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Antibiotics can treat rosacea

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Many adults in their 30's to 50's -- especially women with a fair complexion -- may notice changes in the appearance of their skin. The web of tiny blood vessels in the face may become more visible, making the complexion look ruddy, particularly on the cheeks and nose. This can signal rosacea, a chronic skin condition that can become more noticeable over time.

Easily provoked blushing, possibly with sensations of heat, are early symptoms and may be first noticed during the teen years and into the 20's. Acne-like bumps may develop later on the cheeks, forehead, and chin. Rarely, in advanced cases the nose can become quite bumpy and red in colour (affecting men more often than women). In some cases, the eyes can be involved (ocular rosacea).

This information is provided by your pharmacist, a partner in your health care

The information in this newsletter was prepared and reviewed by pharmacists for the Canadian Pharmaceutical Journal

What causes the flare-ups?

While the exact cause of rosacea is unknown, and there is no "cure," some options do exist to minimize its symptoms. Identifying any "triggers" that worsen the condition, and limiting or adjusting exposure to them, can help to prevent flare-ups. Triggers include foods (e.g., spices, strawberries, shellfish), weather (i.e., sun exposure, wind), exercise, emotional/stressful situations, heat (e.g., saunas, hot baths, hot drinks), and alcohol consumption.

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Proper care of your skin, such as using non-aggravating facial cleaners and moisturizers, lukewarm water for face cleansing, and wearing non-irritating sunscreen, can assist. Cosmetics are available to help camouflage the redness.

What are the treatments for rosacea?

Your doctor may prescribe medications, in particular, an antibiotic (pill or ointment). Topical (applies to the skin) metronidazole is commonly prescribed, and other antibiotics (clindamycin, tetracyclines) may be particularly helpful...