If you've been diagnosed with rosacea, most likely you've been living with its symptoms—perhaps for some time. You may be worried about how your disease will progress or if you'll find relief. Although there isn't yet a cure for rosacea, there is a lot you can do to control the disease. Many people find that with medical treatment and lifestyle changes, they're able to reduce or eliminate symptoms.
Seek Treatment Early
If possible, seek treatment as soon as you're diagnosed. This is important even if your rosacea symptoms don't bother you much. Getting help early on leads to better control of the disease. In fact, early treatment may actually help stop rosacea from progressing.
It's common for people with rosacea to have periods of remission (having few if any symptoms) interrupted by disease flare-ups. A survey by the National Rosacea Society found that about half of people with rosacea have an outbreak or increase in symptoms at least once a month.
The good news is that you can greatly reduce the intensity and frequency of flare-ups by learning what causes them. Some triggers—like sun exposure, alcohol, and stress—are more common than others. But every person's triggers are different.
To identify your personal triggers, keep a diary of day-to-day activities and symptoms. You can download a trigger diary from The National Rosacea Society. A new smartphone app called The Rosacea App is also available to help you zero in on the cause of your flare-ups.
Find (and Follow) the Right Treatment
Depending on your type of rosacea, there are many treatment options available to control it. And if you follow your treatment plan exactly as your doctor instructs, you increase your chance of staying in remission.
For example, people with ocular rosacea, whose eyes are affected by the condition, may benefit from taking an oral antibiotic or steroid eye drops. After therapy, patients often remain symptom-free for months or even years if they wash their eyelids carefully.
Those who have the type of rosacea that causes bumps and pimples may be prescribed a combination of oral and topical medicine. Together, these therapies have been shown to reduce symptoms quickly. Once the disease is in remission, many people can stay symptom-free by continuing to apply the topical medication faithfully. In fact, one six-month study found that 77 percent of rosacea patients who continued long-term topical therapy stayed in remission. About 42 percent of those who didn't follow the treatment plan had a relapse of symptoms.
In addition, laser light therapy is a fairly new treatment that can be combined with other types of therapies. It eliminates visible blood vessels, which reduces redness and flushing—some of the most difficult symptoms to treat. Laser treatment on blood vessels is permanent, although some people will eventually develop new blood vessels in their place. However, results can last quite some time. Some people report a reduction in redness and flushing for up to eight years after laser treatment.
Don't Give Up
There are many advances in the treatment of rosacea, and new research continues to improve the outlook for those with the disease. The key to controlling your rosacea is to work closely with your doctor, identify and avoid your triggers, and follow your treatment plan.