Rosacea is a condition that causes redness of the face, especially across the cheeks and nose. It may also include visible blood vessels or bumpy skin in these areas or eye redness.

It is estimated that more than 14 million people in the United States have rosacea, though many do not realize it. Rosacea typically starts between 30 and 50 years old and occurs more frequently in people with fair skin—often with light hair and blue eyes—particularly those with Celtic or Scandinavian ancestry. Women are more likely than men to have rosacea, but men are more likely to have severe rosacea.

Types of Rosacea

Rosacea is grouped into four types, based on the location and symptoms:

  1. Facial redness, flushing, and visible blood vessels in the center of the face: Other symptoms include dry skin, roughness or scaling, and a tendency to flush or blush easily. People with this subtype of red face often have very sensitive skin and may experience burning or stinging sensations.
  2. Acne-like breakouts (called acne rosacea): In this type of rosacea, the skin is very red and oily with acne-like breakouts that come and go. The redness is accompanied by visible broken blood vessels and raised patches of skin called plaques. The skin may be very sensitive with feelings of burning or stinging. This type is most common in middle-aged women.
  3. Thickening skin on the cheeks and nose: This type of rosacea includes a bumpy texture and visible broken blood vessels, especially on the nose. The skin may also thicken on the chin, forehead and ears. The skin in these areas is oily with large visible pores.
  4. Rosacea in the eyes: Symptoms may include watery or bloodshot appearance; feeling of dryness, grittiness, burning, stinging or itching; light sensitivity; blurry vision; and broken blood vessels or cysts on the eyelids.

Doctors Who Treat Rosacea

  • Dermatologist: A doctor who specializes in skin conditions and diseases. A dermatologist diagnoses, treats and monitors patients with rosacea.
  • Internist or family physician: Doctors who provide general medical care for adults. Adults with rosacea may initially see an internist or family physician before being referred to a dermatologist.