Is Rosacea Treatment Different for Men?

Rosacea in men questionQuestion:   I am writing to  you about my husband.  He has rosacea and   so far  nothing seems to help.  Are there different  products for  helping men with rosacea?

Answer: April is Rosacea Awareness Month and the perfect time to answer this question.  Rosacea is  a common skin problem that affects  an estimated 16  million Americans. It causes  frequent  skin flushing, acne  like breakouts, skin thickening and  can even affect the eyes.  While there  are  a number  of theories out there,  we don’t really know the cause.  What we do  know is that people with rosacea  have an overactive immunue response to foods and the environment.  In response to  sunlight, spicy foods, alcohol and heat,  they over produce  natural antibiotics called cathlicidens.This  causes blood vessels  to expand and the skin  to look red and irritated.

Rosacea  Differences in Men and Women

While it  is  3X as common in women, men are 2X more likely to develop more severe skin problems with  thickened skin on cheeks and on the nose. Part of the problem in treating rosacea in  men  is  dealing with their  beard.  Daily shaving  can be extremely irritating  and leave it prone to breakouts and infection. In addition shaving creams and after shave lotions  usually contain ingredients like menthol, mint and camphor.  These are designed to cool the skin and  relieve  “razor burn”, but  in  men with rosacea they can trigger flushing. A  better option would be a electric razor that does not require  additional products and whose blades do not  scrape the skin.  Another option  would be  to actually grow a tidy, neat beard.  It   will hide flushing and will avoid irritation of a daily shave. While a beard  may mean  its harder to treat the skin,  Dr Gary Goldenberg of Mount Sinai Medical Center believes that  it won’t  increase  symptoms.

Its also important that   your husband avoid  rosacea triggers.  He should wear a mineral based sunscreen  every day ( if he does grow a beard, he should use the sunscreen on  the areas  the beard  does not cover.  He should avoid alcohol, spicy food, saunas, and very hot coffe and soup.  Exercise can really  provoke flushing,  so its important to take  a cool  shower  after a gym workout or  long run.

One final  thought: Studies have shown that  people with rosacea  have  an increased risk of heart disease. Some  researchers believe that its due to the  frequent  high levels of inflammation in the body.  Its important  that  he  watch his cholesterol, control blood pressure and   get an annual  check up that includes an EKG. And he is lucky to hve a wife  who cares!

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