What is rosacea?

Rosacea is a common, chronic skin condition that most frequently presents on the face and is characterized by flushed or reddened skin.

Left untreated, the redness may become ruddier and visible blood vessels may appear across the affected area of the face. Bumps and pimples can also form. One form of rosacea, rhinophyma, is significantly more common in men and is characterized by a large red bulbous nose. About half of the people who experience rosacea will also feel eye irritation.

What causes rosacea?

Although the etiology is unknown, dermatologists suspect that abnormalities in the immune system as well as facial blood vessels cause rosacea symptoms, including flushing and the persistent redness characteristic of rosacea. Additionally, the presence of a mite called Demadex folliculorum is thought to contribute to the flare of symptoms. Sun exposure, stress, hot weather/heat, spicy foods, alcohol consumption, exercise, some cosmetics and some medications can all trigger or aggravate rosacea.

How dermatologists diagnose rosacea

Your dermatologist can determine if your skin findings are consistent with acne and how severe it may be with a visual inspection of the affected skin and basic questions about your lifestyle and eating habits. No special tests are required for the diagnosis.

How dermatologists treat rosacea

Your dermatologist may prescribe oral and topical antibiotics to manage rosacea. Because the presentation, severity, and triggers for rosacea vary amongst patients, your dermatologist will tailor your treatment regimen to your individual needs. Oral antibiotics in pill form may be used along with a topical regimen as the first course of treatment to bring the rosacea under control and minimize flares. Long-term use of oral antibiotics may cause side effects, including nausea and gastrointestinal problems, therefore the goal of treatment is to find a topical regimen of medications applied directly to the affected skin areas to keep the symptoms under control. Identifying and minimizing exposure to your personal triggers is another key factor. Compliance with the treatment plan is important for long term success in rosacea treatment.

If you have skin lesions that are concerning for rosacea, click here to schedule an appointment with our board-certified dermatologists or walk into Walk-in Dermatology at your convenience for your evaluation.