Rosacea is a common, chronic skin condition that is characterized by symptoms ranging from redness in the center of the face to acne, thickening skin and inflammation that may extend into the eye.


Common signs and symptoms of rosacea include:

  • Redness across the nose and cheeks that may spread to the forehead, chin and ears.
  • Acne-like breakout
  • Skin that feels sore and is easily irritated.
  • Thin, reddish purple veins
  • Bloodshot eyes
  • Dry, itchy, irritated eyes
  • Gritty feeling in the eyes
  • Rarely, rosacea can thicken the skin on the nose, causing the nose to appear bulbous (rhinophyma). This occurs more often in men than in women.

Left untreated, rosacea may worsen over time and redness may become permanent. Rosacea signs and symptoms may flare up for a period of weeks to months and then diminish before flaring up again.


Although rosacea is incurable, treatment can often control the condition to help patients feel less self-conscious and improve their quality of life. It is important to consult a board certified dermatologist who can accurately diagnose the disease and provide a research-based treatment plan tailored to your individual symptoms.

  • Acne-like breakouts: Breakouts can often be treated with medication applied to the skin. Sometimes oral antibiotics may be needed as well, or your dermatologist may recommend a newer medication to treat the inflammation without antibiotic side effects.
  • Redness: Your dermatologists may prescribe medicine that is applied to the skin or laser surgery to reduce redness.
  • Small veins: Laser surgery or electrodessication (a procedure that uses small electric needles) can help diminish the appearance of small veins.
  • Thickening skin: Your dermatologist can remove excess skin with a scalpel, laser or electrosurgery.

Rosacea in the Eyes

When rosacea affects the eye, it is called ocular rosacea. Ocular rosacea may cause one or more of the following symptoms:

  • Watery or bloodshot appearance.
  • Feel gritty, often feels like sand in the eyes.
  • Eyes burn or sting.
  • Eyes are very dry.
  • Eyes itch.
  • Eyes sensitive to light.
  • Blurry vision.
  • Visible broken blood vessels on an eyelid.
  • Cyst on the eyelid.

Treatment for ocular rosacea is essential as the condition may become worse without treatment and, rarely, damage your eyesight.

Managing Flare-Ups

Rosacea symptoms often flare up after exposure to common triggers, including spicy foods, hot drinks, caffeine or alcoholic beverages among others. Along with medical treatment, dermatologists recommend the following to help you avoid common triggers to manage flare-ups and control rosacea.

  • Identify your personal triggers by keeping track of your exposure to common triggers and avoid those that produce a flare-up.
  • Protect your skin from sun exposure by seeking shade and wearing sun protective clothing. Applying a dermatologist-recommended sunscreen to your face daily before going outside and re-apply every
  • two hours while outdoors.
  • Don’t become overheated or expose your skin to very cold temperatures.
  • Follow a dermatologist-recommended skin care routine and avoid products containing alcohol. Avoid rubbing, scrubbing or massaging the face.
  • Shield your face if you use hair spray.

Risk Factors

Although rosacea occurs in people of all skin colors and ages, you may be more likely to develop rosacea if you are:

  • A woman
  • Fair-skinned with blonde hair and blue eyes
  • Going through menopause
  • Are between the ages of 30 and 50
  • Have a family history of rosacea or a personal history of severe acne

There is no “quick fix” for rosacea and it often takes time to see results with treatment. However, you can keep rosacea under control with the help of a dermatologist who can provide effective treatments for your individual symptoms.