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Proper diagnosis, treatment and good skin care help control acne and rosacea

March 03, 2016

Rosacea, another chronic skin condition, affects an estimated 14 million people in the United States and is characterized by redness, flushing and prominent blood vessels on the face. Dr. Kim explained that rosacea commonly occurs in older people, and there are many known triggers for this bothersome condition ?? including sunlight, alcohol, spicy foods, caffeine, heat, citric acid, and stress.

While the exact cause of rosacea is not fully understood, Dr. Kim noted that a recent study suggests that the presence of an abnormal peptide (a small protein) in the skin of rosacea patients may contribute to the disease.

"There is some evidence to suggest that the peptide cathelicidin within the skin is processed differently in rosacea patients than in individuals not affected by rosacea and induces inflammation that may contribute to rosacea," explained Dr. Kim. "These findings are encouraging, as we can identify better treatments for the disease if we have a better understanding of what the cause might be."

Over the years, lasers have been shown to be effective in treating the symptoms of rosacea. For example, Dr. Kim mentioned that pulsed-dye lasers work well for rosacea patients with lots of broken blood vessels, and both pulsed-dye laser and intense-pulsed light treatments are effective at treating redness on the face and flushing associated with rosacea.

"Patients undergoing laser therapy for rosacea will likely need multiple treatments. However, I have found lasers and light treatments to be very effective and produce long-lasting results," said Dr. Kim.

In addition to oral treatments, a number of topical medications have been introduced to treat rosacea, and Dr. Kim explained that metronidazole and azeleic acid are two topicals that are tolerated well and effective in reducing the symptoms of rosacea.

Good Skin Care: Good for All

For patients with acne or rosacea whose skin is often sensitive, Dr. Kim emphasized that proper skin care is very important as part of their overall treatment regimen. In addition to avoiding products or behaviors that tend to make acne or rosacea worse, patients may find that gentle skin care can help alleviate some of the redness or irritation common with these conditions.

"I advise my patients to use a mild cleanser and sun protection that is non-irritating to the skin every day, particularly a moisturizer that contains sunscreen," said Dr. Kim. "While skin care products containing too many acids can be irritating to sensitive skin, I find that products containing salicylic acid are useful for some acne patients. Separating treatments, such as using salicylic acid or benzoyl peroxide in the morning and a retinol-based product at night, might be helpful for patients with sensitive skin."

Dr. Kim also noted that while over-the-counter products containing salicylic acid or benzoyl peroxide may help control mild acne, patients should avoid using too many products at once on their skin to try to manage acne.

"The old adage 'less is more' applies to patients with sensitive skin," said Dr. Kim. "The best advice is to discuss your skin care regimen with your dermatologist who can recommend products based on not only your specific skin condition, but your individual skin type as well."

SOURCE American Academy of Dermatology