Posts Tagged ‘physician’

Acne and Rosacea, Part 2

Monday, May 28th, 2012

Some people give rosacea cute tags like “The Curse of the Celts” because it is thought to be more predominant in folks with fair skin. Others call it “The Blight of the Baby Boomers” because the average age of onset is mid-40s. By any name, this chronic inflammatory skin disorder is definitely not cute.

About 13 million Americans — mostly women between the ages of 30 and 50 — suffer from rosacea. It develops gradually over time, worsens in stages and doesn’t go away on its own.

Early on, rosacea is characterized by frequent flushing or reddening of the skin, which is caused by inflamed blood vessels and hair follicles.

This flushing sensation feels hot, uncomfortable and tingly — much like a flush from anger or embarrassment.

As rosacea develops, the flushing is accompanied by painful red bumps called “papules” and whitish pus bumps called “pustules,” as well as web-like formations of enlarged blood vessels. Untreated, rosacea can eventually cause raised masses of skin called “nodules,” and in its last stage it can cause the nose to take on a bulbous appearance — like the late comedian and actor W.C. Fields.

“Rosacea is somewhat of a mystery to us because we don’t know exactly what causes it,” says Gurevitch. “To the average person, it can look a lot like acne. But there are real differences. For example rosacea doesn’t produce blackheads and whiteheads. Also, controlled sun exposure can be beneficial for folks with acne but it’s not good for anyone with rosacea because the heat can cause the skin to flush.”

In fact, some say exposure to the sun may be at the root of this skin disorder. “We think this is a sun-related disorder because we almost never see it in patients without sun-damage to their skin,” says Dr. David J. Leffell, a dermatologist, professor of dermatology and plastic surgery, and researcher at Yale University in New Haven, Conn. Hyperion will publish his new book, “Total Skin,” in spring 2011.

“It makes sense that fair skin is more susceptible to this disorder,” says Leffell. “The fairer your skin, the less pigment it has and the more damaging the sun’s rays. We’re probably seeing an increase in the number of rosacea cases because there’s more sun hitting the earth than ever before.”

Another contributing factor may be skin mites, which naturally live in face hair follicles, says Leffell. When the mites clog up the follicles, they can cause inflammation, which can, in turn, trigger a flare up.

Folks at the National Rosacea Society in Barrington, Ill., say environment can play a big role in triggering flare-ups as well. On their Web site, they post an extensive list of factors, such as extreme weather, exercise and lift-and-load jobs, chronic coughing, caffeine withdrawal, hot baths and saunas, alcoholic or hot beverages, and high emotions, like stress, anger and embarrassment.

In addition, they say diet and certain foods also may trigger flare-ups — yet another factor that makes rosacea different from acne. These foods include yogurt, sour cream, cheese (except cottage cheese), soy sauce, liver, yeast extract (bread is OK), broad leaf beans and pods (like lima and navy beans, and peas), eggplant, avocados, spinach, citrus fruits, tomatoes, bananas, red plums, raisins, figs, chocolate, vanilla, vinegar, spicy and hot foods.

Rosacea, while not yet curable, is controllable with oral prescription medications and topical creams. And when it comes to washing this delicate skin, the key, too, is to use gentle products.

“Bland is good,” says Leffell. “Wash with warm water and a gentle, nonsoap product. Avoid using hair and skin care products containing alcohol because it dilates the blood vessels. Only use products that are hypoallergenic and noncomedogenic, which means they don’t cause blackheads.”

Remember, rosacea can often be mistaken for acne. It is very important to have this condition diagnosed and treated by a physician because many forms of acne treatment won’t work for rosacea — and in some cases can actually make it worse.

Ask The Nutrition Experts

Tuesday, March 27th, 2012

How much should I weigh?

You should weigh what is considered “healthy” for your size and shape, and that may not be what you weighed in high school. If you have gained less than 10 pounds since becoming an adult and are considered “healthy” by your physician, you may be at your “healthy weight.” (more…)