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Understanding Rosacea: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment Options

Female with rosacea with red cheeks and nose

Rosacea is a chronic skin condition that affects millions of people worldwide. Although it is not life-threatening, it can significantly impact one's quality of life due to its visible symptoms and the psychological distress it often causes. This comprehensive blog post will delve into the essentials of rosacea, covering what it is, its causes, symptoms, and the treatments available. We will also discuss how to recognise if you might have rosacea and show some before and after photos to illustrate the effects of various treatments.

What is Rosacea?

Rosacea is a long-term skin disorder primarily affecting the face. It typically begins any time after age 30 as redness on the cheeks, nose, chin, or forehead. Over time, the redness may become more intense, taking on a ruddy appearance with visible blood vessels. If untreated, bumps and pimples often develop, and in severe cases, the nose may grow swollen and bumpy from excess tissue. This condition is often mistaken for acne, eczema, or an allergic reaction.

What Causes Rosacea?

The exact cause of rosacea remains unknown, but it is likely due to a combination of hereditary and environmental factors. Various factors can trigger or worsen the condition, including:

  • Hot or spicy foods and drinks

  • Extreme temperatures

  • Sunlight or wind

  • Emotions (stress, anger, embarrassment)

  • Exercise

  • Alcohol and caffeine

  • Certain medications that dilate blood vessels

Additionally, there is some evidence to suggest that mites commonly found on the skin, such as Demodex folliculorum, may play a role in the development of rosacea by triggering inflammation.

Symptoms of Rosacea

Recognising the symptoms of rosacea is crucial for early diagnosis and management. Common symptoms include:

  • Persistent Redness: A constant, often patchy redness on the cheeks, nose, and forehead that can come and go.

  • Visible Blood Vessels: Small blood vessels may become visible on the skin surface.

  • Swelling and Skin Thickening: In severe cases, especially in men, the skin on the nose (rhinophyma) can thicken and swell, causing a bulbous appearance.

  • Eye Problems: Many people with rosacea also experience dry, irritated, swollen eyes and eyelids, a condition known as ocular rosacea.

  • Pimples and Bumps: Small red, pus-filled bumps can appear, making rosacea often mistaken for acne.

Do I Have Rosacea?

If you experience persistent redness, visible blood vessels, or acne-like breakouts that don't respond to traditional acne treatments, you might have rosacea. A dermatologist can provide a diagnosis through a visual examination of the skin and by discussing any related symptoms, such as eye irritation or familial history of the condition. There are no specific tests for rosacea, making an accurate medical history and symptom report crucial for diagnosis.

Treatments for Rosacea

While there is no cure for rosacea, a range of treatments can help manage and reduce the symptoms. Treatment options include:

  • Medications: Prescription gels, creams, and ointments that reduce redness and inflammation. Oral antibiotics may also be effective in severe cases.

  • LED Light Therapy: Treatments that help reduce redness and visible blood vessels.

  • Lifestyle Changes: Identifying and avoiding personal triggers can be an effective way to prevent flare-ups.

  • Skin Care Products: Using mild skin care products and sunscreens specifically designed for sensitive skin can help manage symptoms.

Dr Gemma often recommends a combination of treatments tailored to the individual's symptoms and severity of the condition.

Before and After Photos of Rosacea

Before and after of a female with rosacea following 4 weeks of treatment

Before and after photos of rosacea patients can be highly encouraging. This patient had a huge improvement with just 4 weeks of medical grade skincare alone! This photo not only highlight the effectiveness of medical grade skincare but also provides hope and motivation for those struggling with the condition.


Rosacea can be a distressing and uncomfortable condition, but understanding it is the first step toward effective management. With the right combination of treatments and lifestyle adjustments, most people can achieve good control over their symptoms and lead a normal, active life. If you think you might have rosacea, consult Dr Gemma who can provide guidance tailored to your specific condition.

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