What Is Rosacea?

Rosacea is a long-term (chronic) skin disease that causes facial redness. Rosacea appears mainly in adults. Light-skinned people who tend to flush are most often affected. It may be made worse by the following:

  • Sun exposure

  • Heat

  • Stress

  • Hot or cold weather

  • Strenuous exercise

  • Eating spicy foods

  • Drinking alcohol and caffeine

  • Getting embarrassed

Rosacea is rarely a health risk. But the symptoms of this disease can be painful and hurt your self-image. If you have rosacea, know that treatment and self-care can help.

A disease with changing symptoms

The exact cause of rosacea is unknown. Some possible causes may include:

  • Overactive immune system

  • Genetics

  • Environmental factors

  • Too much of a certain microscopic mite on the skin

  • Increased inflammation in the face

  • Increased blood flow in the face

  • Certain medicines

Rosacea has 4 main types of symptoms that affect the skin. They are described below. Some people with rosacea also have problems with their eyes. This is called ocular rosacea. Your eyelids may be red, swollen, burning, or itchy. You may feel as if sand is in your eyes. From day to day, symptoms can come and go. They may get worse or improve. Correct treatment is important to prevent future eyesight problems.

Symptoms of rosacea


The central part of the face often flushes. This includes the cheeks, chin, forehead, and nose. The color can range from pink to red. Flushing can often include a burning feeling in the skin, rather than itching. The flushing can come and go. Alcohol or hot drinks can make flushing worse. There are few good treatments for those who have only flushing as the main symptoms of their rosacea. So staying away from known triggers is the key. 

Dilated blood vessels

Tiny enlarged (dilated) blood vessels (telangiectasias) may form a web-like pattern on 1 or more parts of the face.

Acne-like lesions

Acne-like lesions appear on the face. They are called papules, pustules, and nodules. And they tend to occur above the nose, on the cheeks, and on the chin. They may come and go. Facial redness and tiny dilated blood vessels tend to persist.

Enlargement of the nose

With severe rosacea, redness and swelling may enlarge the nose (rhinophyma) due to thickening of the skin. Thickened skin may also occur on the forehead, chin, cheeks, and ears. This occurs most often in men.

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