What is Rosacea?

Rosacea is a common but poorly understood long-term skin condition that mainly affects the face. It can be controlled to some degree with long-term treatment, but sometimes the changes in physical appearance can have a significant psychological impact.

Symptoms of Rosacea:

Symptoms often begin with episodes of flushing, where the skin turns red for a short period, but other symptoms can develop as the condition progresses, such as:
burning and stinging sensations .
permanent redness.
spots (papules and pustules).
small blood vessels in the skin becoming visible.

Rosacea is a relapsing condition, which means there are periods when symptoms are particularly bad, but less severe at others.

When to see your GP.

See your GP if you have persistent symptoms that could be caused by rosacea. Early diagnosis and treatment can help stop the condition getting worse.
There's no specific test for rosacea, but your GP will often be able to diagnose the condition by:
examining your skin.
asking about your symptoms.
asking about possible triggers you may have.

In some circumstances your GP may arrange further tests to rule out other conditions with similar symptoms, such as lupus or the menopause. For example, these could be a blood test or skin biopsy, where a small scraping of skin is removed and examined.

Causes of Rosacea.

The exact cause of Rosacea is unknown, although a number of possible factors have been suggested, including abnormalities in the blood vessels of the face and a reaction to microscopic mites commonly found on the face.
Although they're not thought to be direct causes of the condition, several triggers have been identified that may make rosacea worse.

These include:

exposure to sunlight.
strenuous exercise.
hot or cold weather.
hot drinks.
alcohol and caffeine.
certain foods, such as spicy foods.

Treating Rosacea.

There's currently no cure for Rosacea, but treatment can help control the symptoms.
Long-term treatment is usually necessary, although there may be periods when your symptoms improve and you can stop treatment temporarily.

Self-help measures and medication:

avoiding known triggers – for example, avoiding drinks containing alcohol or caffeine.
creams and gels – medications applied directly to the skin to reduce spots and redness.
oral medications – tablets or capsules that can help clear up more severe spots, such as oral antibiotics.


Laser and intense pulsed light (IPL) treatment may be helpful. They can help reduce the symptoms of rosacea. These involve beams of light being aimed at the visible blood vessels in the skin to shrink them and make them less visible.

Living with Rosacea.

It's important to try to come to terms with the fact you have a chronic condition that, although incurable, is controllable. Persevering with your treatment plan and avoiding your individual triggers are the best ways of controlling your symptoms.
As your physical symptoms improve, you may start to feel better psychologically and emotionally.

If you have Rosacea, take comfort in knowing you're not alone. There are millions of people living with the condition in the UK and across the world.
Speak to your GP if you're feeling depressed as a result of your condition. They may recommend further treatment if necessary.

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