Rosacea (pronounced "roh-ZAY-sha") is a chronic and often complex disorder of the facial skin that affects an estimated 16 million Americans, and is often characterized by flare-ups and remissions.
Many have observed that it typically begins any time after age 30 as a redness on the cheeks, nose, chin or forehead that may come and go. In some cases, rosacea may also occur on the neck, chest, scalp or ears. Over time, the redness tends to become ruddier and more persistent, and visible blood vessels may appear.
Left untreated, bumps and pimples often develop, and in severe cases the nose may grow swollen and bumpy from excess tissue. In some patients, the eyes are also affected, feeling irritated and appearing watery or bloodshot.
While there is no cure for rosacea and the cause is unknown, medical therapies are available and steps may also be taken by individuals to effectively control or reverse its potentially life-disruptive effects. However, because rosacea may vary substantially from one patient to another, medical treatment, lifestyle changes and personal care must be tailored for each individual case. The keys to successfully managing rosacea are to follow long-term medical therapy prescribed by your doctor, avoid lifestyle factors that aggravate your individual condition and practice appropriate personal care.
Primary Signs and Symptoms
One or more of the following features on the central face may indicate rosacea:*
• Persistent redness
• Visible blood vessels
• Bumps and pimples
Other Possible Features
Rosacea may also include any of the following secondary features:*
• Eye irritation
• Burning, stinging or itching
• Dry appearance
• Plaques (raised red patches)
• Skin thickening
• Signs beyond the face
* Wilkin J, Dahl M, Detmar M, Drake L, Feinstein A, Odom R, Powell F. Standard classification of rosacea: Report of the National Rosacea Society Expert Committee on the Classification and Staging of Rosacea. J Am Acad Dermatol 2002;46:584-587.