Rosacea Fact Sheet

Rosacea is a skin disorder that causes recurrent facial redness and flushing. Get the facts about this common problem here.

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If your face is red and ruddy, you could have rosacea, a skin disorder that affects approximately 5% of the U.S. population. Get informed about this common problem with this fact sheet:

Symptoms

  • Redness and flushing usually in the central area of the face (the forehead, nose, cheeks and chin), which may be either temporary or persistent
  • Irritated pustules that may resemble acne and may contain pus
  • Spider veins on the face that don't go away
  • Thickening of the skin on the nose that may make the nose appear larger (more common in men)
  • Eye dryness, irritation and swollen, red eyelids occur in half of people with rosacea
  • Burning or stinging sensation of facial skin
  • Symptoms may be worse with sun exposure, emotional stress, hot weather, wind, heavy exercise, alcohol, hot baths, cold weather and spicy foods.

Related: How to Reverse Rosacea Symptoms

Causes
The redness and flushing associated with rosacea is thought to be due to increased numbers of blood vessels close to the skin's surface. These blood vessels may dilate more often or more dramatically in people with rosacea, leading to increased blood flow to facial skin. The cause of these vessel problems is unknown, but there are theories that it may be due to an immune response to mites or bacteria on the skin, or may even be related to the amount and type of gastrointestinal bacteria.

Rosacea is more common in people ages 30-60, in women, in people with fair skin and for those with a family history of the condition.

Diagnosis
There is no specific test for rosacea, so your doctor will usually diagnose it based on your symptoms and the appearance of your skin.

Treatment
While rosacea can't be cured, some treatments may help control symptoms and reduce redness.


Medications
Some antibiotic ointments or pills may have anti-inflammatory effects. Certain acne medications may also help resolve some of the cysts, nodules or pustules that sometimes accompany rosacea.  

Laser Therapy
Laser therapy has been shown to help reduce flushing and redness in rosacea. It works by destroying blood vessels that lead to symptoms, while leaving surrounding tissue intact.

Alternative Therapies
Green tea cream may have calming effects that help soothe irritation and inflammation. Rose hip oil also contains vitamins E and A as well as other vitamins and minerals that help support skin rejuvenation and may help reduce inflammation. To try these alternative therapies, apply one to the affected area once a day, but stop immediately if any irritation occurs.

Related: More Skin Care Ingredients to Treat Rosacea Symptoms

Avoid Triggers
Wear broad-spectrum sunscreen of SPF 30 or higher and reapply every 1 to 3 hours when outside. Cover your face with a scarf or mask during the cold winter. Avoid foods that trigger your symptoms. Use gentle soaps, cleansers and lotions that are alcohol-free. Green-tinted foundation may help mask redness.