Rosacea, a chronic skin condition that primarily affects the face, can often be a source of discomfort and self-consciousness for those experiencing it. The condition progresses through four distinct stages including pre-rosacea, mild, moderate and severe rosacea, marked by phases of worsening and improvement. Although a complete recovery from rosacea is not possible, individuals can effectively manage it by following prescribed medication regimens and implementing tailored skincare routines.
Dr. Seema Oberoi Lall, consultant, dermatology, CK Birla Hospital, Gurugram, says the first step in addressing rosacea is to recognise that it varies much from person to person. No two cases are identical and as such, treatment plans for rosacea acne must be tailored to an individual’s symptoms.
“Consulting a dermatologist is crucial to assess the specific type and severity of rosacea one is dealing with. Based on this evaluation, a personalised treatment plan can be developed,” Dr Lall says.
Medications for rosacea
Dr. Namrata Singh, founder of Aiconic Skin Clinic in Bengaluru, says, “Topical medicines reduce flushing (redness) of the skin.” Topical and oral antibiotics that control the growth of Demodex mites common on the skin are also used for rosacea treatment. In cases of pain or a burning sensation, topical analgesics or painkillers help.
Dr. Lall recommends medications that can help reduce blood vessel dilation that happens with rosacea. However, she emphasises the importance of using prescribed medications under the supervision of a dermatologist.
Typically, dermatologists prescribe medications that address the inflammation and rosacea in second and third stages. They are instrumental in preventing irreversible skin changes, including the progression to advanced stages. In rare cases, when rosacea reaches an advanced stage, surgical intervention may be necessary.
Laser therapies to counter rosacea
When dealing with advanced rosacea symptoms, laser therapies can be valuable. Dr Lall says lasers can target specific issues, such as visible blood vessels, thickened skin or persistent redness. Pulse dye lasers, CO2 lasers and IPL (intense pulsed light) treatments are some of the options available. “Among clinic treatments, IPL lasers have shown significant improvements in symptoms in many people with rosacea,” says Dr Singh.
Home remedies for Rosacea
In addition to medical interventions, there are steps one can take at home for rosacea treatment. Dabbing the affected skin area frequently with ice-cold water or an ice cube can reduce inflammation. Dr Namrata Singh recommends using skin-calming remedies such as aloe vera gel.
Research by Dr Jason Emer, dermatological surgeon, California, and his team suggests that the natural gel of the aloe vera leaf can address inflammatory skin conditions of rosacea.
They found that the gel has anti-inflammatory, pain-relieving, itch-reducing, and wound-healing properties. Its active components, including salicylic acid, magnesium lactate and gel polysaccharides, contribute to these effects.
“Other home remedies include regularly applying ice, using aloe vera gel for soothing [the skin] and avoiding beverages like tea, coffee and spicy foods,” says Dr Singh.
Avoiding trigger foods
It is also important to avoid sudden temperature changes, hot beverages and spicy foods, all of which can exacerbate symptoms of rosacea.
Dr Singh says people who are prone to rosacea acne should know what foods can trigger the condition and avoid them.
Dr. Aiswarya, a medical review scientist at Medilenz Innovation, Bengaluru, recommends choosing foods low in carbohydrates and primarily composed of light vegetables for your diet and lifestyle. Additionally, she advises maintaining personal hygiene.
This involves regular protection from harsh sun rays, by using silicone-free sunscreens with SPF 30 or more (preferably physical sunscreens), frequently moisturising dry skin with gentle cleansers, and managing stress and anger.
Certain lifestyle choices can worsen rosacea symptoms. Avoiding excessive heat, hot beverages, alcohol and smoking is crucial. These factors can cause blood vessels to dilate, intensifying redness and flushing.
Experts emphasise that rosacea is a chronic condition with episodic flare-ups. Consistency in following prescribed treatments and lifestyle changes is key to managing and reducing symptoms over time. And, with guidance from dermatologists, one can effectively manage one’s symptoms.