Rosacea, a skin disease, can be controlled
Rosacea is a chronic inflammatory skin disease that affects several million people in Germany. The inflammation is often manifested by persistent redness, papules, pustules, visible veins, or swelling of the face. Many sufferers don’t even know they have rosacea, but today there are a variety of treatment approaches.
One of the first signs of rosacea is redness on the face. (Photo: Christin Klose / dpa-tmn)
Redness, pustules, or lumps on the face may indicate rosacea. Inflammatory skin disease is not curable, but with the right treatment, symptoms may go away. Slowly increasing redness on the face, which “blooms” like a rose plant, gives rosacea its name. According to estimates by the Professional Association of German Dermatologists (BVDD), around ten million people are affected in Germany alone.
The three stages of rosacea
The disease is divided into three stages, but they do not necessarily merge. At first there is redness and spontaneous blushing of the cheeks. In the second stage, pustules and nodules appear around the nose, cheeks, forehead and chin. It is not uncommon for the skin to burn or itch. After all, severe inflammation is possible. Rosacea can also lead to lumpy thickening of the nose. Those affected often perceive the skin disease as a defect. But the good news is that rosacea can be treated very well, says Gießen dermatologist Professor Uwe Gieler.
Alcohol and coffee can make symptoms worse
Rosacea often progresses in episodes. Symptoms may get worse after consuming alcohol, coffee, or spicy foods. Sunbathing, sauna visits, or stress are other common triggers for a relapse. The factors that lead to relapses differ from case to case. “Those affected have to find out for themselves,” says Munich dermatologist Marion Moers-Carpi.
His advice: go immediately to a dermatologist at the first signs of facial redness. “The sooner treatment begins, the better the skin disease can be controlled,” says Moers-Carpi.
Anti-mite ointments – and other therapies
There are different therapeutic approaches. Patients are often prescribed special creams or ointments – for example, with the agent metronidazole. According to Gieler, creams or gels containing permethrin or vitamin A acid can also help. In case of redness, a gel with the active ingredient brimonidine can provide relief for a few hours.
One of the most innovative treatment methods is light therapy: a gel is applied to the affected areas, and these areas of the skin are then exposed to a special light lamp, says Moers-Carpi. Laser therapy can remove redness and nodules from the skin on the face.
Master stressful moments
If stress is the trigger for rosacea or rosacea flare-ups, sometimes those affected must learn to incorporate sufficient recovery periods into their daily lives. “Yoga, muscle relaxation or autogenic training can help, for example,” explains Gieler. Relaxing facial massages also often help reduce stress. You can learn how to better deal with stressful situations in behavior therapy.
Complete absence of symptoms possible
With the right therapy, people with rosacea could become completely symptom-free, Gieler points out. “However, a little patience is needed. Rapid success of the treatment cannot be expected. It is only after about six to eight weeks that many improvements appear.
According to the current state of knowledge, rosacea cannot be cured
Symptoms can be controlled – but rosacea is not curable. As a result, flare-ups can occur over and over again. It is therefore important that everyone knows their “triggers” that cause rosacea, Gieler emphasizes. Coffee, alcohol, stress: if you know what is harmful, you can take countermeasures. (vb; Source: Sabine Meuter, dpa)
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This article is provided for informational purposes only and is not intended to be used for self-diagnosis or self-treatment. It cannot replace a visit to the doctor.