The exact cause is not known. It may be due to a problem with the immune system.

Rosacea may be triggered by:

  • Sunny, cold, or windy weather
  • Stress
  • Hot baths or showers
  • Working out
  • Alcohol
  • Hot or spicy foods
  • Caffeine
  • Rubbing, scrubbing, or massaging the face

Risk Factors

Rosacea often starts in people over 30 years of age. It is more common in people with fair skin who are of European descent.

Other things that may raise the risk are:

  • Sun exposure
  • Long-term use of topical steroids

Rosacea may be linked to a higher risk for other health issues such as:

  • Inflammatory bowel disease
  • High cholesterol
  • Some cancers
  • Depression
  • Migraines
  • SymptomsandDiagnosis


    Facial flushing and redness are the most common symptoms. Others may be:

    • Symptoms of the face, ears, chest, and back:
      • Broken blood vessels
      • Swelling
      • Stinging and burning skin
      • Dry, oily, or rough skin
      • Acne-like pimples
      • Raised patches of skin
      • Thickened skin (rare)
    • Symptoms in the eyes:
      • Redness and tearing
      • Burning, itching, and dryness
      • Sensitivity to light
      • Blurred eyesight


    The doctor will ask about symptoms and health history. A physical exam will be done. This is often enough to make the diagnosis.



    There is no cure. The goal of treatment is to manage symptoms. Choices are:

    • Identifying and avoiding triggers
    • Practicing basic skin care, such as wearing sunscreen and washing with a mild cleanser
    • Medicines, such as:
      • Antibiotics
      • Creams or gels to help shrink blood vessels and decrease redness
      • Eye drops to make more tears for ocular rosacea
      • Acne pills to treat severe rosacea

    People who are not helped by other methods may need laser therapy or light-based therapies. These can help ease redness and manage enlarged blood vessels.


    There are no known guidelines to prevent this health problem.

    This content is reviewed regularly and is updated when new and relevant evidence is made available. This information is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with questions regarding a medical condition.

    Edits to original content made by Denver Health.