Acne Rosacea – Symptoms, Causes, Treatment

Acne Rosacea Facts

  •  Acne rosacea is a chronic skin disease that affects both teenagers and adults.
  •  It causes redness on the face with periodic flares and remissions.
  •  It begins with facial blushing and is high on middle aged women who have fair complexion.
  •  Rosacea commonly occurs on the face and more particularly on the nose.
  •  The symptoms of acne rosacea will come and go and some people mistake this for allergic skin reaction.
  •  It would cause small red bumps on your face.
  •  There is no cure for rosacea but through effective treatments the symptoms can be managed.
  •  Some foods triggers acne rosacea and it gets worse when you are stressed or exposed to sunlight.

Unlike acne which affects only teenage people, rosacea is common in adults. The symptom of rosacea is markedly seen on the nose and central part of your face causing flushing reaction.

Acne Rosacea Symptoms

Facial redness is very prominent in acne rosacea and it leaves the skin with permanent redness in the middle of your face. Actually small blood vessels on your face develop inflammation and become visible causing redness.

Along with redness there will be tiny bumps on the face resembling acne. These lesions are pus filled blisters and the skin becomes tender and hot.

Some people will also experience dryness of eye and irritation. The eyelids may also become red and swollen. The nose area is mostly affected with rosacea and the nose looks thicker than other parts of the face. It looks as though you are having bulbous nose.

This effect is more prominent in men than women. The symptoms will not stay forever on your face. It will come and go on periodic time. The skin will look clear for months together and suddenly there will be fresh rosacea symptoms on your face. For some people the symptoms would be present for years and if left untreated it may worsen.

Acne Rosacea Causes

Acne rosacea is believed to be caused by many factors but no one factor is concrete. During rosacea the blood vessels of the skin become enlarged thereby increasing the blood flow to the face.

Certain foods like hot spicy foods, beverages, alcohol, and exposure to extreme temperature, stress, exposure to sunlight, taking hot baths, strenuous exercise and use of corticosteroids can aggravate the symptoms of rosacea. Though many factors are predicted exact cause of rosacea still remains unclear.

Who Are At Risk?

Being a woman, having fair complexion increases the risk of getting rosacea. Very often middle aged women are affected. Rosacea is prominent in people with family history.

Tests and Diagnoses

No lab tests are required for detecting acne rosacea since doctors can easily identify it through the symptoms on your face. However your doctor will have to rule out other skin conditions like psoriasis or eczema which causes similar symptoms. In rare cases, doctor may do a skin biopsy or skin scraping for confirming the diagnoses.

Acne Rosacea Treatment

No cure is available for acne rosacea but symptoms can be controlled and managed by regular use of medications. Various types of treatment options like topical creams, oral medications, invasive surgeries and laser therapy are available for rosacea. For many people combination of one or two methods are effective in managing the symptoms.


Antibiotics are prescribed for reducing the effect of inflammation of blood vessels that cause redness of your face. Your doctor may give you gels or creams or lotions to be applied on your face. In case of severe symptoms you have to take oral pills for getting quick relief from the symptoms.

Metronidazole or Flagyl cream is one of the most popular lotions that are used for treating rosacea. You can cleanse the face and apply the cream over it for 2-3 times a day. Azelaic acid can also be used as an alternative for reducing the symptoms. Oral antibiotics like tetracycline, doxycycline, minocycline and amoxicillin are given. It helps in reducing the inflammation and redness on the skin.


Steroid medications can be used only for short term for reducing heavy inflammation and redness. Desonide lotion or cream can be applied over the affected areas. Tretinoin, tazarotene and adapalene are also prescribed by doctors for acne rosacea. Isotretinoin is given for controlling severe symptoms and prescribed only if other methods of treatment are ineffective. You need to use soft cleansers like Rosanil or Clearasil on the face instead of harsh soaps.

Surgical Procedures

Surgical intervention for rosacea is not uncommon for patients with severe redness. Laser surgery, photodynamic therapy and electro-surgery are administered for reducing the inflammation of blood vessels. The surgeon will gently remove the underlying tissue from the affected area for giving improved looks.

Laser therapy is being followed by many people nowadays but it can cause slight discomfort. It can be expensive and not covered by company insurance since it falls under cosmetic category. You have to repeat laser therapy for every 3-6 weeks interval for getting the best outcome.

Photodynamic Approach

Topical photo sensitizer liquid or cream is applied on the affected part of the skin. Levulan and blue light are used simultaneously for treating inflammation of blood vessels. It is effective in removing pimples or acne and it also improves the quality of skin texture. Photodynamic therapy is not surgical process and can easily be performed in the doctor’s office. However for PDT or laser therapy one should strictly avoid going out in the sun for 3-5 days for getting the best positive results.

Initially PDT may cause sunburn like appearance on your face for few days. But it will slowly disappear making your skin flawless. For some patients this therapy is very effective in not getting any remissions for several months. At the most, it might take 1-2 hours for completing this therapy.

Other Methods

Chemical peels are widely used for improving skin texture by patients affected with acne rosacea. Glycolic acid peel can be applied for 4-5 minutes on the skin for every week. It can cause mild itching and burning sensation. For some people the skin may peel off for several days after applying the lotion.

It is essential for the person affected with rosacea to get total protection from the sunlight. You can use sunscreen lotions and wear a big hat that covers the entire face. Make sure that the cream you use contains SPF factor 30 for getting protection from sunlight.

Lifestyle Changes

Avoid foods that trigger rosacea. Do not go out in hot sunny day. As long as you are minimizing the exposure of sunlight you are reducing the chance of flare-ups. Even in winters you have to protect your face with a mask or scarf. Do not use harsh soaps on your skin since it can worsen the symptoms. Use gentle cleansing lotion that has no chemicals.

Do not keep on changing products expecting quick results. It takes some time for any topical cream or lotion to act on your skin reducing inflammation. Hence stick on to a product (recommended by your doctor) for at least 6 months. If you are not satisfied with the results you can change the product.

Foods that are to be avoided include hot and spicy items, dairy products like yogurt, cheese and sour cream, chocolates and alcohol (in any form). Smoking can make the symptoms worse and hence reduce it to minimum or quit smoking. Certain medications like vasodilators given for blood pressure can trigger the symptoms. You can discuss with your doctor to find suitable alternative.

Natural Remedies

Green tea and vinegar are the best choices for treating acne rosacea. Green tea is believed to possess anti-inflammatory property and hence effective in curing redness.

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