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What Are the 5 Most Common Symptoms of Rosacea?

The 5 most common symptoms of rosacea include flushed skin, persistent redness, visible blood vessels, acne-like bumps, and skin sensitivity

Although rosacea symptoms vary widely from person to person, the 5 most common symptoms include:

  • Flushed skin: Rosacea can cause flushing or blushing, often affecting the cheeks, nose, forehead, and chin.
  • Persistent redness: Red especially around the cheeks and nose may persist instead of fading away.
  • Visible blood vessels: Visible blood vessels (telangiectasia) may  appear as threadlike red lines or patterns on the skin.
  • Acne-like bumps: Many people with rosacea develop red bumps on their face that resemble acne. These bumps sometimes contain pus and are known as pustules.
  • Skin sensitivity: Rosacea may cause a burning and stinging sensation especially with the use of skin care products.
  • Other symptoms may include:

    • Dry, scaly, or oily skin
    • Raised yellow-orange or red patches on the skin
    • Swelling, especially around the eyes
    • Burning or stinging sensation in the eyes
    • Thickened skin on the nose, chin, forehead, cheeks, and ears

    What causes rosacea?

    The exact cause of rosacea is unknown, but several factors play a role:

    • Genetics: You may get rosacea because of a particular gene that runs in your family.
    • Blood vessels: A problem with your blood vessels may cause your face to appear red. If you have light skin, redness may be more noticeable.
    • Bacteria: Helicobacter pylori, bacteria that infect your gut, may make you more likely to get rosacea. Some studies report that they increase the levels of a digestive hormone called gastrin, which can cause flushed skin.
    • Mites: Demodex folliculorum is a mite that is normally found on the nose and cheeks but may cause hypersensitivity in certain people. Studies have reported that many people with rosacea harbor these mites.
    • Anti-microbial protein: A protein that normally protects the skin from infection, cathelicidin, may give rise to rosacea. The development of rosacea depends on how your body deals with this protein.

    Although anyone can develop rosacea, risk factors include: 

    • Light skin, blonde hair, and blue eyes
    • Middle age (30 to 50 years)
    • Female (more common after menopause)
    • Family history of rosacea
    • History of severe acne
    • Smoking


    Rosacea usually first appears on the ________.
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    What are different types of rosacea?

    • Erythematotelangiectatic rosacea: This is the most common type of rosacea and is characterized by persistent redness in the face. The tiny blood vessels present beneath the skin become enlarged and resemble spider legs. Symptoms come and go. If left untreated, redness can spread to other parts of the face and become permanent.
    • Papulopustular rosacea: Papulopustular rosacea may appear as either white pustules (pus-filled blemishes) or red, swollen bumps typically found on the cheeks, chin, and forehead. Blemishes are often mistaken for acne and can take a long time to fade. They may also appear on the scalp, neck, or chest.
    • Phymatous rosacea: With phymatous rosacea, the skin thickens and becomes bumpy, swollen, and sometimes discolored. It commonly affects the nose but can be found on the cheeks, forehead, and ears. It is a rare type of rosacea that affects more men than women.
    • Ocular rosacea: Ocular rosacea affects the eyes, causing them to become watery or bloodshot. Symptoms may include a burning or gritty sensation in the eyes, persistent dryness and sensitivity, and cysts on the eyelids.

    What foods to avoid if you have rosacea

    Rosacea is a chronic condition characterized with flare-ups and symptom-free periods. Sunlight exposure and stress are common triggers. Similarly, certain foods can cause flare-ups. 

    Foods that are known to trigger rosacea include:

    • Liver
    • Yogurt
    • Cheese (except cottage cheese)
    • Soy sauce
    • Sour cream
    • Chocolate
    • Vanilla
    • Yeast-containing items
    • Vinegar
    • Eggplant
    • Avocados
    • Spinach
    • Broad-leaf beans and pods
    • Citrus fruits, tomatoes, and bananas
    • Red plums, raisins, or figs
    • Spicy and thermally hot foods

    Since triggers vary from person to person, it is important to take note of which foods may be causing flare-ups in your particular case.

    How do you clear up rosacea?

    Although rosacea has no cure, various treatment and prevention strategies can help you control symptoms and manage progression of the condition.

    Treatment options for rosacea aim at reducing or controlling rosacea and may include:

    • Cleansers wash that contain ingredients such as:
      • Sulfa
      • Azelaic acid
      • Benzoyl peroxide
    • Topical creams that contain medications such as:
      • Metronidazole
      • Clindamycin
      • Erythromycin
    • Antibiotics such as:
      • Tetracycline
      • Doxycycline
      • Minocycline
    • Isotretinoin oral pill (usually prescribed as a last resort when other types of oral medications fail)
    • Laser therapy (helps decrease the thickening of skin and minimize the appearance of visible blood vessels)
    • Pulsed-light therapies (use of controlled light to alleviate redness and bumps or pimples)
    • Photodynamic therapy (involves applying a topical photosensitizer liquid and then light to activate the sensitizer)
    • Acne medications such as:
      • Tretinoin
      • Adapalene
      • Tazarotene

    Seek medical advice early to help your physician devise the right treatment strategy for you after evaluating your condition.

    How to take care of your skin if you have rosacea

    People with rosacea often have sensitive skin. Here are tips for taking care of your skin to avoid rosacea flare-ups or worsening of symptoms:

    • Use a gentle cleanser to wash your face
    • Avoid washing your face too often
    • Be gentle on your face (avoid rubbing your face with washcloths)
    • Avoid using skin care products with alcohol or other irritating ingredients
    • Use a sunscreen with SPF 50 at least 15 minutes before going out during the day
    • Avoid cosmetics and hair sprays that contain sodium lauryl ether sulfate


    Browse our medical image collection of bacterial skin conditions such as follicultis, scarlet fever, and more
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    Medically Reviewed on 3/4/2022


    Image Source: iStock Images


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