Rosacea specialists have the highest levels of training and qualifications
  • We work with major bodies and organisations to ensure standards are maintained. This includes The British Association of Dermatologists (BAD), Royal College of Surgeons (RCS), Care Quality Commission (CQC) and the General Medical Council (GMC)
  • Our purpose-built dermatology clinic is conveniently located off Sloane Square, Chelsea

Frequently Asked Questions

There are two main types of rosacea:

Vascular rosacea:

This particular type of rosacea is characterised by the flushing and persistent facial redness which is typically associated with the condition.

In vascular rosacea, the blood vessels become swollen under the skin, leading to flushing and persistent redness in the central parts of the face. Small blood vessels may also become visible on the face.

In vascular rosacea, the skin is sensitive and some people may experience burning, stinging, itching, swelling, dryness or roughness.

Inflammatory rosacea:

This form of rosacea is characterised by the appearance of bumps (papules) and/or pimples (pustules) on the face. These are common in many people who suffer from rosacea. Some patients may also experience raised red patches, which are commonly known as plaques.

These bumps and pimples come and go and are often mistaken for acne. However no whiteheads or blackheads are present. They appear mainly on the cheeks, but can also form around the mouth, nose, eyes, chin or on the forehead.

Papules and pustules may be accompanied by flushing, but this is not true of every person who has inflammatory rosacea.

Tiny blood vessels can usually be seen with inflammatory rosacea. The skin is easily irritated and inflammatory rosacea can also feel tender, rough or swollen and some people may experience a burning or stinging sensation during a flare up.

Less common types of rosacea are ocular rosacea, which affects the eye area, and phymatous rosacea (skin thickening) which usually affects the nose but can also affect the cheeks, chin, forehead or ears.

Often people experience a combination of different rosacea symptoms. One of our expert dermatologists will be able to identify which type of rosacea you have and how best to treat you

There are four stages of rosacea: pre-rosacea, mild rosacea, moderate rosacea and severe rosacea.  

  • Pre-rosacea: People who are prone to flushing or blushing are considered to be in stage one, otherwise known as pre-rosacea. Hot or spicy foods, vigorous exercise or embarrassing situations can prompt flushing or blushing which disappears shortly after the trigger is removed. The blood vessels start to become more sensitive, but there are no signs of damage to the blood vessel walls.
  • Mild rosacea: This stage begins when facial redness remains long after the trigger has been removed. This often lasts for half an hour or more. The blood vessels have sustained minor structural damage.
  • Moderate rosacea: Facial redness persists for days or weeks. There may be outbreaks of papules and pustules and people may experience swelling or burning sensations.
  • Severe rosacea: A small percentage of rosacea sufferers experience stage four rosacea. Severe inflammation can lead to pain, debilitating burning, as well as swelling and intense episodes of flushing. Blood vessels are extensively damaged and leaking. Some people develop rhinophyma, a bulbous enlargement of the nose. 

It is not known what causes rosacea, so unfortunately you cannot prevent the condition itself. However, timely treatment, such as IPL, antibiotics and prescribed creams or gels, can prevent rosacea from getting worse. Avoiding known triggers, such as alcohol, certain foods and excessive sunlight, will prevent symptom flare ups or ensure that any flare ups are less severe. We recommend keeping a diary of what you eat and making a note of potential triggers so you know what to avoid in order to help control your symptoms.

Research indicates that drinking alcohol is a common trigger for rosacea, and can increase the likelihood of a flare-up in an individual disposed to rosacea.

The risk of developing rosacea typically increases with the increase in alcohol consumed.

This is not always the case, however, and rosacea can be triggered by a variety of other emotional, environmental and medical factors.

It is also true that people who do not drink alcohol can suffer from rosacea.

There is no definitive evidence that rosacea is genetic, although it is common that rosacea sufferers also have family members who suffer from the condition.

This is a very common disorder, impacting roughly 1% of the population.

Rosacea sufferers are typically

  • Between the ages of 30 and 50 years of age
  • Fair skinned
  • Blonde haired, blue eyed
  • Likely related to someone who also has rosacea
  • Likely has or has had acne
  • Female

Rosacea is not a dangerous condition in and of itself.

That said, it can cause a serious impact on self-esteem and self-confidence, and have a negative effect on an individual's mental health and wellbeing.

Unfortunately, there is no known cure for rosacea. The condition can occasionally get better with age, but this is rare.

The best way to prevent rosacea from getting worse is to treat the condition using IPL, antibiotics or prescribed creams or gels. You should avoid triggers wherever possible in order to prevent flare ups. 

Treating rosacea will prevent it from getting any worse, but you will need to continue with treatment in order to maintain the results. One of the Cadogan Clinic’s expert dermatologists will be able to advise on the most appropriate treatment for you. 

Your results are not permanent, and it is not possible to completely cure rosacea. That said, it can be properly controlled and prevented from worsening via proper treatment.


How To Find Us

The Cadogan Clinic is based at 120 Sloane Street in Chelsea, just off Sloane Square and the Kings Road.

We are accessible by all major bus routes that pass through Sloane Square and Sloane Street, as well as Sloane Square tube station.

We are just a 5 minute walk northwards up Sloane Street once you have arrived at Sloane Square.

Local pay parking is available just around the corner from the Clinic on Cadogan Gate, Cadogan Square and Cadogan Gardens. Our local residential parking zone is the Royal Borough of Kensington & Chelsea.

Address: 120 Sloane Street, Chelsea, London, SW1X 9BW




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