Rosacea (say "roh-ZAY-shuh") is a
very common skin disease that affects people over the age of 30. It causes redness on your nose, cheeks, chin, and
forehead. Some people get little bumps and pimples on the red parts of their faces. Rosacea can also cause
burning and soreness in your eyes.
Some people say that having rosacea keeps them from feeling confident at work or in social situations. If your rosacea bothers you or has gotten worse, talk to your doctor. Getting treatment can help your skin look and feel better. And it may keep your rosacea from getting worse.
Experts are not sure what
causes rosacea. They know that something irritates the skin, but rosacea doesn't seem to be an infection caused by bacteria. It tends to affect people who have fair skin or blush easily,
and it seems to run in families.
The pattern of redness on a person's face makes it easy for a doctor to diagnose rosacea. And most of the time medical tests are not needed or used.
Rosacea is not caused by alcohol
abuse, as people thought in the past. But in people who have rosacea, drinking
alcohol may cause symptoms to get worse (flare).
flares when something causes the blood vessels in the face to expand, which
causes redness. Things that cause a flare-up are called triggers. Common
triggers are exercise, sun and wind exposure, hot weather, stress, spicy foods,
alcohol, and hot baths. Swings in temperature from hot to cold or cold to hot
can also cause a flare-up of rosacea.
People with rosacea may
In rare cases, rosacea that is not treated may cause permanent effects, such as thickening of the skin on your face or loss of vision. It may cause knobby bumps on the nose, called rhinophyma (say "ry-no-FY-muh"). Over time, it can
give the nose a swollen, waxy look. But most cases of rosacea don't progress
Doctors can prescribe medicines and other treatments for rosacea. There is no cure, but with treatment, most
people can control their symptoms and keep the disease from getting
some things you can do to reduce symptoms and keep rosacea from getting
Learning about rosacea:
Living with rosacea:
The American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) provides information
about the care of skin. You can locate a dermatologist in your
area by using their "Find a Dermatologist" tool. Or you can read the latest news in dermatology. "SPOT Skin Cancer" is the AAD's program to reduce deaths from melanoma. There is also a link called "Skin Conditions" that has information about many common skin problems.
The National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal
and Skin Diseases (NIAMS) is a governmental institute that serves the public
and health professionals by providing information, locating other information
sources, and participating in a national federal database of health
information. NIAMS supports research into the causes, treatment, and prevention
of arthritis and musculoskeletal and skin diseases and supports the training of
scientists to carry out this research.
The NIAMS website provides
health information referrals to the NIAMS Clearinghouse, which has information
packages about diseases.
The National Rosacea Society provides information about this
condition to the public and physicians. The society also publishes a
newsletter. Call the toll-free telephone number listed above to request
materials and services.
Other Works Consulted
Berth-Jones J (2010). Rosacea. In MG Lebwohl et al., eds., Treatment of Skin Disease: Comprehensive Therapeutic Strategies, 3rd ed., pp. 669–676. Edinburgh: Saunders Elsevier.
Habif TP (2010). Rosacea (Acne rosacea) section of Acne, rosacea, and related disorders. In Clinical Dermatology, A Color Guide to Diagnosis and Therapy, 5th ed., pp. 256–259. Edinburgh: Mosby Elsevier.
Wilkin J, et al. (2002). Standard classification of rosacea: Report of the National Rosacea Society Expert Committee on the Classification and Staging of Rosacea. Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology, 46(4): 584–587.
Wolff K, Johnson RA (2009). Rosacea. In Fitzpatrick’s Color Atlas and Synopsis of Clinical Dermatology, 6th ed., pp. 9–13. New York: McGraw-Hill.
June 25, 2011
E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine
& Alexander H. Murray, MD, FRCPC - Dermatology
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