Symptoms and causes


Signs and symptoms of rosacea may include:

  • Facial redness. Rosacea usually causes a persistent redness in the central part of your face. Small blood vessels on your nose and cheeks often swell and become visible.
  • Swollen red bumps. Many people who have rosacea also develop pimples on their face that resemble acne. These bumps sometimes contain pus. Your skin may feel hot and tender.
  • Eye problems. About half of the people who have rosacea also experience eye dryness, irritation and swollen, reddened eyelids. In some people, rosacea's eye symptoms precede the skin symptoms.
  • Enlarged nose. Rarely, rosacea can thicken the skin on the nose, causing the nose to appear bulbous (rhinophyma). This occurs more often in men than in women.

When to see a doctor

If you experience persistent redness of your face, see your doctor or a skin specialist (dermatologist) for a diagnosis and proper treatment.


The cause of rosacea is unknown, but it could be due to a combination of hereditary and environmental factors. Rosacea is not caused by poor hygiene.

A number of factors can trigger or aggravate rosacea by increasing blood flow to the surface of your skin. Some of these factors include:

  • Hot drinks and spicy foods
  • Alcohol
  • Temperature extremes
  • Sunlight or wind
  • Emotions
  • Exercise
  • Cosmetics
  • Drugs that dilate blood vessels, including some blood pressure medications

Risk factors

Anyone can develop rosacea. But you may be more likely to develop it if you:

  • Are a woman
  • Have fair skin, particularly if it has been damaged by the sun
  • Are over age 30
  • Smoke
  • Have a family history of rosacea


In severe and rare cases, the oil glands (sebaceous glands) in your nose and sometimes your cheeks become enlarged, resulting in a buildup of tissue on and around your nose — a condition called rhinophyma (rie-no-FIE-muh). This complication is much more common in men and develops slowly over a period of years.