Face flushing
April 23, 2005 4:52 PM   Subscribe

I've recently noticed my face is flushing frequently, with the appearance of a few red blemishes I can't get rid of (like a blocked pore surrounded by red). I live in a cold country, so the weather might have something to do with it, and I've tried eliminating any of alcohol, coffee, cigarettes, marijuana, and other more heinous substances, but they won't go away. Does anybody have any advice as how to eliminate these blemishes, or prevent more from showing up?
posted by jon_kill to Health & Fitness (9 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Best answer: Could it be rosacea? I see advertisements on TV for treatments for it; WebMD might have more information.
posted by muddgirl at 5:57 PM on April 23, 2005

Ack, I forgot to add, see your physician, just in case.
posted by muddgirl at 6:00 PM on April 23, 2005

Oh, crap. Welcome to the club, sweetie. It's probably rosacea. There's a variety of treatments to keep it under control, so you should see a dermatologist as soon as possible. You'll probably get a prescription for a medication such as Metrocreme, which should help keep those pusstules under control, and you may also get another topical treatment to reduce redness.

Avoiding anything that causes flushing is a good idea, because the more you flush, the worse it gets. Unattended cases of rosacea can lead to ocular problems, and many people, especially men, develop the W.C. Fields bulbous red nose. Alcohol, direct sunlight, hot drinks and food (both temperature and spice), exercise, cold weather, wind, hot weather, even some odd foods such as tomatoes may cause you to flush and have flare-ups. But it's highly individual -- some people are sensitive to things that don't bother other rosaceans.

For now, take a look at Rosacea.org, the site for the National Rosacea Society. They're pretty comprehensive.
posted by maudlin at 6:26 PM on April 23, 2005

I have rosacea, combined with facial eczema.

It's a bitch, but i'm living with it...

I'm currently using elidel cream, as prescribed my my derm.

hope this helps
posted by phredhead at 6:26 PM on April 23, 2005

Eww. "Pusstules" looks even more icky than "pustules". Sorry about that typo.

Laser treatments work quite well for any broken blood vessels and extensive redness. I got quite a bit of improvement from just 2 sessions. I'm a wuss about pain, but it was pretty tolerable, getting uncomfortable around the creases of my nose only.
posted by maudlin at 6:31 PM on April 23, 2005

I'm thinking rosacea as well. I've had rosacea for about 5 years and I've tried just about everything to keep my skin under control. I've found that a light cleanser such as cetaphil, rinsed with luke warm water, and followed by a light coating of vitamin E oil morning and night keeps my skin under the best control. The oil may cause a few pimples at first, but they should go away pretty quick. The dry patchy red spots literally started to clear up the first day I used the vitamin E oil and now the only time I breakout is when I forget to put it on.
posted by a22lamia at 9:01 PM on April 23, 2005

Piggy-backing on the original question: has anyone had experience using Tetracycline to treat rosacea? With a recently diagnosed case of mild rosacea, Metrogel hasn't been very effective, and the dermatologist wants to try Tetracycline pills for three months. The side effects are a concern, so I'm curious if anyone has had good results?
posted by cyniczny at 11:29 PM on April 23, 2005

I had a mild flareup under my eye. Doc prescribed a fairly heavy dose of tetracycline at first, eventually tailing off to basically one pill a month. Took about 2 months overall. Worked like a charm. No side effects that i noticed.
posted by baltimore at 6:35 AM on April 24, 2005

I've had two cycles of Tetracycline, 500 mg morning and night for 30 days each. I had no side effects, but I did make sure to eat 1/2 cup of yogurt with live bacillus every day during the cycles to avoid GI upset.

The July 2004 cycle cleared up most of my acne (yes, in addition to rosacea, I've had mild to moderate acne since my teens -- lovely) and eased up the redness a bit. I didn't see any huge improvements, but then, I have no pustules, just redness and some broken capillaries. After a few months, my acne came back and I tried another cycle in December. However, this cycle had no good effects that I could see -- even my acne stayed stable. So antibiotics might work for you, but don't expect to do as well on repeated cycles as resistance builds.

What results did you expect from Metrogel? It's not designed to reduce the redness much, accoring to my doctor, but I have used Metrocreme faithfully and have had no pustules develop and very few flare-ups, so I consider it effective for those reasons. In Canada, we use Rosacure for controlling the redness, and I've seen moderately good results with that. It's also a useful moisturizer for the dry patches that sometimes accompany rosacea.

There are other metronidazole medications besides Metrogel/creme. I tried Noritate 1% solution for a few days, but while I found that it irritated my skin, other people swear by it. You might ask your dermatologist for a sample. There are other anti-redness creams as well, although I have found these to be slightly irritating, too, and am sticking with Rosacure.

Dr. Geoffrey Nase is selling a book describing how the use of anti-flushing agents, repeated photoderm laser treatments over the entire flushing-prone area, and even Accutane for the worst cases, can significantly improve rosacea. I haven't spent the money on it yet, and keep forgetting to mention him to my dermatologist. but he may or may not be onto something. I'm at the point where I may risk US$30 (plus shipping) on it. Has anyone else bought the book and used it to direct more effective treatment?
posted by maudlin at 7:23 AM on April 24, 2005

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