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What is Rosacea?

Rosacea is a very common skin condition. As of 2010, rosacea was estimated to affect at least 16 million people in the United States alone and approximately 45 million worldwide. It is most commonly seen in people with light skin and particularly in those of English, Irish, and Scottish backgrounds.  

Rosacea characteristically involves the central region of the face, causing persistent redness or transient flushing over the areas of the face and nose that normally blush; mainly the forehead, the chin, and the lower half of the nose.

The disease presents with a range of symptoms.  The mildest form is simply mild facial redness and or visible tiny broken blood vessels.  Some cases also develop small red bumps, sometimes red cysts containing pus.  The most severe cases involve inflammation that leads to overgrowth of the oil glands and can cause permanent irregular skin surface changes.  Rosacea may also affect the eyes, leading to pink, irritated eyes. 


Most people with the disease may not even know they have rosacea or that it is a diagnosable and treatable condition. People with rosacea may blush or flush easily and may find they have very sensitive skin which reacts to various triggers.  Some common triggers include extreme weather, spicy food, and alcohol. Not all triggers affect all patients in a similar manner. A journal of exposures and status of one’s rosacea is very helpful to identify a patient’s specific triggers.


Symptoms of rosacea

  • Flushing. Many people have a history of frequent blushing or flushing, facial redness that may come and go.

  • Persistent redness. This is the most common sign and may resemble a blush or a sunburn that doesn’t go away.

  • Bumps and pimples. Small red sold bumps and pimples often develop that can burn or sting.

  • Visible blood vessels.

  • Eye irritation. Many people with rosacea also experience irritated or bloodshot eyes. The eyelids can also become red and swollen.

  • Burning or stinging may often occur on the face.

  • Dry appearance. The facial skin may feel rough.

  • Plaques. These are raised red patches.

  • Skin thickening

  • Swelling


Various oral and topical medications may be prescribed to treat the bumps, pimples and redness often associated with rosacea. At the Dermatological Center for Skin Health, we may prescribe initial treatments using oral and topical therapy to bring the condition under immediate control, followed by long-term use of the topical therapy alone to maintain remission.


When appropriate, treatments with lasers, intense pulsed light sources or other medical and surgical devices may be used to remove visible blood vessels, reduce extensive redness or correct disfigurement of the nose. Eyes affected by rosacea may be treated with oral antibiotics and other therapy.


Rosacea is considered a chronic (long-term), noncurable skin condition with periodic ups and downs.


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