Rosacea – A Short Overview

From a medical point of view, Rosacea is a “chronic inflammation of the skin”. It causes redness and pimples on the nose, cheeks, chin and forehead. It comes and goes and is sometimes called adult acne. It can also cause soreness of the eyes and eyelids.

It starts as someone’s tendency to blush easily, but it can progress into facial redness, and red bumps and pustules.


The disease is likely to appear at age 30. (Pre-rosacea is seen sometimes in teens and early 20’s.) A flushed face, pimples or bumps (swelling) around the cheeks, nose, mouth and forehead are early indications.

Sometimes, tiny red veins appear on the face, and there is a burning or stinging pain when applied with lotions or medicines. The face will become increasingly dry and sensitive.

In ocular rosacea, the eyes become red and look irritated, including the eyelids which may look red and swollen. Vision sometimes can be blurry. The eyes become watery and tend to develop sties. (Unchecked, there is a possibility of corneal damage or even blindness.)

In extreme cases, especially without treatment, there would be knobby bumps on the nose and cheeks that can multiply. This is advanced rosacea (rhinophyma).


The exact cause or causes are not yet known. Researchers think rosacea is caused by genetic conditions and environmental factors (bacteria and the sun, etc.)The disease has a tendency to affect fair-skinned people or those who blush easily.

Rosacea flares up when blood vessels in the face expand and causes blushing or redness. The triggers are the sun, wind, stress, alcohol, spicy food, hot weather and hot baths. Sometimes, mood changes can cause a rosacea flare-up.


Unfortunately, rosacea has no cure, only medicine to manage the disease. The symptoms can be treated to keep the disease from getting worse.

For the redness and the pimples, antibiotic creams and pills are sometimes recommended by the doctors. (Pregnant women are barred from using antibiotics.) Antibiotics also take some time to work on the improvements of your symptoms.


Doctors sometimes prescribe stronger medicines if antibiotics cannot do the control job. As a last resort, surgery may sometimes help your skin look better. The choices include dermabrasion, cryosurgery or laser surgery.

Oral antibiotics and some topical solutions can keep your rosacea under control. A photodynamic therapy can reduce redness and the appearance of the blood vessels. For patients with severe rhinophyma (“bulbous nose”), laser re-surfacing can be used to reshape your nose.

Acne and Rosacea

There is no truth that one causes the other, but these two skin conditions often appear together. Unfortunately, acne (“acne vulgaris”) and rosacea required two different kinds of treatments.

Rosacea is a disorder afflicting the extensive facial vascular network. Acne, on the other hand, is related to the oil glands that can affect the skin all over the body.

If you have both, it is best to consult your doctor on your skin care routine because the methods used to treat one condition can make the other disease worse. It is a tricky position for you and your rosacea.




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