Rosacea is a skin disease that is characterized by redness on the face, neck and chest. It often begins with a tendency to become flush easily but may also include small, red bumps. Symptoms may flare up for weeks or months then fade for a period of time. Rosacea can sometimes be confused with allergic reactions, acne, or other more common skin problems. Anyone can be diagnosed with rosacea but it is most commonly found in middle-aged women.
Rosacea affects everyone differently. The signs and symptoms are classified into four subtypes. People with erythematotelangiectatic rosacea have visible redness and flushing. They can also see their blood vessels through the skin. Papulopustular rosacea is characterized by redness and swelling but also includes acne-like breakouts. When the skin thickens and has a bumpier texture, it’s classified as phymatous rosacea. If the rosacea causes red, irritated eyes and swollen eyelids it’s called ocular rosacea.
People with fair skin and people who smoke are more likely to be diagnosed with rosacea. While women are more likely to have rosacea than men, men typically experience more severe symptoms. The exact cause is still unknown, but rosacea tends to run in families. Rosacea flare-ups can be triggered by spicy foods, alcohol, cosmetics, and certain drugs that dilate blood vessels.
There is no cure for rosacea. Treatments focus on addressing the symptoms and reducing the redness caused by it. Topical medications have been successful in reducing redness and acne caused by rosacea. Oral antibiotics help fight the inflammation and the skin bumps. Laser therapies and alternative medicines are sometimes effective in reducing swelling and the visibility of blood vessels. In some cases, people with rosacea will eventually develop permanent redness on their face.