Rosacea

Rosacea: Left untreated, rosacea can get worse.

Rosacea: Overview

Rosacea (rose-AY-sha) is a common skin disease. It often begins with a tendency to blush or flush more easily than other people.

The redness can slowly spread beyond the nose and cheeks to the forehead and chin. Even the ears, chest, and back can be red all the time.

Rosacea can cause more than redness. There are so many signs and symptoms that rosacea has four subtypes:

  1. Erythematotelangiectatic rosacea: Redness, flushing, visible blood vessels.
  2. Papulopustular rosacea: Redness, swelling, and acne-like breakouts.
  3. Phymatous rosacea: Skin thickens and has a bumpy texture.
  4. Ocular rosacea: Eyes red and irritated, eyelids can be swollen, and person may have what looks like a sty.

With time, people who have rosacea often see permanent redness in the center of their face.

Famous faces of rosacea

If you are living with rosacea, you are in good company. Some famous people have struggled with rosacea:

Image used with permission of the American Academy of Dermatology National Library of Dermatologic Teaching Slides.


Rosacea: Signs and symptoms

Rosacea causes more than a red face. There are many signs (what you can see) and symptoms (what a person feels) of rosacea.

Because rosacea has so many signs and symptoms, scientists created 4 subtypes of rosacea. Some people have more than one rosacea subtype at the same time. Each subtype requires different treatment.

Rosacea: People with this subtype of rosacea, also called ETR, often have very sensitive skin.

Subtype 1: Facial redness, flushing, visible blood vessels

Signs and symptoms

Acne rosacea: This subtype of rosacea is most common in middle-aged women.

Subtype 2: Acne-like breakouts

Signs and symptoms
 

Subtype 3: Thickening skin

Signs and symptoms

Rhinophyma: Although rare, rosacea can cause the skin to thicken and have a bumpy texture. When this happens, it is called rhinophyma.

This subtype is rare. When it does occur, the person often has signs and symptoms of another subtype of rosacea first. The signs of this subtype are:

Subtype 4: In the eyes

Signs and symptoms

Ocular rosacea: When rosacea affects the eye, it is called ocular rosacea. If rosacea affects your eye, you may need to see an ophthalmologist (doctor who specializes in treating eye diseases).

Some people get rosacea in their eyes. The eyes may have one or more of the following:

Rosacea can affect quality of life

Rosacea can affect more than the skin and eyes. Because rosacea is a chronic (long-lasting) skin disease, it can reduce a person’s quality of life. Many people report problems at work, in their marriage, and with meeting new people. Surveys and studies report that living with rosacea can cause:

Treatment seems to improve a person’s quality of life. Studies show that when people have fewer signs and symptoms of rosacea, their quality of life improves.

Images used with permission of the American Academy of Dermatology National Library of Dermatologic Teaching Slides.


Rosacea: Who gets and causes

Who gets rosacea?

Rosacea is common. According to the U.S. government, more than 14 million people are living with rosacea. Most people who get rosacea are:

Women are a bit more likely than men to get rosacea. Women, however, are not as likely as men to get severe rosacea. Some people are more likely to get rosacea, but anyone can get this skin disease. People of all colors get rosacea. Children get rosacea.

What causes rosacea?

Scientists are still trying to find out what causes rosacea. By studying rosacea, scientists have found some important clues:


Rosacea: Diagnosis and treatment

How do dermatologists diagnose rosacea?

To diagnose rosacea, a dermatologist examines the skin and eyes. Your dermatologist also will ask questions.

How do dermatologists treat rosacea?

To treat rosacea, a dermatologist first finds all of the patient’s signs and symptoms of rosacea. This is crucial because different signs and symptoms need different treatment.

Treatment for the skin includes:

Dermatologists can remove the thickening skin that appears on the nose and other parts of the face with:

When rosacea affects the eyes, a dermatologist may give you instructions for washing the eyelids several times a day and a prescription for eye medicine. 

Outcome

There is no cure for rosacea. People often have rosacea for years.

In one study, researchers asked 48 people who had seen a dermatologist for rosacea about their rosacea. More than half (52 percent) had rosacea that came and went. These people had had rosacea for an average of 13 years. The rest of the people (48 percent) had seen their rosacea clear. People who saw their rosacea clear had rosacea for an average of 9 years.

Some people have rosacea flare-ups for life. Treatment can prevent the rosacea from getting worse. Treatment also can reduce the acne-like breakouts, redness, and the number of flare-ups.

To get the best results, people with rosacea also should learn what triggers their rosacea, try to avoid these triggers, and follow a rosacea skin-care plan.


Rosacea: Tips for managing

Learn how keeping a journal and other lifestyle tips can help reduce rosacea flares.

If you believe that you might have rosacea or have been diagnosed with rosacea, the following tips can help:

Related resources:

Learning to control rosacea and getting support helps many people live more comfortably.

Rosacea Support Group
Free, moderated, online community that offers support.

National Institutes of Health, Department of Health and Human Services
Provides Q&A about rosacea.

National Rosacea Society

Quarterly newsletter, booklet to help people identify and avoid triggers, and other resources.

RosaceaNet
Website from the American Academy of Dermatology.


© 2019 American Academy of Dermatology. All rights reserved. Reproduction or republication strictly prohibited without prior written permission. Use of these materials is subject to the legal notice and terms of use located at https://www.aad.org/about/legal

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