You've been diagnosed with rosacea, but you're still confused -- perhaps you've tried certain medications to no avail, and you're not sure whether your facial redness and bumps are due to too much sun or to something you ate. You'd like to talk to someone to get some advice.
A dermatologist, a physician who specializes in dealing with the skin and its diseases, is the health-care professional best qualified to accurately diagnose your condition and determine the best course of medical treatment.
In addition to graduating from medical school and completing a one-year general residency, a dermatologist must complete a three-year residency in dermatology, then must pass an examination given by the American Board of Dermatology.
With all this special training and experience in skin diseases, a dermatologist is your partner in developing a treatment plan that is tailored to your individual case. This is especially important because rosacea is a chronic disorder that may grow progressively worse if ineffectively treated.
Initially, a dermatologist may prescribe both oral tablets and a topical medication to manage rosacea. An initial course of an oral antibiotic is often prescribed to rapidly bring the condition under control.
Later, the dermatologist may adjust your medical therapy according to your individual response. Long-term use of oral antibiotics may cause side effects in some patients, such as nausea, gastrointestinal problems, phototoxicity (light sensitivity) and, in women, genital yeast infections.
Thus, dermatologists often prescribe long-term therapy with a topical medication alone. Topical antibiotics have been found to be widely effective in reducing rosacea's symptoms and keeping it under control with minimal side effects.
In addition, if you have a concurrent medical condition that requires treatment, your dermatologist will ensure that the medications chosen for one disorder do not have an adverse effect on another.
While some managed health-care plans may limit referrals to dermatologists, today there is a growing movement to permit patients with skin problems to see a dermatologist directly.1
Direct Access, Tanning Legislation Top State Agendas. Dermatology World. 1996;September:10.