While our culture offers many opportunities for instant gratification, unfortunately the management of rosacea is not one of them.
“Patients should give any new treatment at least 12 weeks to do its job,” said Dr. Julie Harper, president and owner of the Dermatology and Skin Care Center of Birmingham and a member of the NRS medical advisory board.
Rosacea is a chronic inflammatory condition. While topical treatments like oxymetazoline or brimonidine can reduce redness quickly, Dr. Harper noted that therapies targeting systemic inflammation to reduce bumps, pimples and ocular symptoms take much longer to work. Even with treatment and the avoidance of triggers, the underlying disease process will still be present, so managing the condition must be ongoing.
If you’re starting a new treatment plan, here’s some advice to increase your chances of seeing a positive result.
Give it time. Rosacea is a chronic condition that won’t go away overnight. Expect to spend some time finding the right treatment plan — it could take months — and give any new therapy plenty of time to work.
Be honest with your healthcare provider. If you struggle to stay organized and taking an oral prescription seems challenging, tell your doctor. If you prefer swallowing a pill to putting lotion on your face, say so. There are a variety of treatment options available and your dermatologist can work with you to find one that improves your rosacea and works with your lifestyle.
Track your progress. Take your picture at the same time every day. Stand in a place with good lighting and take a close-up. Another option is to count the bumps and pimples. While they may not go away all at once, quantifying the improvement may keep you motivated to stay on track.
Stay consistent. Only using medications during flare-ups is insufficient to combat rosacea. Use your gentle cleansing routine, sun protection, trigger avoidance and therapeutic regimen every single day. It’s much easier to keep your skin clear than to get it back under control.