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eMed previously Babylon Health


Reviewed by Dr Claudia Pastides, 25th April 2019

Rosacea is a long-term skin condition which mainly affects the skin on the face - the cheeks in particular. It causes redness and irritation on the skin, which can be very embarrassing and inconvenient for the sufferer. Rosacea is still a relatively poorly understood condition, but great steps have been taken in recent years to treat and manage it. If you think you have rosacea and are interested in the treatment and management options available, speak to a doctor today.

Causes of rosacea

The root cause of rosacea has not yet been conclusively proven. Many believe it’s caused by a defect in the blood vessels of the face, which are prone to dilating too easily. Experts have also claimed that rosacea can be the result of a reaction to mites commonly found on the facial skin.

There are also many different triggers for rosacea episodes, and these vary from person to person. The most common triggers include:

  • Alcohol
  • Strenuous exercise
  • Spicy foods
  • Dairy
  • Extreme temperatures, either high or low
  • Stress
  • Caffeine
  • Exposure to sunlight
  • Some medications

Symptoms of rosacea

The symptoms of rosacea can vary between individuals. The most common symptom is flushing, where the skin on the face turns red. Many people without rosacea experience flushing for a short time when they’re embarrassed or warm, but flushing caused by rosacea is often more severe and long-lasting. Other symptoms can include:

  • Permanent redness of the face
  • A burning or stinging sensation when flushing
  • Visible blood vessels on the face
  • Spots

Treatment for rosacea

While there is currently no long-term or permanent cure for rosacea, there are treatments which can help to control the symptoms and allow sufferers to live a relatively normal life. These treatments include oral medications to clear up spots (such as oral antibiotics), and topical creams and gels which are applied directly to the area.

It’s also advised that rosacea sufferers try to pinpoint their own triggers. Avoiding well-known triggers like alcohol, caffeine, overexposure to sunlight, spicy food and stress can help manage the condition effectively. New treatments involving laser and pulsed light (IPL) treatments can also be helpful, especially for those who have more severe cases of rosacea.

The information provided is for educational purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Seek the advice of a doctor with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never delay seeking or disregard professional medical advice because of something you have read here.