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Q:  I was diagnosed with PCOS about 4 years ago. I was also diagnosed with severe Rosacea at about the same time. With doctors' help, I got the rosacea and PCOS both under control, lost 85 lbs, had a baby and am now suffering more than ever. The rosacea I have is believed to be aggravated by my low levels of testosterone and I am now using progesterone cream, along with some other natural remedies. I wonder, have you heard of the connection between PCOS and rosacea?

A: The full name of rosacea is acne rosacea. It involves the nose and surrounding skin - the so-called "butterfly area." In mild forms there is simply redness. There can also be what look like tiny, flat pimples. Eventually the blood vessels enlarge and give a permanent red appearance. There can also be thickening of the skin on the nose.

Rosacea is partly testosterone-dependant so lowering and/or blocking testosterone can help. Topical metronidazole helps as well. Usually the combination works the best.

There is no evidence that progesterone cream helps and I do not recommend it.
Low testosterone does not aggravate rosacea but helps it.

As with ordinary acne, however, few doctors are aware of the hormonal factors in rosacea.

Hope this is helpful.

Geoffrey Redmond, MD

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