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A Red Face Could Mean Rosacea

Most of us have seen someone with rosacea. It is a long-term (chronic) skin condition. It can cause facial redness, bumps, pimples, and thick skin. It can also cause red and irritated eyes, and swollen eyelids.

Many Americans have rosacea to some degree. It mostly occurs in people ages 30 to 50. Many people don't know they have rosacea at first. They think the redness and pimples are teenage skin problems that have come back. Outbreaks on the cheeks and nose are common. But it can also be seen on the forehead, neck, chest, and back.

Experts don’t know what causes rosacea. Risk factors include having light skin that blushes easily. People from any ethnic group can develop rosacea. But it is more common in people of northern and western European descent who have pale skin. Women are 3 times more likely to have the disease. But men often have more severe symptoms. Over time, the skin redness becomes more visible. Blood vessels may be seen. If untreated, symptoms such as bumps and pimples may develop. The nose may also become swollen. In rare cases, the eyes are affected.

Having rosacea can be very stressful. Many people with the condition have anxiety, anger, and depression. Stress can also trigger symptoms. This cycle of symptoms and frustration can make the disease seem hopeless. There is no cure for rosacea. But effective treatments are available. Talk with your healthcare provider to find out which treatment is best for you.

Treatment includes the following:

  • Staying away from triggers, including stressful situations

  • Washing skin with mild soap and slightly warm or cool water

  • Using moisturizers and sunscreens

  • Drinking cool water

  • Using a cool towel on the face after working out

  • Using makeup, particularly with a green tint, to hide the redness  

  • Using prescription gels, creams, lotions, and antibiotics

  • Having lasers and other light therapy for some forms of rosacea

Always check your insurance coverage. Some procedures may be considered cosmetic.

Online Medical Reviewer: Michael Lehrer MD
Online Medical Reviewer: Raymond Kent Turley BSN MSN RN
Online Medical Reviewer: Rita Sather RN
Date Last Reviewed: 8/1/2018
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