(rose-AY-sha) is a common skin disease. It often begins with a
tendency to blush or flush more easily than other people do.
With time, people who have rosacea may see permanent redness in the
center of their face. The redness can slowly spread beyond the nose
and cheeks to the forehead and chin.
Rosacea can cause more than redness. Rosacea can cause acne-like
breakouts, visible blood vessels on the face, and dry, irritated
eyes. To treat these diverse signs and symptoms, dermatologists
divide rosacea into 4 subtypes.
The pictures on the right show the 4 subtypes. Few people get all of
the signs shown here. Some signs and symptoms are more common. Many
people get the acne-like breakouts shown in #2. It is rare to get
the enlarged nose shown in #3.
Myths about rosacea common
Although rosacea is common, many myths prevail. To care for rosacea,
it’s important to know what is myth and what is fact. You’ll find
some of the popular rosacea myths debunked here.
Myth: Rosacea can be cured.
Fact: If you’ve seen ads that promise an all-natural cure,
you may be wondering why doctors won’t tell you about it.
Dermatologists would tell their patients if there was a cure. Today,
there is no cure for rosacea. For many people, treatment can help
ease the discomfort and prevent rosacea from worsening.
Myth: Drinking causes rosacea.
Fact: Alcohol can worsen symptoms of rosacea such as
flushing. Drinking, however, does not cause rosacea.
Myth: Rosacea is contagious.
Fact: You cannot catch rosacea from someone else. You cannot
get rosacea from kissing, swimming in the same pool, or even having
Rosacea can last a long time
With or without treatment, rosacea is unpredictable. Many people
have rosacea for years. In one study, researchers asked 48 people
who had seen a dermatologist about their rosacea. More than half
(52%) had rosacea for an average of 13 years. During that time,
their rosacea came and went. The rest of the people (48%) had seen
their rosacea clear. People who saw their rosacea clear had rosacea
for an average of 9 years.
For some people, rosacea is a lifelong condition. Proper treatment
and skin care may ease signs and symptoms.
Treatment eases discomfort
Seeing a dermatologist for rosacea treatment has benefits. It can
ease discomfort and even stop the rosacea from getting worse. Many
people find that with proper treatment, others cannot even tell they
It is best to see a dermatologist for treatment. Some products
available without a prescription may help some signs and symptoms of
rosacea, but these same products can worsen other signs and
By seeing a dermatologist you can make sure that you have rosacea,
learn what subtype (or subtypes) you have, and get a proper
treatment plan. Your treatment plan will include proper skin care
and be tailored to your needs.
Learn more about rosacea
What causes rosacea?
Could I have rosacea?
Crawford GH, Pelle MT, James WD. “Rosacea: I. Etiology,
pathogenesis, and subtype classification.” Journal of the American
Academy of Dermatology
2004; 51: 327-41; quiz 42-4.
The Lewin Group. “The Burden of Skin Diseases 2005,” Prepared for
the Society of Investigative Dermatology and the American Academy of
Dermatology. Last accessed September 21, 2010. Available at
Nicholson K, Abramova L, Chren MM
et al. “A pilot quality-of-life instrument for acne rosacea.”
Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology 2007; 57: 213-21.
Powell FC. “Clinical practice. Rosacea.” N Engl J Med 2005;
content solely developed by the American Academy of Dermatology
According to a survey
conducted by the National Rosacea Society, skin care
products and cosmetics that contain alcohol, eucalyptus,
fragrance, menthol, peppermint, or witch hazel are more
likely to aggravate rosacea.