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Complexion Complication

April 19, 1999|BARBARA J. CHUCK

First, the bad news on rosacea: It's a chronic skin disease that can be characterized by flushing, dilated blood vessels, acne-like lesions and enlargement of the nose. The good news: Its symptoms can be treated and managed with prescription drugs and other therapies.

Rosacea, which occurs mainly in fair-skinned adults, isn't life-threatening. But its very visible and often embarrassing symptoms can result in self-image problems.

Here's more information about rosacea's signs:

* Flushing: This mainly occurs in the center of the face--the cheeks, chin, forehead and nose. Flushing can come and go, and color can range from pink to red.

* Dilated blood vessels: This often shows up as a web-like pattern (telangiectasias) on one or more parts of the face.

* Acne-like lesions: Pustules and papules appear on the face.

* Nose enlargement: Rhinophyma can occur because of severe rosacea, redness and swelling. This occurs most often in men.

* Eyes: Some people experience a "gritty" feeling, as if there's sand in their eyes.

It isn't clear what causes rosacea, and there is no cure. Prescription topical ointments can relieve some of the symptoms. Stopping treatment may make them worse. In addition, self-care can also help. Besides adhering to your doctor's treatment plan, the following steps can help:

* When washing your face, don't scrub or use abrasive products. Use a gentle facial cleanser, rinsing your skin well with warm, not hot, water. Pat your skin dry with a cotton towel. Skin-care products and cosmetics that are nonirritating and fragrance- and oil-free are recommended.

* Keep a diary to help you identify the things that trigger the condition. Possible triggers for some people include weather extremes, sun exposure, alcoholic or hot beverages, and spicy food.

* If you shave your face, use an electric razor.

Source: StayWell Co.

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