Find Vaccine information, visitor restrictions, and additional resources
Home > Health Library > Rosacea
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.
Rosacea is not caused by heavy alcohol use, as people thought in the past. But in people who have rosacea, drinking alcohol may cause symptoms to get worse (flare).
People with rosacea may have:
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 this far.
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.
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 worse.
There are some things you can do to reduce symptoms and keep rosacea from getting worse.
A dermatologist can prescribe treatments to reduce redness and any breakouts.
One of the most important things is to learn what triggers your flare-ups, and then avoid them. It can help to keep a diary of what you were eating, drinking, and doing on days that the rosacea appeared. Take the diary to your next doctor visit, and discuss what you can do to help control the disease.
Stay out of the sun between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. When you are outdoors, protect your face by wearing a wide-brimmed hat or visor. Use a sunscreen that is rated SPF 30 or higher every day. If your skin is dry, find a moisturizer with sunscreen.
Use skin care products for sensitive skin, and avoid any products that scratch or irritate your skin. Try not to rub or scrub your skin.
Gently wash your eyelids with a product made for the eyes. Apply a warm, wet cloth several times a day. Use artificial tears if your eyes feel dry. Or talk to your doctor about medicine you can put into your eyes.
Current as of:
March 3, 2021
Author: Healthwise StaffMedical Review: Kathleen Romito MD - Family MedicineAdam Husney MD - Family MedicineMartin J. Gabica MD - Family MedicineAmy McMichael MD - Dermatology
Current as of: March 3, 2021
Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review:Kathleen Romito MD - Family Medicine & Adam Husney MD - Family Medicine & Martin J. Gabica MD - Family Medicine & Amy McMichael MD - Dermatology
To learn more about Healthwise, visit Healthwise.org.
© 1995-2021 Healthwise, Incorporated. Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated.
Feeling under the weather?
Use our interactive symptom checker to evaluate your symptoms and determine appropriate action or treatment.
Get started learning more about your health!
Our Interactive Tools can help you make smart decisions for a healthier life. You'll find personal calculators and tools for health and fitness, lifestyle checkups, and pregnancy.