Symptoms & Causes
Signs and symptoms of rosacea include:
Red areas on your face
Small, red bumps or pustules on your nose, cheeks, forehead and chin (but not the same as whiteheads or blackheads)
Red, bulbous nose (rhinophyma)
Visible small blood vessels on your nose and cheeks (telangiectasia)
Burning or gritty sensation in your eyes (ocular rosacea)
Tendency to flush or blush easily
Rosacea usually appears in phases:
Pre-rosacea. Rosacea may begin as a simple tendency to flush or blush easily, then progress to a persistent redness in the central portion of your face, particularly your nose. This redness results from the dilation of blood vessels close to your skin's surface. This phase may sometimes be referred to as pre-rosacea.
Vascular rosacea. As signs and symptoms worsen, vascular rosacea may develop â€” small blood vessels on your nose and cheeks swell and become visible (telangiectasia). Your skin may become overly sensitive. Vascular rosacea may also be accompanied by oily skin and dandruff.
Inflammatory rosacea. Small, red bumps or pustules may appear and persist, spreading across your nose, cheeks, forehead and chin. This is sometimes known as inflammatory rosacea.
In addition, about one in two people with rosacea experience ocular rosacea â€” a burning and gritty sensation in the eyes. Rosacea may cause the inner skin of the eyelids to become inflamed or appear scaly, a condition known as conjunctivitis.
When to see a doctor
Unfortunately, rosacea rarely clears up on its own, and it tends to worsen over time if left untreated. If you experience persistent redness of your face, see your doctor or a skin specialist (dermatologist) for a diagnosis and proper treatment.
Many over-the-counter skin care products contain ingredients â€” such as acids, alcohol and other irritants â€” that may actually worsen rosacea. Because of the progressive nature of rosacea, an early diagnosis is important. Treatments tend to be more effective when started earlier.
The cause of rosacea is unknown, but researchers believe it's likely due to some combination of hereditary and environmental factors.
Though the exact causes of rosacea remain a mystery, a number of factors can aggravate rosacea or make it worse by increasing blood flow to the surface of your skin. Some of these factors include:
Hot foods or beverages
Stress, anger or embarrassment
Hot baths, saunas
Drugs that dilate blood vessels, including some blood pressure medications
One thing is certain â€” alcohol doesn't cause rosacea. While the consumption of alcohol can lead to flushing of the skin and may worsen rosacea, people who don't consume alcohol at all still can get rosacea.