What Is Rosacea?


Rosacea is a condition which affects the facial skin of adults, most commonly between the ages of 30 and 50 years. Features of rosacea consist of red spots on the face, localised swelling, flushes of the face, fine broken veins and in advanced cases the nose may appear scarred and lumpy. Recurrent flushing and feeling of a stinging sensation in the face are early clues to the condition.

Is it a form of acne?

No. Rosacea is an inflammatory skin condition of unknown cause. It may be mistaken for acne but unlike acne, there are no whiteheads or blackheads and additional distinctive features are present. It may be mistaken for a skin allergy or eczema resulting in topical steroids being prescribed and these would worsen the condition.

What makes rosacea worse?

  • Unprotected sun exposure
  • Spicy foods
  • Alcoholic beverages
  • Hot liquids
  • Extremes of environmental temperature
  • Stress
  • Prolonged unsupervised use of steroid  creams on the face

How is rosacea treated?

Rosacea tends to recur over many years but it can be treated. Treatment includes the use of antibiotic tablets (e.g. tetracycline, minocycline and erythromycin) and applications containing metronidazole. Isotretinoin is also effective in rosacea. It is important to recognize and avoid situations and factors which aggravate the condition. Regular use of sunscreens will help to reduce flares.

Note to patients: These guidelines are not meant for personal diagnosis or to supersede your existing treatment plan. Please consult your medical doctor for assessment and management on an individualised basis.

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