Home > Patients & Visitors > Health Library > Rosacea
Rosacea (say "roh-ZAY-shuh") is a very common skin disease that affects people over the age of 30. It causes redness on your nose, cheeks, chin, and forehead. Some people get little bumps and pimples on the red parts of their faces. Rosacea can also cause burning and soreness in your eyes.
Some people say that having rosacea keeps them from feeling confident at work or in social situations. If your rosacea bothers you or has gotten worse, talk to your doctor. Getting treatment can help your skin look and feel better. And it may keep your rosacea from getting worse.
Experts are not sure what causes rosacea. They know that something irritates the skin and affects the skin's immune response. It tends to affect people who have fair skin or blush easily, and it seems to run in families.
The pattern of redness on a person's face makes it easy for a doctor to diagnose rosacea. And most of the time medical tests are not needed or used.
Rosacea is not caused by alcohol abuse, as people thought in the past. But in people who have rosacea, drinking alcohol may cause symptoms to get worse (flare).
Rosacea often flares when something causes the blood vessels in the face to expand, which causes redness. Things that cause a flare-up are called triggers. Common triggers are exercise, sun and wind exposure, hot weather, stress, spicy foods, alcohol, and hot baths. Swings in temperature from hot to cold or cold to hot can also cause a flare-up of rosacea.
People with rosacea may have:
In rare cases, rosacea that is not treated may cause permanent effects, such as thickening of the skin on your face or loss of vision. It may cause knobby bumps on the nose, called rhinophyma (say "ry-no-FY-muh"). Over time, it can give the nose a swollen, waxy look. But most cases of rosacea don't progress this far.
Doctors can prescribe medicines and other treatments for rosacea. There is no cure, but with treatment, most people can control their symptoms and keep the disease from getting worse.
There are some things you can do to reduce symptoms and keep rosacea from getting worse.
Other Works Consulted
Abramowicz M (2013). Drugs for acne, rosacea and psoriasis. Treatment Guidelines From The Medical Letter, 11(125): 1–8.
Berth-Jones J (2010). Rosacea. In MG Lebwohl et al., eds., Treatment of Skin Disease: Comprehensive Therapeutic Strategies, 3rd ed., pp. 669–676. Edinburgh: Saunders Elsevier.
Habif TP (2010). Acne, rosacea, and related disorders. In Clinical Dermatology: A Color Guide to Diagnosis and Therapy, 5th ed., pp. 217–263. Philadelphia: Mosby.
Pelle MT (2012). Rosacea. In LA Goldman et al., eds., Fitzpatrick's Dermatology in General Medicine, 8th ed., vol. 1, pp. 918–925. New York: McGraw-Hill.
Van Zuuren EJ, et al. (2011). Interventions for rosacea. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews (3).
Wolff K, Johnson RA (2009). Rosacea. In Fitzpatrick's Color Atlas and Synopsis of Clinical Dermatology, 6th ed., pp. 9–13. New York: McGraw-Hill.
Current as ofApril 17, 2018
Author: Healthwise StaffMedical Review: Kathleen Romito, MD - Family MedicineAdam Husney, MD - Family MedicineMartin J. Gabica, MD - Family MedicineAmy McMichael, MD - Dermatology
Current as of:
April 17, 2018
Medical Review:Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine & Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine & Martin J. Gabica, MD - Family Medicine & Amy McMichael, MD - Dermatology
To learn more about Healthwise, visit Healthwise.org.
© 1995-2018 Healthwise, Incorporated. Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated.
Our interactive Decision Points guide you through making key health decisions by combining medical information with your personal information.
You'll find Decision Points to help you answer questions about:
Get started learning more about your health!
Our Interactive Tools can help you make smart decisions for a healthier life. You'll find personal calculators and tools for health and fitness, lifestyle checkups and pregnancy.
Feeling under the weather?
Use our interactive symptom checker to evaluate your symptoms and determine appropriate action or treatment.