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Rosacea is a chronic inflammation of the facial skin that may worsen with time if left untreated. It is often misdiagnosed as acne, eczema, skin allergy or natural ruddiness of the skin. It causes redness of the skin with visible blood vessels. Sometimes, it produces small, red, pus-filled bumps. It flares up for weeks to months and disappears for a while.

It generally appears in middle-aged women with a light complexion. However, it can also affect males. As such, there is no cure for rosacea but treatment can control signs and symptoms of the condition.

It has affected 45 million people worldwide, most of them are Caucasians or fair complexion.

Causes of Rosacea

The actual cause for rosacea is still unknown, however, triggers that contribute to the worsening of rosacea are identified.

The plausible causes of rosacea are:

  • Abnormal facial blood vessel
  • Fair complexion: one in 20 people (approximately 14 million) in America are affected by rosacea.
  • The increased load of Demodex folliculorum (microscopic mite) in the skin than normal
  • H. pylori bacterial infection of the gut
  • Family history/heredity

Rosacea triggers

Factors that increase blood flow to the facial skin and some food and beverages found to aggravate the symptoms of rosacea.

  • Extremes of temperature
  • Sunlight, humidity, or wind
  • Stress, anxiety, anger, embarrassment
  • Vigorous exercise
  • Hot baths
  • Medicines e.g. corticosteroids and antidiabetics
  • Acute/chronic medical conditions eg. cold, cough, fever, hypertension

Risk factors

  • Female gender
  • Fair skin, blonde, blue eyes
  • Age above 30
  • Family history

Symptoms of Rosacea

Signs and symptoms of rosacea vary from person to person and appear mostly on nose, cheeks, and forehead. However, the common symptoms of rosacea are given below.

  • Facial redness: Persistent redness on the central part of the face due to swelling of the blood vessel and increased visibility.

  • Swollen red bumps: Pus-filled blisters that resemble acne making face hot and tender.

  • Ocular rosacea: Dry, irritated, swollen eyes with red, swollen eyelids.

  • Rhinophyma (Enlarged nose): Thickened bumps on the skin of the nose to appear bulbous. It is a more common symptom in men than women.

Additionally, symptoms will change according to the type of rosacea.

Types of Rosacea

  1. Erythematotelangiectatic rosacea: Associated with facial redness, flushing, and visible blood vessels.

  2. Papulopustular (or acne) rosacea: In middle-aged women, rosacea appears like acne.

  3. Rhinophyma: Thickening of the rosacea bumps on the skin of the nose.

  4. Ocular rosacea


Over time, if rosacea left untreated leads to rhinophyma or ocular rosacea. Though the condition is not life-threatening it may cause embarrassment, frustration, anxiety, and lack of self-confidence.


Experienced doctor/dermatologists by physical examination of skin and asking about symptoms and triggers can diagnose the condition. Early diagnosis is really important to control the flare of rosacea.

Take home message

There is no cure for rosacea, early treatment can control rosacea flare-up. To best manage the condition, there is a need to develop an individual treatment plan and triggers to avoid.


There is no cure for rosacea and treatment can relieve the flare-up of rosacea. The combination therapy including medicine and lifestyle changes generally gives the best results.

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