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By Diane Berson, MD, FAAD
More about Dr. Berson

Diane Berson, MDRosacea is an acne like condition that usually develops in adults. It is similar to acne in that patients develop pink pimples as well as whitish ones. Those affected can also develop redness and enlarged capillaries (blood vessels). This condition can be caused by overuse of cortisone creams on the face, which are present in some over the counter fading creams that patients often use.

The main issue for those with skin of color is that the acne lesions can heal with post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation. The longer the lesions are present, the more likely they are to leave discoloration, so prompt and effective treatment from a dermatologist is important to try to prevent this.

Treatments can include topical retinoids, topical and oral antimicrobials and hormonal treatments for women. Mild and gentle cleansing is recommended; harsh or abrasive cleansers can worsen both the redness and subsequent pigmentation. Skin care products should also contain as few fragrances and preservatives as possible, as this will diminish irritation and discoloration.

Although the background redness may not be as noticeable as in those with fair complexions, this can still be bothersome for those affected. The redness can worsen with various stimuli, including drinking hot beverages and alcohol (especially red wine), eating spicy foods, hormonal fluctuations, sun exposure and in extremes of temperature. Avoiding these precipitating factors may decrease the flushing and blushing in these patients.

Light chemical peels, especially those containing salicylic acid can be performed regularly and will improve both the acne component as well as any residual pigmentation. The redness and blood vessels can be improved with treatments such as IPL (intense pulsed light) and lasers.

"America's Ethnic Skin: an Al Roker Health Special" was sponsored by
AMBI ® Skincare through a grant from Johnson& Johnson Consumer Companies, Inc.

Women's Dermatologic Society
Toll-Free: 1-877-WDS-ROSE (937-7673)
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