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Glycolic Acid Peels for Rosacea

Dear Doctor

My cheeks look like they have a rash, but it’s just a bunch of little spots and it’s so gross and they never go away!! I’m so fed up!!

Glycolic Acid Peels for Rosacea

Dear Patient

This condition is known as Papulopustular Rosacea.

It is characterized by erythematous papules (red swellings) which are associated with tiny pustules (pus filled swellings).


Papulopustular Rosacea Treatment

The treatment of papulopustular rosacea includes the use of:

Avoiding triggers

The first step in treating rosacea is to avoid the triggers that worsen it.


Use mild cleansers

Use mild, non-irritating cleansers to clean the face with lukewarm (not hot or cold) water. Examples include Eucerin Redness Relief Soothing Facial Cleanser for rosacea.


Apply medications

After cleansing, the face should be patted dry with a soft towel and not rubbed. Rosacea treatment medication should be applied on a dry face to avoid irritation. Medications which are used to treat papulopustular rosacea include metronidazole 0.75% or 0.1% gel (Metrogel) and clindamycin solution (Cleocin T).


Take medications

Antibiotics are also taken by mouth to treat rosacea. Examples include doxycycline, tetracycline and minocycline.


Apply moisturizers

Moisturizers without potentially irritating ingredients like alcohol, menthol and camphor can be applied after the rosacea medications.


Apply SPF 30 sunscreen

Sunscreens should be applied every day at least 5 minutes after the rosacea medication. These sunscreen should be broad spectrum (offer protection from UVA and UVB rays) and should have a sun protection factor (SPF) of 30.


Consider using camouflage cosmetics

Green or yellow tinted cosmetics can be used to conceal the redness on the skin. Camouflage cosmetics like cover-up make up like the Smart Cover-up Starter Kit and the Dermablend Cover Cream can also be used to conceal the pimples.


Glycolic Acid Peels for Rosacea

Glycolic acid peels are used to control papulopustular rosacea in some patients. They are often used together with oral antibiotics.

Glycolic acid is a naturally occuring alpha hydroxy acid (AHA) which loosens the glue that holds the dead cells on the surface of the skin together.

20 to 40% glycolic acid peels are usually applied by the doctor to the face for 2 to 5 minutes every 2 to 4 weeks. Their effects are supplemented with the use of a glycolic acid cream every day. Patients should avoid the sun until the resultant redness clears.

Not all persons with rosacea can tolerate these chemical peels as some develop flares and prolonged redness with increased skin sensitivity. 30% Glycolic acid peels can be bought over the counter.

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