New FDA approved gel for rosacea

New FDA approved gel for rosacea

If you struggle to conceal facial redness, you know that the wintertime makes it even more difficult.  cooler, drier air - and holiday eating - aggravates rosacea, a skin disease that can be embarrassing and tough to treat.

Ginger Royer first noticed her pink cheeks when she was a teen.  "My cheeks would get kind of red and flushed after PE and exercising and running," she said, "in the cold wind, I started to notice that my cheeks would burn a little bit."

That redness only got worse as Ginger got older, becoming something she tried to hide.  "I tried a lot of over-the-counter creams and medications and not much success with those," she said.

Ginger decided to talk to Imperial Health dermatologist Maureen Olivier about the redness and was told she had a chronic, inflammatory skin condition called rosacea.  "It can be manifest as simply a redness or a flushing of the face, or it can progress into having acne type bumps," said Dr. Olivier.

Over the years, dermatologists have managed rosacea with a combination of treatments, from creams and lotions to washes and oral medications.  But that can be limiting to certain patients, including those that are pregnant, like Ginger.  "Some people don't tolerate oral antibiotics very well or just choose not to take them," said Dr. Olivier.

Enter a new prescribed topical gel called "Mirvaso," approved by the Food and Drug Administration in August.  Dr. Olivier calls it a breakthrough in rosacea treatment.  "To be so simple and treat such a difficult problem, cosmetically disturbing problem to many patients, is really an advance," she said.

The medication comes in tubes and just a little bit will go a long way.  It rubs in smooth and clear and can be used under makeup and lotion.  "It keeps my cheeks from getting red again and it helps with the texture of my skin, it feels smoother," said Ginger.

The gel is rubbed onto the forehead, chin, nose and cheeks once a day and lasts for 12 hours, getting to the root of the redness.  "It constricts the blood vessels in the face," said Dr. Olivier, "it's similar to what we use in nose sprays to constrict the blood vessels.:

While it is not a cure for rosacea, Ginger says it is keeping her redness at bay at a time of year it typically flares up.  "I don't have to worry about taking pictures during the holidays, if my cheeks are going to be too red because I have that on," said Ginger, "I had it on for Thanksgiving and my face was fine without the redness."

Mirvaso is covered by some insurances and there is also a savings card available to keep the price around $50.  The common side effects are burning in the skin and sensitivity.

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