What are the Symptoms of Rosacea?

Elizabeth Tumbarello

Someone who blushes easily and is an adult between the ages of 30 and 50 with light skin, blond hair or blue eyes might be at an increased risk for rosacea. Sometimes called adult acne, this skin condition can affect anyone regardless of age, gender, skin type or color. The most pronounced symptom of rosacea is its tendency to cause a deep flush across the affected area. Although this is the most common sign, the symptoms of rosacea vary from person to person and can include things such as dry skin, pimples, facial redness or rash, itching eyes and swelling of the face.

A man undergoing light therapy.
A man undergoing light therapy.

Symptoms of rosacea are divided between primary symptoms and secondary symptoms. Primary symptoms include pimples or blemishes and an itinerant facial redness. Rosacea sufferers might experience a constantly flushed or red face and might display visible blood vessels. To reach a diagnosis of rosacea, one must display at least one of the four primary symptoms of rosacea. These symptoms alone do not necessarily indicate the presence of rosacea.

People with blue eyes have a greater risk of developing rosacea.
People with blue eyes have a greater risk of developing rosacea.

Individuals suffering from rosacea typically experience one or more secondary symptoms of rosacea. Secondary symptoms might include the presence of dry skin, a skin rash or face rash, swelling of the face, burning or itching eyes, a thickening of the skin or the appearance of a primary symptom on another area of the body. Although many people think of rosacea in terms of primary symptoms, some people experience only a battery of secondary symptoms.

Doctors and healthcare professionals separate rosacea into types based on the symptoms, labeling them subtypes 1 through 4. Subtype 1 sufferers experience the characteristic red nose and red cheeks, visible blood vessels and swelling. Those who suffer from subtype 2 experience pus-filled lesions, visible blood vessels and extreme burning or stinging sensations. Subtype 3 sufferers experience a thickening of the skin, visible blood vessels and an enlarging of the skin. Those with subtype 4 experience the symptoms of rosacea but only in or around the eyes.

The exact cause of rosacea is unknown. For this reason, the treatment options focus on the relief of symptoms, with emphasis on controlling the appearance and unpleasant sensations of rosacea. Based on the subtype or types of rosacea that are present, doctors might prescribe topical medications, light therapy, oral medications, antibiotics and cosmetic skin procedures.

There are no known cures for rosacea. Anyone who suspects that he or she might be suffering from rosacea should speak to a doctor or a dermatologist to obtain a proper diagnosis and treatment plan. Although rosacea is not fatal, subtype 4 can cause permanent vision loss.

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