Rosacea is a common, long-term skin condition involving inflammation of the skin on the face. The exact cause of rosacea is unknown, and it affects twice as many women as men, although it is usually more severe in men.

Typical symptoms include red spots and persistent redness of the skin in the centre of the face. Small blood vessels in the skin can become visible. In the most severe cases, the skin can thicken and enlarge, usually on and around the nose.

Rosacea most commonly affects fair-skinned people from northern Europe and is estimated to affect up to 1 in 10 people. Symptoms usually begin between the ages of 30 and 50, and rosacea can be mistaken for acne, an allergic reaction or other skin problems.

There is no cure for rosacea, but treatments are available to control and reduce the symptoms.

The condition can be triggered or aggravated by factors that increase blood flow to the surface of your skin, including hot drinks, spicy food, alcohol, temperature extremes, sunlight or wind, emotions, cosmetics and some medications.

Signs & Symptoms

  • Facial redness
  • Swollen red bumps
  • Flushing
  • Hot, tender skin
  • Eye irritation
  • Visible blood vessels
  • Enlarged nose (more common in men)

Prevention and Treatment

Treatment for rosacea focuses on controlling signs and symptoms. This often requires a combination of skincare and prescription treatments. The duration of your treatment depends on the type and severity of your symptoms.

Treatment may include:

  • Topical cream or gel
  • Prescription or over-the-counter sensitive skin cleansers
  • Medications to reduce redness
  • Oral antibiotics (for moderate to severe rosacea)
  • Laser or intense pulsed light therapy for enlarged blood vessels (telangiectasia)
  • Photodynamic therapy (PDT), one of the newly available treatments
  • Surgical treatment to remove excess tissue from the nose (rhinophyma)
  • Eye drops or ointment for dry eyes

Self Care Measures:

  • Avoid known triggers to reduce the severity and frequency of symptoms
  • Use sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher, even on overcast days
  • Minimise your exposure to the sun
  • Engage in low-intensity exercise such as walking and swimming, instead of high-intensity exercise like running or aerobics
  • Avoid spicy food and alcohol as much as possible
  • Protect your face and nose from cold weather and wind by covering up with a scarf or ski mask
  • Do not rub, scrub or massage your face
  • Use an unscented moisturiser to soothe your skin
  • Avoid oil-based cosmetics, scented soaps and alcohol-based cleansers and facial products
  • Gently clean your skin every morning and evening using a gentle, non-abrasive cleanser
  • Men may find that using an electric razor, rather than a blade, helps reduce skin irritation
  • Some makeup products and techniques may help reduce the appearance of skin redness, eg green-tinted makeup or facial powder.
  • Green tea soaks to the face may also help decrease redness and inflammation
  • Try to manage your stress levels through relaxation techniques like yoga, meditation or deep breathing exercises

If you are worried you or your child has rosacea, please visit your local medical doctor for medical diagnosis and treatment.