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Anti-aging cream could reduce rosacea redness

March 2, 2012 12:00:00 AM PST
More than 16 million Americans have the skin condition known as rosacea. Researchers are taking a closer look at a new cream that could help many of those people get a better handle on the facial redness that comes with the condition.

It's an all-too-common skin condition that keeps many people under cover.

"Some people get itching. Some people get burning," said dermatologist Dr. Mark Nestor.

Rosacea can cause visible blood vessels, bumps, pimples, flushing and redness.

"The redness and flushing can be very debilitating," said Dr. Nestor. "People don't want to be seen like that."

Dr. Nestor says it's not life-threatening, but it's often life-altering. A study by the National Rosacea Society found 76 percent of people say rosacea has lowered their self-esteem; 41 percent say they've canceled social engagements because of it.

Now a cream called PyratineXR, developed as an anti-aging treatment, appears to reduce the appearance of redness, something very few products have been able to do.

"The studies have been very promising, shown very effective. Our patients have also been very happy with the effect of this," said Nestor.

A University of California-Irvine 48-week study showed significant benefit in 80 percent of patients, including a 90-percent reduction in the appearance of lesions.

The product contains cytokinins, a class of plant-growth factors widely studied for its ability to rejuvenate skin. But dermatologists say it's not FDA-approved for rosacea, and as an over-the-counter treatment it can't make any claims.

Some dermatologists say the cream not only helps redness due to rosacea but can also improve redness from irritation and sensitive skin.

PyrateneXR runs about $138 for a two-month supply.


BACKGROUND: Rosacea is a chronic skin disease that causes pain, swelling, and skin sores similar to acne and makes the face turn red. According to the National Rosacea Society, the disease affects approximately 16 million Americans. Fair-skinned women between the ages 30 and 60 are more likely to develop rosacea. The cause and cure for the disease is unknown, but it does involve the swelling of blood vessels under the skin and is commonly associated with other skin disorders such as, acne vulgaris.

EFFECTS ON THE PSYCHE: Rosacea can cause outbreaks of small, red, pus filled bumps on the face and neck, rhinophyma, visible red blood vessels on the face, burning or gritty sensation in the eyes, and the tendency to blush easily. Because the disease has such visible effects on a person's appearance, it can cause one to have lowered self esteem. In a survey performed by the National Rosacea Society, more than 76 percent of rosacea patients said their condition had lowered their self-confidence and self-esteem, and 41 percent reported that it had caused them to avoid public contact or cancel social engagements. Also, among more severe patients, 88 percent said the disorder had affected their professional interactions, and 51 percent said they had missed work because of their condition.

A NEW HOPE: There is not a known cure for the disease, but there are plenty of treatments available. Most patients who have rosacea experience it in stages, pre-rosacea, vascular rosacea, and inflammatory rosacea. The disease usually does not clear up on its own, so most patients should see a doctor as soon as they can detect the disease. The doctor will prescribe either topical medications (medication applied to the face twice a day to reduce inflammation), oral antibiotics (for anti-inflammatory), or isotretinoin (a powerful oral medication sometimes used for severe cases of inflammatory rosacea if other treatment options fail to improve symptoms). The duration of treatment depends on the type and severity of symptoms, but typically there will be improvement within one to two months. Symptoms may recur if the patient stops taking medications, long-term regular treatment is often necessary. There are many different options for treatment, but a new cream has recently been under study.

PyratineXR: This cream was originally designed to treat anti-aging because it rapidly improves skin texture in days, diminishes dark spots or blotches, and repairs dry, damaged skin. It also decreases skin hyper pigmentation, and melasma discoloration. Lastly, it can significantly reduce erythema, lesions, and spider veins associated with rosacea.

A Clinical Study: In 2008, a 48 week long study at the Department of Dermatology at University of California found that patients experienced a 22-percent decrease of erythema at week 12, and progressed to a 45-percent decrease by week 36. Also there was a 21-percent decrease in papules and pustules by week 4 with a continued improvement to 89.5-percent decrease at week 48. The study showed that treatment with Pyratine improves the skin barrier function as well as a continuous reduction in facial redness, acne lesions, and spider veins associated with mild to moderate rosacea. Also, it improved skin roughness by 86 percent, increased skin moisture content by 41 percent, and reduced fine wrinkles by 22 percent.