Rosacea is a common, long-term skin disorder that causes flushing and redness of the face. Rosacea can cause a rash or small red lesions that look similar to acne. Ocular rosacea affects the eyes making them red and irritated.

Rosacea symptoms are commonly triggered by:

  • Very hot or spicy foods
  • Caffeine
  • Alcohol
  • Sun exposure
  • Extreme temperatures (very hot or very cold)
  • Exercise
  • Emotional stress or social embarrassment
  • Rubbing, scrubbing, or massaging the face
  • Irritating cosmetics and other toiletries
Rosacea Rash
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The cause of rosacea is unknown. There may be a genetic link for some.

Risk Factors

Rosacea is more common in women between 30 and 50 years old. Other factors that may increase the chances of rosacea:

  • A family history of rosacea
  • Having fair skin
  • Being of European descent


The hallmark symptoms of rosacea are facial flushing and redness. Other symptoms may occur that vary from person to person.

  • Symptoms of the face, ears, chest, and back:
    • Broken blood vessels
    • Swelling
    • Stinging and burning skin
    • Dry, oily, or rough skin
    • Acne-like pimples
    • Raised patches of skin
    • Thickened skin (rare)
  • Symptoms in the eyes:
    • Redness and tearing
    • Burning, itching, and dryness
    • Sensitivity to light
    • Blurred vision


You will be asked about your symptoms and medical history. A physical exam will be done, including an examination of your skin. You may be referred to a doctor who specializes in skin disorders.


There is no cure for rosacea. Treatment is focused on reducing symptoms and is based on your specific needs. Talk with your doctor about the best plan for you. Treatment includes:

Skin Care

Decreasing irritation and triggers is important to managing symptoms. The following may be helpful:

  • Identify and avoid triggers
  • Wash with a mild soap and dry the skin gently
  • Use moisturizer
  • Wear sunscreen with sun protection factor (SPF) of 30 or greater
  • Avoid outdated cosmetics
  • Apply cosmetics with brushes instead of sponges
  • Wash affected eyelids with mild soap
  • Exercise in a cool environment


Prescription medications to treat rosacea symptoms include:

  • Antibiotics or anti-parasitics taken by mouth or applied to the skin
  • Topical medications that help to manage acne by killing bacteria and cleaning skin pores
  • Topical medication to help shrink superficial blood vessels in the skin
  • Eye drops to increase tear production for those with ocular rosacea

Certain oral acne medications may also be recommended for severe rosacea.


The following procedures may be used to minimize redness and enlarged blood vessels:

  • Intense pulsed light therapy
  • Laser therapy


There are no current guidelines to prevent rosacea because the cause is unknown.

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