Facial Rosacea Treatments and Symptoms

Facial rosacea is a very common benign skin condition that affects many people worldwide.

It is estimated that at least 14 million people in the United States alone suffer from it.

Symptoms include red patches, visible broken blood vessels, small red bumps, red cysts, and pink or red eyes. Many people with the condition may not even know they have rosacea and assume they have facial acne, are blushing a lot, or have a sunburn.

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Rosacea is non-curable and chronic and is associated with spontaneous flair ups. Adults who have the condition, do not seem to outgrow it or be able to get rid of it. It displays as redness or a flushing look on the cheeks of the face, but can certainly show up on the nose, chin, and forehead.

Small blood vessels may appear out of nowhere and look like minute red lines. These are called telangiectasias. If the condition recurs regularly, small red bumps that resemble acne, may also appear. However, rosacea is not associated with acne but they can both occur simultaneously on your skin.

Facial Rosacea:

  • Usually develops between the ages of 30 and 50.

  • Both sexes are susceptible.

  • It can potentially occur at any age.

  • It occurs more frequently in women but more severely in men.

  • Is not associated with children.

  • Is not seen in people with darker skin tones or black skin.

  • Is most commonly seen in people with fair or light skin, and particularly in those of Irish and Scottish descents.

    Famous people with rosacea include former US President Bill Clinton and W.C. Fields.

    Bill Clinton facial rosacea image

    Causes of Facial Rosacea

    The exact cause of rosacea is unknown but it involves dilation of the small blood vessels of the face. Suspected causes of rosacea include genetic factors, genetics plus sun exposure, a mite sometimes found in hair follicles (Demodex folliculorum), the bacteria Helicobacter pylori (that is associated with stomach ulcers), gastrointestinal disease, and medications that cause blood vessels to dilate.

    Triggers of Facial Rosacea

    A variety of triggers are known to cause rosacea. Some of the most common triggers include sun exposure, stress, hot weather, alcohol, spicy foods, embarrassment, and irritating skin care products. Rosacea flare-ups can be caused by the environment, such as changes in weather patterns or changes in humidity. Sun exposure or sun-damaged skin can also be associated with rosacea. Exercise, alcohol consumption, and emotions, are other well-known triggers that may aggravate rosacea. Many people may also notice episodes around the holidays, particularly Christmas and New Year's holidays.

    Symptoms of Facial Rosacea

    Typical signs and symptoms include facial flushing, redness, burning, red bumps, and cysts. The symptoms tend to come and go. The skin may be clear for weeks, months, or years and then erupt again. Rosacea tends to evolve in stages and typically causes inflammation of the skin of the face, particularly the forehead, cheeks, nose, and chin.

    When rosacea first develops, it may appear, then disappear, and then reappear. However, the skin may fail to return to its normal color and the enlarged blood vessels and bumps come back. Rosacea may rarely reverse itself. Facial rosacea generally lasts for years. If left untreated, it tends to get worse.

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    Nose Rosacea

    Your nose may be one of the first areas to be affected by rosacea. It can become bumpy and red with noticeable dilated small blood vessels. If it's left untreated, advanced stages of rosacea can cause a disfiguring nose condition called Rhinophyma, which is literally growth of the nose. It is characterized by a bulbous, enlarged red nose and puffy cheeks. There may also be thick bumps on the lower half of the nose or on cheekbones. Rhinophyma occurs most often in men. Severe Rhinophyma may require surgery.

    Some people falsely attribute the prominent red nose to alcoholism, and this stigma can cause embarrassment to anyone who has facial rosacea. Although a red nose may be seen in many people that abuse alcohol, not every patient with rosacea consumes alcohol, and some may not indulge at all.

    Eye Rosacea

    Rosacea may or may not affect the eyes. Not everyone with rosacea has problems either. A complication of advanced rosacea, known as ocular rosacea, does affect the eyes. About half of all people with rosacea report feeling a burning, dryness, and/or grittiness in their eyes (conjunctivitis). They may also experience eyelids redness and may experience a sensitivity to light. Often the eye symptoms may go completely unnoticed and are not a major concern. Many times, the physician or ophthalmologist may be the first one to notice the symptoms. Untreated, ocular rosacea may cause serious complications that can damage the cornea, called rosacea keratitis. An ophthalmologist can assist in an eye examination and may prescribe eye drops. Untreated eye rosacea may cause permanent vision damage.

    Facial Rosacea Treatments

    There are many treatment choices for rosacea depending on the severity and extent of symptoms. Available medical treatments include antibacterial washes, topical creams, antibiotic pills, lasers, pulsed-light therapies, photodynamic therapy, and isotretinoin.

    Mild rosacea may not necessarily require treatment if the condition is not bothersome. More resistant cases may require a combination of treatments used simultaneously. Some include washing with a prescription sulfa wash twice daily, applying an antibacterial cream morning and night, and/or taking an oral antibiotic for outbreaks. A series of in-office laser, intense pulsed light, or photodynamic therapies may also be used in combination with a good home routine. It is advisable to seek a physician's care for the proper evaluation and treatment of rosacea.

    Home Facial Rosacea Treatments


    Using a gentle cleanser to wash your face twice daily should help. Over-washing may cause irritation and should be avoided. Using a sunblock is advisable. A topical antibiotic or steroid cream may be prescribed by a Dermatologist and should be used once or twice a day under your application of sunblock.

    Rubbing inflamed skin can cause further inflammation. Some cosmetics and hair sprays may also cause redness and swelling in some instances.

    Facial products (such as soap, moisturizers, and sunblocks) should be alcohol-free and not include harsh ingredients. Moisturizers should be applied with gentle pressure, but only after any topical medications have dried. When going outdoors, sun protection is advised.

    In addition, prescription or over-the-counter cleansers made especially for sensitive skin may help provide relief and control of noticeable symptoms. Irritating soaps and lotions should be avoided, whereas simple and pure products such as Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleanser or Purpose Gentle Cleansing Bar may cause less irritating.

    Using chamomile as a rinse/swab can reduce flare ups. Green tea creams and Rose Hips oil may also be useful.

    Topical Creams

    With the proper treatment, symptoms of rosacea can be fairly well controlled. Popular methods of treatment include topical (skin) medications applied once or twice a day. Topical antibiotic medication such as metronidazole applied one to two times a day after cleansing may significantly improve rosacea. Azelaic acid (Finacea gel 15%) is another effective treatment for patients. Both metronidazole and azelaic acid work to control the redness and bumps in rosacea.

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    Zinc Supplements

    Britain ’s leading nutritionist Jane Clarke has some terrific advice for treating rosacea. She advocates the use of zinc supplements (Zinc Sulfate). People who were given large doses of zinc sulfate (up to 300 mg) experienced a marked improvement in symptoms. Large doses of zinc supplements can cause side-effects and stomach problems such as cramps, indigestion and loose bowels. A physician's advice may be necessary to target a suitable dosage.


    The foods you consume can make your condition either worse or better. Your diet plays an important role in treatment and a long lasting reduction of symptoms. A wholesome nutritious diet with little or no low-glycemic foods can do a world of good for skin conditions like rosacea or acne.

    Keeping a daily account of the foods you consume is monumentally helpful to know which foods cause episodes. Indulging in tea or coffee is not likely to worsen your condition. In fact intake of herbal blends like green tea might even help.

    Excessive intake of coffee/tea, soda’s, and alcohol are not advisable. Making certain lifestyle changes, such as avoiding hot baths and extreme changes in temperature also helps to reduce symptoms. Avoiding foods which are steaming hot or ice-cold can make the condition flare. Instead, consume foods or drinks at room temperature to ensure that symptoms do not return.

    Seabuckthorn Seed Oil

    New research has found that acne rosacea was linked to a microscopic parasite known as demodex, which lives within the skin glands and hair follicles of 99.8 percent of all humans. The research further concluded that Seabuckthorn Seed Oil was extremely effective in treating cases of acne rosacea.

    Seabuckthorn has a wide variety of uses. It has been used in cardiovascular diseases, gastric ulcers, cancer therapy, liver cirrhosis, and to help treat certain skin conditions. It is loaded with essential fatty acids and vitamins that are important for good health.

    Glycolic Peels

    Glycolic acid peels may additionally help to improve and control rosacea in some patients. Glycolic Acid peels can professionally be applied for approximately two to five minutes every two to four weeks. Facial skin peels can also be done at home but only according to manufacturer instructions! Mild stinging, itching, or burning may occur and some patients experience peeling for several days after treatment. Any peel can irritate very sensitive skin and cause flares for some patients so it's best to always use lowest percentage peels.

    Sun Protection

    Sun exposure is a known flare for some cases of facial rosacea. Sun protection using a wide-brimmed hat and avoiding direct sunlight are generally encouraged. Because rosacea tends to occur mostly in fair-skinned adults, the use of an appropriate daily sunblocks may be advised. Zinc-based sunblocks (SPF 30 or higher) are known to provide sufficient sun protection.

    Concealers for Facial Rosacea

    Simple cover-up makeup can be used for the telangiectasias. Green-based moisturizers or tinted foundations that may help conceal visible reddening of the skin. Dermablend Cover Creme has long been used to hide imperfections.

    Facial rosacea may be something you have to live with, but you can certainly control outbreaks by using some preventative actions. Yes, it sucks to have to modify your lifestyle, but isn't life in a constant state of take and give anyway? Acceptance is the real key to happiness!

    Always consult your physician before using natural remedies, especially for anyone with preexisting conditions or anyone currently taking prescription medications. Although many efforts are made to ensure that the advice given on this site is professionally sound, the advice is not intended to replace a mutual relationship with a medical provider.

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