Lifewatch: Rosacea

WILMINGTON -- Millions of Americans suffer from a skin disease called rosacea.

Patient Mark Callaway is undergoing a high-tech laser treatment to improve his ruddy complexion.

"I thought it was just rosy cheeks, or what most people might call it," said Callaway.

Dermatologist Janice Warner said rosacea usually starts with simple redness in the center of the face.

As people age, blood vessels can become more prominent.

"It's both an overgrowth of blood vessels as well as bacteria that gets into the skin," said Dr. Warner.

If left untreated, the condition may worsen over time.

"We may begin to see thickening of the skin with some enlargement of the oil glands and thickening of the nasal skin," said Dr. Warner.

Sun exposure can aggravate rosacea.  Patients are warned to wear a high number SPF with UVA protection.

They are also warned to avoid spicy foods, alcohol, and extreme temperatures.

Prescription topical ointments and oral anti-biotics may help.

In some cases, laser treatments may be an option.

They not only reduce the visibility of enlarged blood vessels, but they can help your skin look younger as well.

Reported by Kristy Ondo