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Rosacea is a common skin condition that causes redness and visible blood vessels in your face. It may also produce small, red, pus-filled bumps. These signs and symptoms may flare up for weeks to months and then go away for a while. Rosacea can be mistaken for acne, other skin problems.
Rosacea can affect anyone. But it’s most common in middle-aged women who have light skin. There’s no cure for rosacea, but treatment can control and reduce the signs and symptoms.
Signs and symptoms of rosacea include:
- Facial redness. Rosacea usually causes a persistent redness in the central part of your face. Small blood vessels on your nose and cheeks often swell and become visible.
- Swollen, red bumps.Many people with rosacea also develop pimples on their face that resemble acne. These bumps sometimes contain pus. Your skin may feel hot and tender.
- Eye problems. Many people with rosacea also experience dry, irritated, swollen eyes and red, swollen eyelids. This is known as ocular rosacea. In some people, the eye symptoms precede the skin symptoms.
- Enlarged nose.Over time, rosacea can thicken the skin on the nose, causing the nose to appear bulbous (rhinophyma). This occurs more often in men than in women.
If you experience persistent redness of your face, see your doctor or a skin specialist (dermatologist) for a diagnosis and proper treatment.
The cause of rosacea is unknown, but it could be due to a combination of hereditary and environmental factors. Rosacea is not caused by poor hygiene.
A number of factors can trigger flare-ups, including:
- Hot drinks and spicy foods
- Red wine and other alcoholic beverages
- Temperature extremes
- Sunlight or wind
- Drugs that dilate blood vessels, including some blood pressure medications
- Various cosmetic products
Over time, the oil glands (sebaceous glands) in your nose and sometimes your cheeks become enlarged, resulting in a buildup of tissue on and around your nose — a condition called rhinophyma. This complication is much more common in men and develops slowly over a period of years.
Lifestyle and home remedies
These self-care practices may help you control the signs and symptoms of rosacea and prevent flare-ups
- Identify and avoid triggers.Pay attention to what tends to cause flare-ups for you and avoid those triggers.
- Protect your face.Apply sunscreen daily. Use a broad-spectrum sunscreen — which blocks both ultraviolet A and ultraviolet B rays — with an SPF of 30 or higher. Apply sunscreen after you apply any topical medication you are using for your face, and before applying any cosmetics.
Take other steps to protect your skin, such as wearing a hat and avoiding midday sun. In cold, windy weather, wear a scarf or ski mask.
- Treat your skin gently. Don’t rub or touch your face too much. Use a nonsoap cleanser and moisturize frequently. Avoid products that contain alcohol or other skin irritants.
- Reduce visible redness with makeup.Some makeup products and techniques may help reduce the appearance of skin redness. Try powder cosmetics with a green tone and matte finish.
Treatment for rosacea focuses on controlling signs and symptoms. Most often this requires a combination of good skin care and prescription drugs.
The duration of your treatment depends on the type and severity of your signs and symptoms. Recurrence is common.
New rosacea medications have been developed in recent years. The type of medication your doctor prescribes depends on which signs and symptoms you’re experiencing. You may need to try different options or a combination of drugs to find a treatment that works for you.
Prescription drugs for rosacea include:
- Topical drugs that reduce redness.For mild to moderate rosacea, your doctor may prescribe a cream or gel that you apply to the affected area.
- Oral antibiotics
- Oral acne drug
Laser therapy and other light-based therapies may help reduce the redness of enlarged blood vessels. Repeat treatments may be needed periodically to maintain the improved appearance of your skin