Rosacea, also known as acne rosacea, is very common skin condition that predominantly affects adults.  It may occur in individuals of all skin types but is most common in Caucasians with fair skin.  There are a constellation of signs and symptoms that make up rosacea, and individuals may have one or more of these.  Common symptoms include:

  • Facial redness
  • "Broken" blood vessels (telangiectasias)
  • Flushing
  • Pimples 
  • Swelling of the face
  • Skin sensitivity
  • Eye inflammation

What Causes Rosacea?

The underlying cause of rosacea is unknown.  People with rosacea have blood vessels in the skin that are highly responsive to stimuli from the environment.  It's probable that some or much of the redness of rosacea is a result of sun damage in fair-skinned people who are predisposed to these skin changes.  Patients with rosacea also tend to have intrinsically sensitive skin.  

What are the Rosacea "Triggers"?

There are several factors that may aggravate rosacea in individuals with this problem.  Consider modifying your exposure to these factors if they cause your rosacea to flare.

  • Heat and humidity
  • Cold exposure
  • Exercise
  • Alcohol
  • Spicy Foods
  • Hot drinks

How is Rosacea Treated?

  1. Pimples of rosacea are treated with topical and/or oral medications.  Topical medications that are frequently used include topical antibiotics and azaleic acid.  Oral antibiotics are sometimes used, most commonly doxycycline or tetracycline.  Occasionally isotretinoin (Accutane®) is used for rosacea.
  2. The redness and broken blood vessels of rosacea can be treated temporarily with brimonidine gel (Onreltea®/Mirvaso®).  Longer-lasting results can be obtained with laser treatments which are often highly effective.

What is Some Skin Care Advice for Individuals with Rosacea?

  1. Wash your face once daily with water or with a gentle soap-free cleanser. 
  2. Use gentle skin care products.  Avoid products that contain acids or harsh  ingredients such as benzoyl peroxide or salicylic acid
  3. Avoid astringents, toners and exfoliators.  
  4. Avoid heavy make-up or sunscreen that is difficult to remove without scrubbing the skin.
  5. Use a gentle moisturizer daily after you wash your face
  6. Avoid the triggers that make your rosacea flare
  7. Always use a broad-spectrum gentle sunscreen. Look for one that has Zinc Oxide in it.  Wear a hat in sunny weather
  8. Exercise caution with procedures such as facials, peels or microdermabrasian.  These frequently exacerbate rosacea
  9. Consider seeing a dermatologist if your rosacea is bothersome


For Dr. Levy's blog post with more skin care tips for people with rosacea click here.