SymptomsBy Mayo Clinic staff
Signs and symptoms of rosacea include:
- Red areas on your face
- Small, red bumps or pustules on your nose, cheeks, forehead and chin (but not the same as whiteheads or blackheads)
- Red, bulbous nose (rhinophyma)
- Visible small blood vessels on your nose and cheeks (telangiectasia)
- Burning or gritty sensation in your eyes (ocular rosacea)
- Tendency to flush or blush easily
Rosacea usually appears in phases:
- Pre-rosacea. Rosacea may begin as a simple tendency to flush or blush easily, and then progress to a persistent redness in the central portion of your face, particularly your nose. This redness results from the dilation of blood vessels close to your skin's surface. This phase may sometimes be referred to as pre-rosacea.
- Vascular rosacea. As signs and symptoms worsen, vascular rosacea may develop — small blood vessels on your nose and cheeks swell and become visible (telangiectasia). Your skin may become overly sensitive. Vascular rosacea may also be accompanied by oily skin and dandruff.
- Inflammatory rosacea. Small, red bumps or pustules may appear and persist, spreading across your nose, cheeks, forehead and chin. This is sometimes known as inflammatory rosacea.
In addition, about 1 in 2 people with rosacea also experience ocular rosacea — a burning and gritty sensation in the eyes. Rosacea may cause the inner skin of the eyelids to become inflamed or appear scaly, a condition known as conjunctivitis.
Late in the course of rosacea, some people, mainly middle-aged men, may develop red, round, raised bumps (papules) and a bulbous nose, a condition known as rhinophyma.
When to see a doctor
Unfortunately, rosacea rarely clears up on its own, and it tends to worsen over time if left untreated. If you experience persistent redness of your face, see your doctor or a skin specialist (dermatologist) for a diagnosis and proper treatment.
Many over-the-counter skin care products contain ingredients — such as acids, alcohol and other irritants — that may worsen rosacea. Because of the progressive nature of rosacea, an early diagnosis is important. Treatments tend to be more effective when started earlier.
- Goldstein BG, et al. Rosacea. http://www.uptodate.com/home/index.html. Accessed Sept. 7, 2010.
- What is rosacea? National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases. http://www.niams.nih.gov/Health_Info/Rosacea/rosacea_ff.pdf. Accessed Sept. 21, 2010.
- Rosacea. American Academy of Dermatology. http://www.aad.org/public/publications/pamphlets/common_rosacea.html. Accessed Sept. 21, 2010.
- Information for patients. The National Rosacea Society. http://www.rosacea.org/patients/faq.php. Accessed Sept. 23, 2010.