By Dr Ananya Mandal, MD
Rosacea is a skin condition that leads to redness and flushing of the face and sometimes of the neck and chest.
Disease course is typically waxing and waning in nature, with patients experiencing symptom-free periods interspersed between episodes of “flare-ups,” when symptoms breakout and persist for weeks or even months. Common complaints associated with flare-ups of the condition include a sensation of warmth and the appearance of redness across the face. Episodes of flushing can last up to five minutes and may spread to the neck and chest.
Due to the persistent nature of the redness, there may be a blotchy, red effect across the face that often feels warm, with a burning or tingling sensation. Papules (raised bumps) or pusfilled blisters and prominent blood vessels may also develop and over time, skin may become thick and pitted, eventually leading to deformity. In particular, skin across the nose can become swollen and bulbous, a condition called rhinophyma. In addition, the eyes may become red and watery.
Flare-ups are usually caused by trigger factors, which rosacea sufferers are encouraged to identify and avoid as a means of managing the condition. Such triggers include:
Hot or cold weather
Alcohol and caffeine
High blood pressure
Among some individuals, however, symptoms may become aggravated in the absence of any apparent trigger factor.(See Rosacea trigger factors)
Reviewed by Sally Robertson, BSc
Last Updated: Sep 22, 2013