Rosacea is a skin disorder. It causes chronic redness of the face. Rosacea usually affects the cheeks, forehead, chin, and nose. The ears, chest, and back may also be affected. More than half of people with rosacea also have mild eye symptoms. This may include redness, burning, and watering. This is known as ocular rosacea.
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The cause of rosacea is unknown. Several theories exist.
Factors that can cause flushing or blushing may trigger flare-ups in people with rosacea.
These factors include:
Rosacea is more common in women, between 30 and 60 years old, and in people with fair skin.
Your risk of rosacea is increased if you have family members who also have rosacea.
Long-term use of steroids applied to the skin may also increase your risk.
The symptoms of rosacea vary from person to person. They include:
You will be asked about your symptoms and medical history. A physical exam will be done. Your skin will also be examined. You may be referred to a doctor who specializes in skin disorders. This type of doctor is called a dermatologist. Do not try to diagnose or treat yourself. Certain over-the-counter medications could make your condition worse.
Rosacea generally can't be cured. It can be controlled. There are several ways to manage rosacea. Your doctor may recommend more than 1 method, depending on the type and severity of the rash.
Prescription medications for rosacea include:
In more severe cases, medications may sometimes include:
Topical cortisone is generally avoided on the face. It can make rosacea worse when used long term. However, it can be effective as a short-term treatment.
Treatment for redness or flushing may include:
The following procedures minimize redness, enlarged blood vessels, and an enlarged nose:
Preventing rosacea can be difficult. If you have rosacea, there are several steps you can take to control the condition:
American Academy of Dermatology
National Rosacea Society
Canadian Dermatology Association
Tanzi EL, Weinberg JM. The ocular manifestations of rosacea. Cutis. 2001;68:112-114. Review.
Crawford GH, Pelle MT, et al. Rosacea: I. Etiology, pathogenesis, and subtype classification. J Am Acad Dermatol. 2004;51:327-341;quiz 342-344. Review.
Pelle MT, Crawford GH, et al. Rosacea: II therapy. J Am Acad Dermatol. 2004;51:499-512;quiz 513-514. Review.
Rosacea. EBSCO DynaMed Plus website. Available at:http://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T116224/Rosacea. Updated December 10, 2015. Accessed February 19, 2016.
Rosacea. American Academy of Dermatology website. Available at: https://www.aad.org/dermatology-a-to-z/diseases-and-treatments/q---t/rosacea. Accessed February 19, 2016.
Sunscreen FAQs. American Academy of Dermatology website. Available at: https://www.aad.org/media-resources/stats-and-facts/prevention-and-care/sunscreens. Accessed February 19, 2016.
Last reviewed February 2016 by Michael Woods, MD Last Updated: 10/20/2014