Rosacea Treatment & Management

Updated: Aug 14, 2018
  • Author: Agnieszka Kupiec Banasikowska, MD; Chief Editor: William D James, MD  more...
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Treatment

Medical Care

Before the initiation of therapy, the triggering factors that exacerbate the patient's rosacea should be identified and avoided if possible. These factors may be unique to each individual patient. Common triggering factors include hot or cold temperatures, wind, hot drinks, caffeine, exercise, spicy food, alcohol, emotions, topical products that irritate the skin and decrease the barrier, or medications that cause flushing. [4, 5] Some patients find that regular facial massage reduces lymphedema. Rosacea fulminans is treated with moderately high doses of prednisolone (30-60 mg/d) followed by oral isotretinoin.

For more information on agents used to treat rosacea, see Medication.

Sunscreen

The use of daily broad-spectrum sunscreen is recommended for all patients with rosacea. [6] A sunscreen that protects against both UV-A and UV-B light should be selected. Physical blockers such as titanium dioxide and zinc oxide are well tolerated. Additionally, the sunscreen should contain protective silicones such as dimethicone or cyclomethicone. Green-tinted sunscreens can provide coverage of the erythema.

The patient is encouraged to avoid astringents, toners, menthols, camphor, waterproof cosmetics requiring solvents for removal, or products containing sodium lauryl sulfate.

Laser

Nonablative laser is effective against rosacea by remodeling of the dermal connective tissue and improving the epidermal barrier. [17] The major disadvantage of this therapy is its cost because it is not covered by insurance. It requires 1-3 treatments 4-8 weeks apart to achieve the best results.

Vascular lasers are the mainstay of rosacea therapy. These include pulsed dye laser (585 or 595 nm), the potassium-titanyl-phosphate laser (532 nm), and the diode-pumped frequency-doubled laser (532 nm). These wavelengths allow selective absorption by oxyhemoglobin, leading to vessel reduction with minimal damage to surrounding tissue or scarring. To be effective against deeper facial vessels, longer wavelengths of lasers are required, including the diode laser (810 nm), the long-pulsed Alexandrite laser (755 nm), and the long-pulsed Nd:YAG laser (1064 nm).

Intense pulsed-light therapy is a multichromatic laser with different targets, including melanin and hemoglobin. Therefore, it is also useful for facial rejuvenation, affecting vascular lesions, pigmented lesions, and hair.

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Surgical Care

Permanent telangiectasia may be treated by electrosurgery or the 585-nm pulsed dye laser. However, facial erythema is not improved, and new telangiectasias develop with the passage of time. Cosmetic improvement of rhinophyma may be produced by mechanical dermabrasion, carbon dioxide laser peel, and surgical shave techniques.

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Diet

Dietary modulation should aim at avoidance of triggers.

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