Rosacea treatment in London
Rosacea is a highly prevalent skin condition and affects many people in the UK. Rosacea is a chronic skin condition which tends to undergo an unpredictable course. Low grade inflammation is responsible for the facial redness, flushing and the often visible blood vessels or facial thread veins. In untreated cases of rosacea, the patient may develop raised papules and pustules on the face. Rosacea undergoes flare-ups which can last a few weeks to many months followed by spontaneous resolution without any active treatment. Rosacea can in many cases mimic the appearance of active acne.
Rosacea commonly develops after the age of 30, and tends to affect people with lighter skin types. Although rosacea is seen more commonly in women, the more severe grades of rosacea tend to occur in men. In many cases, rosacea can be hereditary with the condition running in families. Currently there is no definitive cure for rosacea but fortunately there are many excellent treatments with a proven track record. Our dermatologists are specially trained in the treatment of rosacea and achieve excellent outcomes to improve the quality of life of sufferers of rosacea.
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All our dermatologists are on the GMC specialist register and our London dermatology clinic at 106 Crawford Street was recently inspected and rated by the Care Quality Commission as good across all five domains of care.
Causes of Rosacea
Rosacea remains an incompletely understood condition and the precise causes are therefore unknown. There are however, a number of possible explanations for the appearance of facial redness:
Defects in blood vessels
The facial redness of rosacea may partly be down to an underlying defect in the superficial blood vessels. The blood vessel dysfunction is possibly linked with raised levels of a number of growth factors including vascular endothelial growth factor and certain prostaglandins and pro-inflammatory cytokines. VEGF is responsible for the profliferation of new blood vessels. VEGF also makes the tiny capillaries more leaky which leads to the plasma part of blood being released into surrounding tissues. This results in the formation of a localised inflammatory process which leads to the commonly observed signs of redness. The prostaglandins are responsible for increasing the diameter of the blood vessels and this also contributes to the redness observed.
In more chronic forms of rosacea, the facial flushing and chronic skin changes are often due to the presence of pro-inflmmatory cytokines. The dermodex mite parasite has also been found in more chronic forms of rosacea. The follicle sebaceous shafts are where the mites tend to reside. Research has shown raised levels of the dermodex mite in rosacea sufferers. With increased levels of mite, skin irritation then becomes an added problem.
Everyday common precipitating causes of rosacea
The exact causes of rosacea are unknown although there are known to be a number of triggers which can make rosacea appear. For any rosacea sufferer, it is important to steer clear of these triggers for optimal control.
- Food with a high spice content such as Indian food
- Heavy alcohol intake
- Hot cups of tea or coffee
- Hot showers, saunas or steam rooms
Clinical features of Rosacea
Rosacea has a number of characteristic clinical features and our dermatologists will accurately assess you to determine your particular sub-type of rosacea. The following clinical features are most commonly found in most forms of rosacea:
- Persistent facial flushing and redness – Patients with rosacea often have diffuse facial redness with associated flushing. In many cases, patients often report their faces feeling very warm when the flushing starts
- Inflammatory lesions (red papules and pustules) – small red lesions that are raised along with small pustule lesions. In papulo-pustular forms of rosacea, acne can be mistakenly misdiagnosed as the two conditions can look very similar. The key distinction lies in the stinging and burning sensation which most patients get with papulo-pustular rosacea.
- Facial thread veins (telangiectasias) – facial thread veins are often seen on the cheeks and nose. These blood vessels are also known as facial telangiectasia and often a feature of the blood vessel inflammation that occurs in rosacea.
- Facial warmth, burning, or stinging sensation – patients often find they experience a warming sensation on the face in the early phase of rosacea which progress to burning and stinging sensations when patients experience an exacerbation of rosacea.
- Facial oedema – swelling of the face is a very common feature of rosacea.
- Disfigurement of the nose – In advanced cases of rosacea and particularly in men, the skin of the nose may begin to thicken and can cause a severe cosmetic disfigurement. This is called rhinophyma and severe cases may even impair breathing.
- Red and watery eyes – ocular rosacea is a distinct subtype of rosacea which often presents as red, watery and irritable eyes. The eyelids can look inflamed mimicking the appearance of a blepharitis. In more advanced cases of ocular rosacea, localised bacterial infections of the eyelids can occur or even visual disturbance in severe cases.
Prevention of Rosacea
The most important aspect of the management of rosacea is learning how to prevent exacerbations of rosacea. Every individual will have certain triggers which may not the be the same in others. Treatment is always tailored to the individual and the specific type of rosacea. Patient education is important in order to understand the condition as much as possible along with the maintenance of good hygiene.
How to prevent rosacea:
- Avoid spicy foods such as Indian food.
- Avoid alcohol or at least reduce consumption to as little as possible. White wine is known to be better than red wine.
- Learn effective stress coping strategies. Stress is a well known trigger of rosacea.
- Avoid the use of aggressive skincare and hair products. Exfoliating skin care products should be avoided.
- Keep well protected from sunlight exposure. Using sunscreen of at least SPF 30 is highly recommended.
- Reduce intake of hot drinks such as tea and coffee.
- Avoid use of heavy make-up and foundation that is water-repellent.
- Avoid use of hot showers, saunas and steam rooms and other environment which could make your skin get hot.
- Tell your dermatologist what medicines you are taking, both prescribed and over the counter. Many medicines can make rosacea worse.
Treatment of Rosacea
Currently, there is no single treatment which will eliminate rosacea. Treatment is therefore targeted based on symptoms, severity and the specific type of rosacea. Combination treatment is usually the best treatment strategy.
Topical prescription medications for rosacea
Brimonidine gel available in either 0.33% or 0.5% strengths. Brimonidine is applied one daily resulting in an improvement in redness which can last up to 12 hours. Treatment must be applied daily as the redness will quickly reappear otherwise. Oxymetalozine have also provided improvements but are not yet routinely available.
Topical metronidazole is used to reduce facial redness and is known to be effective in reducing the pustular component of rosacea. Recurrent of symptoms is uncommon with metronidazole and is generall safe and effective with a small risk of side effects including irritation and dermatitis.
Azelaic acid has antioxidant, antimicrobial and anti inflammatory activities which help to reduce redness and skin thickening. It is applied once daily and is safe to use in pregnancy. Side effects are minor and include irritation, dryness and burning/stinging sensation.
Retinoids such as tretinoin are able to stimulate connective tissue remodelling which helps to repair any sun induced damage. They also have anti-inflammatory actions. In combination with other topicals, tretinoin is able to reduce redness, papules and/or pustules although treatment can take months.
Oral Prescription Medications for rosacea treatment
Tetracycline antibiotics have been for rosacea treatment for over 50 years and are generally safe to use. Doxycycline is used at a 50mg dose for both treatment and prevention of rosacea. Although Doxycycline is an antibiotic, it exerts useful anti-inflammatory effects which help to reduce redness. Other antibiotics such as erythromycin may also be used.
Although topical and oral antibiotic treatments are good for inflammatory aspects of rosacea, they are less effective on improving the diffuse redness and prominent facial blood vessels.
Isotretinoin also known as Roaccutane is usually the last line of treatment for patients who have shown a lack of response to other commonly used treatments. Isotretinoin taken at low doses have resulted in improvement of facial redness, papules and pustules with a lower risk profile. Isotretinoin carries recognised adverse side effects and all patients are placed under close supervision of a dermatologist. It is very important to use adequate contraception while on Isotretinoin as the drug is not safe to use in pregnancy (risk of birth defects).
IPL treatment for rosacea treatment
Rosacea can be very effectively treated with IPL or intense pulsed light, and is commonly used by dermatologists to achieve effective symptom control in relapses of the condition. IPL acts on the small superficial blood vessels located beneath the skin. The pulses of light emitted from the IPL hand piece impart thermal energy to the blood vessels causing them to significantly reduce in size. The appearance of the skin is visibly improved following treatment. Your dermatologist takes special precautions during treatment to prevent injury to other parts of the skin. It is common to experience a degree of mild discomfort during treatment and is often compared to a light flick of an elastic band against the skin. In some cases you may prefer to have a topical anaesthetic applied before treatment. The final results are determined by the number of treatments and how severe the grade of rosacea.
Our specialist dermatology clinic at 106 Crawford Street is a centre of excellence for the treatment of all types of rosacea and facial redness.
Laser treatment for Rosacea
Lasers in the treatment of rosacea are able to reduce both erythema and telangiectasia. The objective is to reduce the density of the blood vessels in the superficial part of the skin which leads to reduction in redness as well as both both flushing symptoms and the burning and stinging sensations. Many types of lasers and light devices have been increasingly used in the treatment of rosacea. Laser can be used for both the two most common subtypes of rosacea – erythemato-telangiectatic (ETR) and papulo-pustular (PPR) forms. The long-pulsed Nd:YAG laser is an excellent laser treatment used by dermatologists at Centre for Surgery. With Nd:YAG treatment, the entire face is treated. There is no requirement for topical anaesthesia although an air cooling device is used to protect the skin and also to reduce discomfort during treatment. Treatment is repeated at 3-4 week intervals.
Patients treated with Nd:YAG laser can become asymptomatic however it cannot be considered a cure as the underlying disease processes are not fully addressed and the patient may get an exacerbation in future. However, in our experience it does lead to long periods of disease remission. Because of lower melanin absorption with Nd:YAG lasers, there is less concern for epidermal damage, and they may be more safely used to treat patients with darker skin. Compared to other lasers, the risk for post-inflammatory hyper-pigmentation is very low. Nd:YAG laser is a very successful treatment in rosacea patients, and the effect among ETR patients was greater than for PPR patients.
Rosacea treatment before and after
Top Rosacea specialists in London
Our specialist dermatologists are experts in the diagnosis, treatment and management of all types of rosacea. We always customise treatment to the individual based on your lifestyle, goals and severity of condition. No two skin types are the same and therefore every case of rosacea is different. Depending on the subtype of rosacea, some patients can get good results with a straightforward topical skincare routine coupled with laser treatments to maintain remission. Other patients will need oral medication early on to control symptoms. Our dermatologists have access to the full range of treatment options using gold standard treatment protocols to ensure your rosacea is kept under control and reduce the risk of potential exacerbations.
What happens at my rosacea consultation at Centre for Surgery?
You will be booked in to see one of our expert dermatologists at Centre for Surgery on Crawford Street in Marylebone for your rosacea consultation.
The dermatologist will perform a thorough clinical examination of your skin and will discuss a number of aspects with you:
– Treatment options based on the type of rosacea you have and what kind of results can be expected with the proposed treatment
– What the treatment involves including how often to apply the medication to the skin if you are prescribed a topical treatment
– Review your medical history including any medicines you may be taking
– Answer your questions about any aspect of the treatment
Patient journey summary:
– Arrange a consultation at our dermatology clinic at 106 Crawford Street, Marylebone for a face to face consultation with an expert dermatologist
– Commence a course of treatment for rosacea based on your needs and preferences
– Arrange a follow-up appointment if required to be seen by your dermatologist to review the effectiveness of treatment
How to find us
Centre for Surgery is located at 106 Crawford Street in Marylebone. Crawford Street is just off Baker Street. We are easily accessible by all major bus routes that pass through Baker Street as well as Baker Street underground station.
From the tube station, we are just a 5 minute walk southwards down Baker Street followed by a right turn onto Crawford Street. The clinic is about 200 yards on the left.
There is ample local pay & display parking in the surrounding area and an NCP car park is located further west along Crawford Street. Our local residential parking zone is the City of Westminster.
Address: 106 Crawford Street, Marylebone, London, W1H 2HY
What is the best way to prevent rosacea?Rosacea is unfortunately an incurable condition and tends to run a chronic course. There are a number of effective treatments to control the condition and prevent relapses of the condition by avoiding factors which precipitate a flare up.
It is well known that certain foods can trigger exacerbations of rosacea and it is useful to keep a daily record of food intake and keep a list of your daily skin care products to identify patterns between possible causes and relapses of rosacea and redness.
It is also important to avoid excessive sun exposure as much as possible and if you are in the sun then to apply SPF30 or higher sunscreen. You should also avoid alcohol and hot beverages containing caffeine. During flare-ups there are a range of skin camouflage products to cover up the redness.
Does drinking alcohol cause rosacea?It is generally well accepted that alcohol consumption is a recognised precipitant of a rosacea flare-up as well being a possible cause for the development of rosacea itself. An increase in alcohol intake significantly increases the risk of developing rosacea. As well as alcohol, there are a number of possible causes of rosacea and these can come from the environment, having a pre-existing medical condition or an emotional event.
It is not however a case of cause and effect as many people have rosacea and do not drink alcohol.
Is rosacea hereditary?There is no clear cut evidence of a link between hereditary factors and the development of rosacea. It is however not uncommon to have first degree relatives who also have rosacea.
Rosacea is a very common skin condition and affects approximately 1% of the UK population.
Who are most at risk of developing rosacea?Patients with rosacea often have one or more of the features below:
- Lighter skinned often with blonde hair and blue eyes
- In their 30s to 50s
- Has someone in their family who suffers from rosacea
- Has a history of or currently suffers from acne
- More common in women
Is rosacea dangerous?Rosacea is not known to be a dangerous condition linked with other more serious skin conditions.
However rosacea can still potentially be a chronic skin condition and this can have a significant impact on one's self confidence and potentially leading to psychological disturbances.
Does rosacea go away by itself?In some cases, rosacea does improve with age but this is quite uncommon.
Will treatment cause my rosacea to away permanently?Rosacea is an incurable skin condition and therefore any treatment for rosacea is not a permanent method of treatment. However with expert management by a dermatologist specialised in rosacea, the condition can be well controlled and any periods of relapse can be treated proactively to prevent adverse symptoms.