Please note: This information was current at the time of publication but now may be out of date. This handout provides a general overview and may not apply to everyone. 

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Am Fam Physician. 2015;92(3):online

See related article on rosacea

What is rosacea?

Rosacea (ro-ZAY-shah) is a skin condition that causes redness (blushing) on the cheeks, nose, and forehead.

What are the symptoms?

Common symptoms include:

  • Burning and stinging of the skin

  • Red bumps that look like acne

  • Thickened skin

  • Bumps on the eyelid, called styes

  • Feeling like there is sand in the eye

Who gets it?

Rosacea commonly affects fair-skinned people between 30 and 60 years of age. It generally affects women more than men.

Can it be cured?

Rosacea cannot be cured, but it can be controlled with treatment. Depending on your symptoms, your doctor may prescribe gels or creams for your skin, antibiotic pills, laser therapy, or surgery.

What else can I do to improve my rosacea?

  • Avoid sun exposure by wearing wide-brimmed hats and using sunscreen with SPF 30 or greater.

  • Avoid triggers, such as extreme temperatures, wind, hot or spicy foods, alcohol, stress, or strenuous exercise.

  • Keep a journal of your symptoms and possible triggers, and share this information with your doctor.

  • Use a gentle skin care routine with unscented cleansers and moisturizers (e.g., Cetaphil, Dove Sensitive Skin, Cerave)

  • Avoid cleansers with abrasive or exfoliating agents, alcohol, acetone, and scents.

  • Allow skin to dry between cleansing and applying moisturizers.

  • Use yellow- or green-tinted makeup to reduce redness.

Where can I get more information?

Your doctor

National Rosacea Society

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