Learn more about rosacea

What Is Rosacea? Symptoms, Treatment, Causes

If you repeatedly experience a red flushing on your face, you may have rosacea.

Rosacea is a common skin condition of the face. People with rosacea experience flushes of redness and sometimes small, pimple-like bumps. These symptoms may come and go, and generally worsen over time.

Do you believe you have rosacea? Talk to a UPMC dermatologist. Get expert skin care anywhere in Pennsylvania with UPMC eDermatology.

Symptoms of Rosacea

  • Redness on the cheeks, nose, chin, and/or forehead that gets darker and more persistent over time
  • Sensitive, dry skin that burns or stings, or skin that becomes rough and thick
  • Visible blood vessels
  • Bumps and pimples
  • Swelling, especially on and around the nose (a condition called rhinophyma)
  • Itchy, dry, watery, and/or bloodshot eyes
  • In some case, red patches on the neck, chest, scalp, or ears

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Risk Factors for Rosacea

No one is sure what causes rosacea, although there is evidence that it may be hereditary. Anyone can develop rosacea, but you may be more prone to it if you:

  • Are female
  • Are over age 30
  • Have fair or sensitive skin
  • Have had extensive sun exposure, which can damage the skin and blood vessels
  • Have a history of acne, especially with cysts
  • Have a family history of rosacea

Treatment for Rosacea

If you experience redness on your face that won’t go away — especially if your skin is dry and irritated, or you start to develop pimple-like bumps — you should see a dermatologist.

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The pattern of redness typical of rosacea is distinct, so the doctor may diagnose it without further medical tests.

There is no known cure for rosacea, but a variety of treatment methods can help control or reverse the symptoms.

Because rosacea takes different forms with different combinations of symptoms, talk to a dermatologist to determine the best treatment options for you.

Medicine for Rosacea

Treatment to soothe and control rosacea may include:

  • Prescription medicines: Topical medicines like brimonidine can help to reduce redness caused by rosacea. A doctor may also prescribe an antibiotic to help reduce inflammation. Some acne medications also may help to clear symptoms of rosacea.
  • Laser therapy: This could reduce the appearance of large blood vessels. Dermabrasion and intense pulsed light therapy also can help treat visible blood vessels.
  • Topical products for sensitive skin: You can protect your skin with moisturizers and sunscreens made for sensitive skin. This helps if your skin is irritated and uncomfortable because of dry, rough patches or a burning sensation.
  • Artificial tears: If rosacea makes your eyes red, dry, and irritated, using artificial tears or prescription eye drops may help.