Browse services
your locationFind care near me

Find Urgent Care today

Find and book appointments for:


Symptoms, Causes, Treatments, Questions & Related Topics

Key Points

  • Rosacea is a skin condition with symptoms such as redness, acne, sensitivity, and thick skin, varying depending on the type of rosacea.
  • Erythematotelangiectatic rosacea (ETR), acne rosacea, rhinophyma rosacea, and ocular rosacea are the different types of this condition.
  • The condition is prevalent in fair-skinned individuals, those with a family history of rosacea, women over 30, smokers, and individuals with certain unknown risk factors.
  • Triggers for rosacea flare-ups can include spicy food, alcohol, extreme weather, certain skincare products, medications, exercise, and stress.
  • While rosacea has no cure, it can be managed through regular dermatologist visits, medications, cosmetic treatments, and a tailored skincare regimen.

Possible Symptoms for Rosacea

1. Redness on the face

The main symptom of rosacea is a combination of red bumps or rash on the skin that may or may not be pus-filled.[1] These bumps often appear on the nose, forehead, and cheeks, but they might also appear on or around the eye area, depending on the type of rosacea occurring, of which there are four. These are erythematotelangiectatic rosacea( ETR), acne rosacea, rhinophyma rosacea, and ocular rosacea. Each causes a variation of symptoms associated with the rosacea condition.

2. Sensitivity in the skin

Often, people with rosacea experience sensitivity in the skin of their faces, noses, and sometimes, near their eyes. This can be attributed to the acne associated with rosacea, but it can also simply be a byproduct of the flushing and redness caused by the condition. People who have it may be more sensitive to certain creams or face washes as well.[1]

3. Acne and broken blood vessels

In many cases, rosacea goes hand-in-hand with acne flareups that breakout anywhere on the face, especially the forehead, nose, and cheeks. One may also see signs of broken blood vessels in the face due to breakouts from ETR or with acne rosacea.

4. Swollen or thick skin

Rhinophyma is a version of rosacea that can cause the skin on the nose to become thick and swollen. This kind of swelling can also occur with other types of rosacea on the cheeks, forehead, or chin.

Top 5 Causes of Rosacea

1. Fair skin

People with fairer skin are more likely to experience problems with rosacea. This is also common in those who blush often and/or individuals who are more likely to flush when exposed to higher heat levels.[2] Past sun damage from burning is another risk factor associated with rosacea.

2. Heredity

Rosacea often runs in families. Although it is not a serious condition, individuals are more likely to experience it if their parents or someone else in the family has it.

3. Gender and age

Women are much more likely to experience rosacea than men, although rhinophyma rosacea, a much rarer form of the disorder, is more common among men.[1] Women over the age of 30 are also more likely to develop rosacea than younger women. People who experienced acne during their teenage years and are still prone to it may be more likely to experience problems with rosacea later in life.

4. Smoking

People who smoke cigarettes regularly are more likely to develop rosacea. This link is not as well understood in the medical community as some of the other risk factors for rosacea, and further studies are necessary to determine what links smoking with rosacea.[3]

5. Unknown

Many different issues may also play a role, including the immune system, the presence of common skin mites, and certain proteins; however, since scientists still don’t know exactly what causes rosacea, determining why this condition occurs is difficult.[4]

2 Ways to Prevent Rosacea

1. Avoid your triggers

Rosacea can flare up from many different triggers that differ from person to person. In one individual, spicy food or alcoholic beverages can cause flareups.[1] In others, extremely hot or cold temperatures, wind, sunlight, or other weather conditions can be triggers. Everything from makeup to facewash to medications to exercise can cause rosacea flareups—including intense emotions or stress. Determining what triggers your rosacea and avoiding such triggers when possible is a good way to prevent rosacea flareups.

2. Take care of your skin

Contrary to popular belief, rosacea does not occur because an individual lacks a fastidious grooming regimen. However, the condition does require some management with a skin-care plan that does not include harsh chemicals.[4] For example, when you are washing your face or applying/removing makeup, be sure to use gentle products rather than harsh ones.

Possible Rosacea Treatment Options

1. See your dermatologist

As of today, there is no complete cure for rosacea. However, by visiting your dermatologist regularly you can receive help in managing the condition. Rosacea can also be minimized by avoiding triggers to prevent flareups and by using various treatments.

2. Medications

Some medications can be used to treat rosacea and minimize the likelihood of flareups.[5] For example, brimonidine gel can be used to tighten the blood vessels in the face, antibiotics can be taken to minimize the bacteria found on the skin, and azelaic acid can reduce the sight of bumps or swelling on the face. However, some of these medications can take weeks or even months to begin taking effect.

3. Cosmetic treatment options

Certain cosmetic treatments can be used to minimize the appearance of rosacea. Microdermabrasion or dermabrasion are two cosmetic procedures that can remove the top layer of skin.[1] This can be especially effective for thickened skin. Light treatments or laser treatments can also be effective for severe rosacea symptoms.

4. Connect and manage

Managing rosacea often requires daily care, especially a specific skin care regimen. You can also connect with other people who have rosacea to learn helpful tips and to minimize feeling alone in your condition.

Questions Your Doctor May Ask about Rosacea

  • Have you noticed anything that could have triggered your rosacea?
  • When was your last flareup? How long did it last?
  • Do you experience any problems with vision or just the skin condition?
  • Has anyone in your family ever suffered from rosacea?
  • Do you smoke or drink alcohol?

Rosacea May Also be Known as:

  • ETR
  • Acne rosacea
  • Rhinophyma rosacea
  • Ocular rosacea


Frequently asked questions

  • What is rosacea and what are its symptoms?

    Rosacea is a skin condition that causes redness, acne, sensitivity, and thick skin. The symptoms can vary depending on the specific type of rosacea.
  • What are the different types of rosacea?

    There are four types of rosacea: erythematotelangiectatic rosacea (ETR), acne rosacea, rhinophyma rosacea, and ocular rosacea. Each type has its own unique set of symptoms.
  • Who is most likely to develop rosacea?

    Rosacea is more common in people with fair skin, those with a family history of the condition, women over the age of 30, smokers, and individuals with some unknown risk factors.
  • What triggers a rosacea flare-up?

    A rosacea flare-up can be triggered by many factors such as spicy food, alcoholic beverages, extreme temperatures, wind, sunlight, certain skincare products, medications, exercise, and stress.
  • Is there a cure for rosacea?

    No, there isn't a cure for rosacea. However, it can be managed through regular visits to a dermatologist, medications, cosmetic treatments, and a specific skincare regimen.
  • What questions might a doctor ask to better understand my rosacea condition?

    A doctor may ask about your symptoms, triggers, family history, lifestyle, and skincare regimen to better understand your rosacea condition.
  • Can lifestyle changes help manage rosacea?

    Yes, lifestyle changes such as avoiding known triggers, maintaining a specific skincare regimen, and regular visits to a dermatologist can help manage rosacea.
  • Can smoking increase the risk of developing rosacea?

    Yes, smoking is one of the risk factors associated with rosacea.

Solv has strict sourcing guidelines and relies on peer-reviewed studies, academic research institutions, and medical associations. We avoid using tertiary references.

Related Health Concerns

Abdominal Pain

Athlete's Foot


Cataract Surgery

Food Allergies

Genital Herpes


Heat Rash


Joint Subluxation


Pinched Nerve

Psoriatic Arthritis

Sexually Transmitted Diseases

Skin Infections

Spider Veins


Tooth Extraction

Solv App

Quality healthcare is just a
click away with the Solv App

Book same-day care for you and your family

Find top providers near you
Choose in-person or video visits
Manage visits on-the-go
Get the FREE App

This site uses cookies to provide you with a great user experience. By using Solv, you accept our use of cookies.