Rosacea: Types, Symptoms And Causes

Rosacea is a chronic, inflammatory skin disease that affects more than 16 billion Americans annually. This skin condition is characterized by visible redness on the face and neck area along with the presence of visible blood vessels and bumps. These bumps are often small, red and pus-filled. Rosacea is more common among light-skinned people, with no particular cause. 

Any cure that can completely eliminate this skin condition is not yet known but proper medication can reduce the symptoms.

Types Of Rosacea:

Rosacea can be categorized into four types:

  • Subtype One: also known as Erythematotelangiectatic Rosacea (ETR). The common symptoms include facial redness, flushing, and visible blood vessels.
  • Subtype Two: also called Papulopustular Rosacea, it is characterized by acne-like breakouts and usually affects middle-aged women.
  • Subtype Three: known as Rhinophyma, it is a rare form of rosacea associated with the thickening of the skin of the nose area. It is more prevalent in men and accompanied by some other type of rosacea.
  • Subtype Four: also known as Ocular Rosacea, and its symptoms are more visible in the eye area.

Symptoms Of Rosacea: 

  • Redness on the face: The central part of the face becomes red due to the swelling of small blood vessels and these blood vessels become prominent and visible. 
  • Bumps: People with rosacea tend to get pimples on their faces which are red, swollen and may contain pus as well. The skin may also feel hot and tender.
  • Enlarged Nose: Eventually, rosacea can cause the skin over the nose to thicken making the nose appear bulged up.
  • Eye Problems: Many people with rosacea also experience dry, irritated, swollen eyes and red and swollen eyelids. In some cases, this condition precedes rosacea on skin.

Also Read: Athlete’s Foot: A Fungal Skin Disease

Causes Of Rosacea: 

Which particular factors cause rosacea is still unknown, but it can be a combination of environmental and hereditary conditions. Few factors can trigger the flare-ups such as:

  • Consuming spicy food
  • Drugs that dilate blood vessels
  • Application of various cosmetics products
  • Long exposure to sunlight
  • Temperature extremes
  • A bacteria called H. pylori bacteria, present in the gut stimulate the production of bradykinin, a polypeptide that can cause blood vessels to dilate. Experts indicate that this bacteria may play an important role in triggering the skin condition of rosacea.
  • Demodex folliculorum is a type of mite that resides on human skin and does not cause any harm as such. But this has been observed that patients of rosacea have higher number of mites present on their skin than others. It is still unsure whether these mites cause rosacea or occurrence of rosacea cause these mites to overpopulate.

Factors That Are More Likely To Cause Rosacea:

Following conditions can make you more vulnerable to this skin disease:

  • Having a close relative who is suffering from this condition can make you more prone to this skin disease.
  • Have light-colored skin particularly sun-damaged
  • Rosacea is more prominent in women of older age usually those who are above 30


There is no clinical test for rosacea. A dermatologist can examine the condition of the skin and ask for symptoms and signs, apart from this presence of dilated blood vessels helps to distinguish rosacea from other skin conditions. 

Early intervention and medical attention can prevent the signs of rosacea to progress and become worse. If in case the dermatologist doubts about the presence of an underlying medical condition such as Lupus, he may direct few blood tests.

Treatments Of Rosacea:

Various treatments methods can be prescribed to reduce the symptoms of rosacea and prevent it from becoming more prominent:

 Topical Medications: These are applied to reduce the inflammation of the skin and can be recommended to be applied once or twice a day. Usually prescribed topical medications include tretinoin, benzoyl peroxide, metronidazole, and azelaic acid.

  • Oral Antibiotics: These are recommended as well for their anti-inflammatory action and work faster than topical medication. Examples of such antibiotics include tetracycline, minocycline, and erythromycin.
  • Isotretinoin (Accutane): Isotretinoin is a potent drug that inhibits the production of oil by sebaceous glands and it is used in severe cases of rosacea. Since the side effects of this drug can be very acute, the patient needs to be observed on a frequent basis.
  • Blephamide: It is a steroid applicable in the form of eye-drop which has to be used daily for three days to a week followed by an interval. This is recommended for people with ocular rosacea.
  • Tetracyclines: Prescribed to patients affected by ocular rosacea, Doxycycline helps to improve conditions of dryness, itching, blurred vision, and photosensitivity.
  • Laser Treatment: Laser treatment includes the use of an intense pulsed light ray that can be employed to shrink the enlarged and visible blood vessels (telangiectasia). This procedure may cause some pain, but it can be carried on most patients without the use of anesthetic. 
  • Plastic Surgery: An an acute case of Rhinophyma, plastic surgery can be conducted if the patient has developed an enlarged nose and puffy cheeks. Laser or Scalpel Surgery can be done to remove the buildup of extra tissues around the nose area. Carbon Dioxide Laser is used to shrink the tissues and reduce its size.

Precautions That One Needs To Take:

These lifestyle adoptions can help you prevent exaggeration of symptoms of rosacea and help you alongside the medication recommended:

  • Prevent overexposure to the sun and try to always wear sunscreen while out in the sun to avoid sun damage and sunburn.
  • Keep away from all skin products that constitute of alcohol or other skin irritants.
  • During winter, cover your face with a scarf or cloth.
  • Avoid rubbing or touching your face frequently.
  • Put moisturizer on the face only after topical ointment has dried.
  • Do not use products labeled as non-comedogenic.
  • Avoid spicy food and alcoholic beverages.
  • Do not use over the counter steroid creams unless included by the dermatologist in the skin treatment regime.
  • Use a gentle cleanser to wash your face.

Complications Of This Skin Condition:

Eventually, the sebaceous glands (the oil glands) around your nose and cheeks area can become enlarged and result in tissue buildup around the nose. This condition is more common among men and can develop gradually over the years.

Although rosacea is not a life-threatening condition, for some people, it may adversely affect their self-esteem and confidence leaving them frustrated and embarrassed because of its visible symptoms.



Tags: Why Is My Nose Red And Shiny, Is Rosacea Itchy, Can You Pop Rosacea Bumps, Rosacea Diet

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Janet Fudge

Janet Fudge writes on general health topics for She holds a post-graduate diploma in Public Health with a major in epidemiology. During the outbreak of COVID-19, Janet actively volunteered in vaccination drives throughout the state of Iowa. She lives in Iowa with her husband and two children.