What is Rosacea?

Rosacea is a common chronic skin condition mainly affecting the face. It is especially common in women and teenagers.

What are the Causes of Rosacea?

It is not yet clear what causes rosacea. However, symptoms appear when blood vessels expand due to triggers like excessive exposure to the sun, hot temperatures, spicy food, and alcohol.

What are the Types of Rosacea?

There are 4 known subtypes of rosacea:

  • Erythematotelangiectatic rosacea: Redness, flushing, visible blood vessels on the skin.
  • Papulopustular rosacea: Acne-like breakouts with redness.
  • Phymatous rosacea: Thick bumpy textured skin.
  • Ocular rosacea: Red eyes, thick eyelids, swollen and beady appearance that looks like a sty.
Types of Rosacea

What are the Symptoms and Signs of Rosacea?

The symptoms and signs of rosacea appear mainly on the face. Sometimes they extend to the neck and back.

Symptoms and signs of Erythematotelangiectatic rosacea include:

  • Redness and flushing on the face
  • Dry, rough, scaly skin
  • Sensitive skin
  • Swollen skin
  • Broken blood vessels that are visible (spider veins) Raised patches of skin
  • Stinging and burning skin
  • Tendency to blush and flush more common than other individuals

Symptoms and signs of Papulopustular rosacea include:

  • Acne-like breakouts (usually where the skin is very red) that exaggerate and subside spontaneously
  • Oily skin
  • Skin may be very sensitive
  • Skin may burn and sting
  • Visible broken blood vessels (spider veins)
  • Raised patches of skin called plaques

Symptoms and signs of Phymatous rosacea include:

  • Bumpy skin texture
  • Thick skin on the nose, forehead, cheeks, ears and chin
  • Large pores
  • Visible broken blood vessels

Symptoms and signs of Ocular rosacea include:

  • Bloodshot and watery eyes
  • Gritty feeling, like sand in the eyes
  • Burning sensation in the eyes
  • Eyes feel dry, stingy and itchy
  • Eyes sensitive to light with occasionally blurry vision
  • Cyst on the eyelid
Symptoms & Signs of Rosacea

How do you Diagnose Rosacea?

There are no known tests for confirming rosacea, it is purely a clinical diagnosis.

However, the doctor can diagnose rosacea as follows:

  • Examining the skin appearance
  • Asking about your symptoms and medical history
  • Asking about any known triggers
  • If the doctor suspects an underlying medical condition or illness, such as lupus or menopause, blood tests or skin biopsy may be ordered.

Patient may be referred to a dermatologist to confirm the diagnosis.

How do you Treat Rosacea?

Though rosacea is incurable, it can effectively be controlled by managing the symptoms.

To treat papules and pustule

Topical application creams and oral medications are available.

Topical medications include the following:

Applying Metronidazole Cream  Can Help Treat Rosacea
  • Azelaic acid cream or gel
  • Ivermectin cream
  • Alpha-hydroxy acid peels are used to reduce redness of the skin

To treat skin thickening

Dermatologists or plastic surgeons use a variety of surgical treatments to remove any overgrowth of tissue and remodel the nose that is distorted due to severe rosacea.

Surgical treatments include a laser, a scalpel, dermabrasion technique, intense pulsed light therapy, and electro surgery.

Laser and intense pulsed light (IPL) treatment

Redness, flushing, and visible blood vessels caused by rosacea can be successfully improved with a vascular laser or intense pulsed light (IPL) treatment. The visible blood vessels in the skin are bombarded with narrow beams of light produced by laser and IPL machines. The heat from the lasers damages the dilated veins and causes them to shrink and fade away with minimal scarring or damage to the surrounding area. Laser treatment is mildly painful.

How do you Prevent Rosacea?

The best way to prevent rosacea is by avoiding the triggers that flare up the symptoms.

Some of the triggers include the following:

  • Spicy foods
  • High temperatures and direct sun exposure
  • Alcoholic beverages
  • Having intestinal infection with Helicobacter pylori
  • A skin mite
  • Dairy products such as yogurt, sour cream, cheese (except cottage cheese)
  • Chocolate
  • Soy sauce
  • Yeast extract
  • Eggplants, avocados, spinach
  • Some beans and pods
  • Citrus fruits including tomatoes, bananas, red plums, raisins, or figs
Avoiding the Triggers is the Best Way to Prevent Rosacea

How Rosacea can affect Quality of Life?

Rosacea can affect the quality of life minimally or severely depending on how severe the symptoms are and how well they are tolerated by the skin. Rosacea symptoms have periodic exaggerations and remissions. These symptoms are easily controllable.

Individuals with mild symptoms do not commonly seek medical help. People with moderate to severe rosacea may require long-term treatment with oral antibiotics, lasers, and other therapies. The doctor helps patients to understand the pattern of their rosacea and develop a treatment and diet plan to keep it from hindering their daily lives.

It is seen that individuals with severe rosacea suffer from extreme psychological, social, and emotional symptoms and need counseling. They may also develop social phobias and depression.

Overall, well diagnosed and effectively treated rosacea helps people to carry on a regular life with confidence.

Health tips

There are a number of things you can do to help keep the symptoms of rosacea under control.

  • Avoiding foods and drinks that trigger your symptoms.
  • Use sun protection by applying sunscreen and covering yourself when subjected to direct sunlight.
  • Take care of your skin by using well-suited products for sensitive skin and products free of chemicals that may act as triggers.
  • Nourish your skin with moisturizers and oils.
  • Maintain good hygiene by washing the face periodically.
  • Drink enough water to keep skin hydrated.


  1. Rosacea - (https://www.aad.org/public/diseases/acne-and-rosacea/rosacea)
  2. Rosacea symptoms - (http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/rosacea/symptoms-causes/dxc-20235172)
  3. Rosacea - FAQ - (http://acnefoundation.org/rosacea/rosacea-faq/)

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