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Rosacea Symptoms and Rosacea Treatment

Rosacea (say "rose-ay-shah") is a disease that affects the skin on the face. It often begins as redness that looks like a blush across the nose, cheeks, chin or forehead. As time goes on, red pimples and pus-filled bumps may appear.

Rosacea is a chronic skin eruption that produces flushing and dilation of small blood vessels in the face, especially the nose and cheeks. Papules and pustules also may appear but without the characteristic comedones of acne vulgaris.

Rosacea is most common in white women between ages 30 and 50. However, when the disorder affects men, it strikes with greater severity and is commonly associated with rhinophyma, which is characterized by dilated follicles and thickened, bulbous skin on the nose. Rosacea usually spreads slowly and seldom subsides spontaneously.


The cause of rosacea is unknown. Anything that produces flushing - for example, hot beverages, such as tea or coffee; tobacco; alcohol; spicy foods; physical activity; sunlight; and extreme heat or cold - can aggravate rosacea.


Signs and symptoms of rosacea include:

  • Red areas on your face
  • Small, red bumps or pustules on your nose, cheeks, forehead and chin (not the same as whiteheads or blackheads)
  • Red, bulbous nose (rhinophyma)
  • Visible small blood vessels on your nose and cheeks
  • Burning or gritty sensation in your eyes (ocular rosacea)
  • Tendency to flush or blush easily

Diagnostic tests

Rosacea is confirmed by the presence of typical vascular and acneiform lesions without the comedones characteristically associated with acne vulgaris and, in severe cases, by rhinophyma.


Oral tetracycline in gradually decreasing doses as symptoms subside is used to treat patients with the acneiform component of rosacea. Topical application of 1 % hydrocortisone cream reduces erythema and inflammation. Topical metronidazole is also very effective. Other treatment may include electrosurgery or a laser to destroy large, dilated blood vessels and removal of excess tissue in patients with rhinophyma.

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