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Babylon Health

What is Rosacea?

To some people, it looks like sunburn. Other people may simply think you’re blushing. But for sufferers of rosacea, the redness and thickening of the skin that sometimes appear across the nose or cheeks can be an embarrassing, frequent and unexplained fact of life.

Rosacea is a non-contagious, fairly common skin condition that causes redness and inflammation of the skin. Most commonly, rosacea affects the skin on the face but other areas may be affected too.

Suffering from rosacea can be embarrassing and inconvenient. While rosacea is still quite poorly understood, there have been important advances in recent years in treating and managing the condition.

Symptoms of rosacea

Rosacea results in different symptoms for different people. In some people, flare-ups are short and mild with only slight reddening of the skin. In more severe cases, the skin reddens far more dramatically and suffers also feel burning, dryness and itching. Rosacea can also cause thickening of the skin.

Some of the most common rosacea symptoms include:

  • Redness of the cheeks, nose and forehead
  • Visible blood vessels under the skin (telangiectesia)
  • Burning or Itching skin
  • Dryness
  • Sensitive skin
  • Pimples
  • Bumpy or raised skin

If you find that your facial skin or another part of your body appears red, irritated and inflamed for no reason or remains that way for periods of time, you may be suffering from rosacea. It is always important to talk to your doctor if you experience medical symptoms that are unexplained. Helpfully, it is also possible to get rosacea treatment online, meaning same-day diagnosis and treatment with a qualified doctor.

Types of rosacea

There have been a number of recent changes to how rosacea is diagnosed. These changes take account of the fact that rosacea symptoms can be very different for different people, making a clear classification of a particular “type” of rosacea tricky.

Today, patients can be diagnosed with rosacea if they have at least one of the following diagnostic symptoms (known as diagnostic phenotypes):

  • Fixed centrofacial erythema – Long-lasting redness of the skin in a specific pattern typically on the face and nose but can also include your neck, chest, ears, and forehead.
  • Phymatous changes to the skin – these symptoms typically include skin thickening and a bulging or enlarged appearance of the nose

A doctor can also diagnose rosacea if a patient has at least two of the following major symptoms of rosacea (also known as major phenotypes):

  • Papules and pustules –Raised areas of redness on the skin or raised areas on the skin filled with pus
  • Flushing – Skin turning red in response to triggers such as sunlight, stress, or spicy foods, among other causes.
  • Effects on the eyes – Rosacea can affect a patient’s eyes, causing symptoms including bloodshot eyes, eyelid redness, burning and stinging.

Rosacea causes and risk factors

The cause of rosacea isn’t fully understood. However, doctors think that a combination of genetic and environmental factors leads to flare-ups in sufferers. You may have noticed that a lot of time spent outdoors is a specific trigger for you. Or that drinking coffee or alcohol seems to cause symptoms to begin to show.

People with rosacea all have different reasons for their flare-ups, but here are some of the most common triggers:

  • Drinking alcohol
  • Sunlight and UV exposure
  • Coffee, tea or other foods with caffeine
  • Anxiety and stress
  • Extreme temperatures, either hot or cold weather
  • Exercise
  • Hot baths
  • Dairy
  • Hot and spicy foods
  • Skin creams, makeup and lotions

Rosacea treatment

It’s important to practice good skin care, if you have rosacea. If you are prone to dryness, you should use a gentle face cleanser, avoid harsh, irritating skin products, and moisturize often. You should also protect your skin from sun exposure by using a broad spectrum sunscreen with at least SPF (sun protection factor) 30 - even in the winter. If you want to cover the redness cosmetically, you can try using a green-tinted foundation or facial powder.

Yet, the most important way to manage rosacea is to avoid your specific rosacea triggers as much as possible. Excessive sunlight, alcohol or exposure to cold winds should all be minimized, if they are triggers for you.

However, it’s not always possible to completely avoid rosacea triggers and manage flare-ups with general skin care. For some sufferers, further management may be needed. That’s when a consultation with a doctor can be very helpful. Rosacea treatment plans should always be customized to the unique needs of the patient.

Prescription medications, laser and light-based treatments, oral antibiotics, additional OTC treatments and other therapies may all be prescribed to help treat the symptoms of rosacea. Your health care provider may also recommend topical gels, cleansers and creams and other skin care products which can improve the appearance of skin. Talk to your doctor about what options may be right for you and the level of improvement you can expect to see.

The first step to getting appropriate rosacea treatment is consulting a medical provider who can help with evaluating your symptoms. You can also get effective rosacea treatment online by talking to a trained medical professional who can prescribe the medicines you need.

Some common medicines include:

  • Azelaic Acid
  • Azithromycin (Zithromax)
  • Brimonidine (Mirvaso)
  • Dapsone (Aczone)
  • Doxycycline (Oracea)
  • Erythromycin
  • Isotretinoin
  • Ivermectin (Soolantra)
  • Metronidazole (Metrogel)
  • Minocycline (Minocin)
  • Oxymetazoline (Rhofade)
  • Tetracycline


Can you get rosacea treatment online?

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Yes. You can get rosacea treatment in as little as 15 minutes by submitting your information and speaking to a health care provider from your phone or computer. After understanding more about your condition, your healthcare provider will advise a treatment plan that is suited to your needs.

Is rosacea an autoimmune disorder?

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Rosacea is not yet fully understood. Most often, it is described as an inflammatory disorder due to the inflammation and redness seen during flare-ups. However, it has been linked to certain other autoimmune conditions. More research is needed to understand the condition fully.

How long does a rosacea flare-up last?

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For rosacea sufferers, flare-ups can be both embarrassing and very uncomfortable. They can get in the way of normal activities and cause people to avoid social contact and suffer from low self-esteem. Unfortunately, predicting how long a flare-up will last can be difficult. Flare-ups may be as short as one day, or may last as long as a month. You should speak to your doctor or get help with online rosacea treatment if the condition is getting in the way of your everyday activities.

Is rosacea genetic?

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Many doctors believe that rosacea does have a genetic link. Look at your family history. Is there anyone in your immediate family who has suffered from the condition? If so, you may also be a sufferer. Importantly, both environment and genetics have a role to play in rosacea. So even if you have a genetic tendency to suffer from the condition, your symptoms can be lessened by reducing triggers and using the right medications, as prescribed by your doctor.

What are home remedies for rosacea?

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Some rosacea sufferers see good results from home remedies, while others do not see any improvement and need the help of a doctor to clear up their symptoms. Some common home remedies include:

  • Applying dilute white vinegar soaks to the face. Diluting the vinegar well is extremely important.
  • Applying green tea soaks to the face.
  • Applying oatmeal, chamomile and turmeric to the face for their calming effects.
  • Being on an anti-inflammatory diet

If you are suffering from red, dry, itchy or inflamed skin on your face or elsewhere on the body, speak with your doctor or reach out for medical help online. With the right treatment and lifestyle changes, you can make the shift to clearer, more comfortable skin.

The information provided is for educational purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Seek the advice of a doctor with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never delay seeking or disregard professional medical advice because of something you have read here.