Be it sunshine or stress from taxes, spring greets us with red faces and frustrated patients seeking help for their “adult acne”.
As dermatologists, a significant portion of our practice is diagnosing and managing this frustrating chronic condition. Not all red faces are automatically rosacea. Dilated blood vessels from sun damage, contact dermatitis, perioral dermatitis and inappropriate use of steroids can all mimic rosacea.
Likewise, not all “acne” is truly acne. Adding to the confusion is the historic term “acne rosacea”…which refers to rosacea. A complete history and physical examination is recommended for definitive diagnosis. This diagram from AAD can help to distinguish the difference between acne and rosacea.
Once the diagnosis of rosacea is made, skin care strategies including sun protection should be reviewed. Seattle Skin and Laser carries multiple products that may be tailored to your skin type and preference. My personal favorite is EltaMD UV Elements SPF 44, a tinted physical sunscreen that offers excellent coverage with low risk of skin irritation.
In terms of treatment options, I am *so* excited about the Rosacea gel we have started dispensing out of the office. It contains 4 different active ingredients designed to decrease the inflammation found in both erythrotelangiectatic (red face) and papulopustular (bumpy + red face) rosacea. This combination must be compounded and is not available in commercial pharmacies, it also requires a prescription from one of our providers.
For further information, the American Academy of Dermatology and the American Acne and Rosacea Society are both reliable sources of information for both patients and medical professionals. Use Dr. Google at your own risk!
Hoppy Spring and don’t forget your SPF 30+ sun protection.
(Kerrie Spoonemore, MD)