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Rosacea is a chronic skin condition that often runs in families. There is no permanent cure for the condition, but your dermatologist can provide treatment to control symptoms and prevent the disease from flaring or worsening.


What Causes Rosacea?


The exact cause of rosacea is unknown, but some possible causes currently being investigated include:


  • Genetics:  Rosacea may be hereditary since multiple family members are sometimes affected

  • Overactive immune response:  Individuals with rosacea may have an abnormal immune response when exposed to certain bacteria

  • Certain bacterial infections:  H. pylori, a bacteria that causes stomach and intestinal infections, is common in individuals with rosacea, although not everyone with H. pylori gets rosacea

  • Demodex mites:  A common skin mite that is suspected to illicit an inflammatory response in some people with rosacea.


How is Rosacea Evaluated & Treated?


Since there are multiple signs and symptoms associated with rosacea, dermatologists divide the disease into 4 subtypes:


  • Subtype 1:  Facial redness with visible broken blood vessels. Individuals may also experience sensitive or dry skin, stinging, swelling, roughness or scaling.

  • Subtype 2:  Intermittent breakouts with papules or pustules resembling acne. Oily, red skin that may burn or sting. Spider veins and skin plaques are also evident.

  • Subtype 3:  Less commonly, individuals with rosacea may suffer from skin thickening on the nose, chin, forehead, ears and/or cheeks. The skin becomes bumpy and oily and skin pores appear large.

  • Subtype 4:  Rosacea sometimes occurs in the eye causing it to appear watery or bloodshot. The condition can affect vision and lead to burning, dryness, light sensitivity, grittiness, itch or eyelid cysts.


People with rosacea often fall into more than one subtype, so treatment must be individualized.  After your dermatologist evaluates your symptoms, medical treatment may include:


  • Medications:  Includes oral and topical antibiotics and emollients to soothe and moisturize

  • Laser or pulsed light therapy:  Reduces the appearance of blood vessels, redness or skin thickening


For rosacea of the eyes, your dermatologist may prescribe artificial tears, oral antibiotics, ophthalmic preparations and careful eye and eyelash cleaning routines.


Proper treatment and care of rosacea can minimize flare-ups and reduce uncomfortable symptoms.

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