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Definition

Rosacea is a chronic skin problem that makes your face turn red. It may also cause swelling and skin sores that look like acne.

Alternative Names

Acne rosacea

Causes

The cause is not known. You may be more likely to have this if you are:

  • Age 30 to 50
  • Fair-skinned
  • A woman

Rosacea causes swelling of the blood vessels just under the skin. It may be linked with other skin disorders (acne vulgaris, seborrhea) or eye disorders (blepharitis, keratitis).

Symptoms

Symptoms may include:

  • Redness of the face
  • Blushing or flushing easily
  • A lot of spider-like blood vessels (telangiectasia) of the face
  • Red nose (may also be bulbous in appearance)
  • Acne-like skin sores that may ooze or crust
  • Burning or stinging feeling in the face
  • Irritated, bloodshot, watery eyes

The condition is less common in men, but the symptoms tend to be more severe.

Exams and Tests

Your health care provider can often diagnose rosacea by doing a physical exam and asking questions about your medical history.

Treatment

There is no known cure for rosacea.

Your provider will help you identify the things that make your symptoms worse. These are called triggers. Triggers vary from person to person. Avoiding your triggers may help you prevent or reduce flare-ups.

Some things you can do to help ease or prevent symptoms include:

  • Avoid sun exposure. Use sunscreen every day.
  • Avoid a lot of activity in hot weather.
  • Try to reduce stress. Try deep breathing, yoga, or other relaxation techniques.
  • Limit spicy foods, alcohol, and hot beverages.

Other triggers may include wind, hot baths, cold weather, specific skin products, exercise, or other factors.

  • Antibiotics taken by mouth or applied to the skin may control acne-like skin problems. Ask your provider.
  • Isotretinoin is a strong drug that your provider might consider. It is used in people who have severe rosacea that hasn't improved after treatment with other medicines.
  • Rosacea is not acne and will not improve with over-the-counter acne treatment.

In very bad cases, laser surgery may help reduce the redness. Surgery to remove some swollen nose tissue may also improve your appearance.

Outlook (Prognosis)

Rosacea is a harmless condition, but it may cause you to be self-conscious or embarrassed. It cannot be cured, but may be controlled with treatment.

Possible Complications

Complications may include:

  • Lasting changes in appearance (for example, a red, swollen nose)
  • Lower self-esteem

Gallery

Rosacea
Rosacea is a condition where the area of the cheeks, nose, chin, forehead, or eyelids become inflamed. It is a chronic skin disorder that can cause redness, prominent blood vessels, swelling, or skin eruptions similar to acne. Rosacea occurs most often in fair skinned people, particularly those who blush easily. It is also more common in women.
Rosacea
Rosacea has multiple phases, beginning with flushing of the skin, followed by redness, followed by the development of small blood vessels visible in the skin. The later stage and is exhibited by the red blisters on this person's cheeks, nose, forehead, and chin. Underlying redness and small blood vessels are also seen.

References

Dinulos JGH. Acne, rosacea, and related disorders. In: Dinulos JGH, ed. Habif's Clinical Dermatology: A Color Guide in Diagnosis and Therapy. 7th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2021:chap 7.

Kroshinsky D. Macular, papular, purpuric, vesiculobullous, and pustular diseases. In: Goldman L, Cooney KA, eds. Goldman-Cecil Medicine. 27th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2024:chap 406.

van Zuuren EJ, Fedorowicz Z, Carter B, van der Linden MM, Charland L. Interventions for rosacea. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2015;(4):CD003262. PMID: 25919144 www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25919144/.

Last reviewed July 8, 2023 by Linda J. Vorvick, MD, Clinical Professor, Department of Family Medicine, UW Medicine, School of Medicine, University of Washington, Seattle, WA. Also reviewed by David C. Dugdale, MD, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team..

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Clinical Trials: Rosacea

UF Health research scientists make medicine better every day. They discover new ways to help people by running clinical trials. When you join a clinical trial, you can get advanced medical care. Sometimes years before it's available everywhere. You can also help make medicine better for everyone else. If you'd like to learn more about clinical trials, visit our clinical trials page. Or click one of the links below:

ROSANNA

This study will investigate whether short-term daily energy drink consumption results in an increase in hydrogen sulfide-producing bacteria in adults 18-40 years old.

Investigator
Thomas J George
Status
Accepting Candidates
Ages
18 Years - 40 Years
Sexes
All

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