By Dr Ananya Mandal, MD
Rosacea is a chronic skin condition leading to redness, flushing and sometimes permanent deformity of the face. Rosacea is particularly common among fair skinned, Caucasian individuals but can also be found among people of Asian and African origin.
The condition may effect either gender and is most common among middle aged individuals.
The common symptoms of the condition include:
Flushing of the facial skin leading to warmth and redness across the face. Individuals who experience blushing during childhood and adolescence are more likely to develop rosacea when they are older than those who do not experience the phenomenon during this phase of life. Such blushing or flushing episodes can last for up to five minutes and may spread across the neck and chest. The flushing is usually a result of vigorous exercise, exposure to heat, or drinking hot beverages. Stress and embarrassment can also trigger flushing.
Persistent redness that leads to a blotchy, red appearance of the face. This blotchiness is also seen in alcoholics, which it is possible rosacea patients may be mistaken for. This blotchy redness may be visible across the cheeks, nose and chin as well as the neck and chest area. The skin may also appear dry and scaly.
Burning or stinging sensation across affected skin.
The development of papules (raised bumps) and pustules (blisters filled with pus) across affected areas. Such lesions may or may not be painful and may also become infected with bacteria.
Visible, thread-like blood vessels across the surface of the skin called telangiectasia. These are one of the characteristic symptoms of rosacea and are often diagnostic of the condition.
Thickening and pitted skin that eventually enlarges and leads to deformity of the face. Skin across the nose may swell and becomes bulbous, a condition called rhinophyma. Overall, rhinophyma rarely manifests, but the symptom is more common among menthan women. Deformities or "phymas" of other parts of the face including the chin, cheeks or forehead may also occasionally be seen.
Irritation, redness, watering and itching of the eyes and increased sensitivity of the eyes to bright light. These ocular symptoms of rosacea can occur before other facial symptoms.
Reviewed by Sally Robertson, BSc
Last Updated: Sep 22, 2013