Rosacea is a common skin condition characterized by redness, pimples, and broken blood vessels on the face and eyes.

An estimated 16 million people in the U.S. have rosacea

Rosacea tends to begin in middle age, between the ages of 30 and 60. It’s more common in women and in fair-skinned people, although it can occur in people of any skin color.

The Cause of Rosacea

The cause of the condition is unknown; however, there are certain things that cause the face to flush and that can make rosacea worse. These include:

  • Sunlight and temperature extremes

  • Stress, anger, or excitement

  • Hot drinks and hot foods, spicy foods, and alcohol

  • Irritating cosmetics and other facial products

  • Strenuous exercise

  • Certain medications


Rosacea is usually diagnosed with a complete medical history and physical examination. Specific treatment will be determined by your doctor based on:

  • Your age, overall health, and medical history

  • Extent of the rash

  • Your tolerance for specific medications, procedures, or therapies

  • Expectations for the course of the rash

  • Your opinion or preference


Rosacea can’t be cured, but it can be treated and controlled to improve the skin’s appearance. Treatment may include diet modifications—avoiding foods that dilate the skin’s blood vessels, such as caffeine, spicy foods, and alcohol. It’s key to understand what triggers a rosacea flare-up, because it can vary from person to person. Some common triggers include sun exposure, hot weather, vigorous exercise, and stress. Once you know what causes rosacea flare-ups, you can take steps to avoid or manage your triggers.

In addition, your doctor may also recommend treatment options such as topical and oral antibiotics, glycolic acid peels, cortisone cream, laser therapy, dermabrasion, or electrosurgery.

Medical Reviewer: [Lee Jenkins, Sara Foster, RN, MPH] Last Annual Review Date: 2009-06-19T00:00:00-06:00 Copyright: © 2000-2010 The StayWell Company, 780 Township Line Road, Yardley, PA 19067. All rights reserved. This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your healthcare professional's instructions.

Reference: Skin, Hair and Nails section on Better Medicine

Did You Know?

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Up to 50% of all rosacea sufferers have symptoms that affect the eyes, such as redness, dryness, or burning.