Rosacea: Signs and symptoms

Rosacea: Signs and symptoms

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Rosacea causes more than a red face. There are many signs (what you can see) and symptoms (what a person feels) of rosacea.

Because rosacea has so many signs and symptoms, scientists created 4 subtypes of rosacea. Some people have more than one rosacea subtype at the same time. Each subtype requires different treatment.

Subtype 1: Facial redness, flushing, visible blood vessels


Signs and symptoms


  • Flushing and redness in the center of the face.
  • Visible broken blood vessels (spider veins).
  • Swollen skin.
  • Skin may be very sensitive.
  • Skin may sting and burn.
  • Dry skin, roughness or scaling.
  • Have a tendency to flush or blush more easily than other people.
                Rosacea Rosacea: People with this subtype of rosacea, also called ETR, often have very sensitive skin.

 

Subtype 2: Acne-like breakouts


Signs and symptoms

  • Acne-like breakouts, usually where the skin is very red.
  • Acne-like breakouts tend to come and go.
  • Oily skin.
  • Skin may be very sensitive.
  • Skin may burn and sting.
  • Visible broken blood vessels (spider veins).
  • Raised patches of skin called plaques (plaks).
                acne rosacea Acne rosacea: This subtype of rosacea is most common in middle-aged women.

Subtype 3: Thickening skin


Signs and symptoms
This subtype is rare. When it does occur, the person often has signs and symptoms of another subtype of rosacea first. The signs of this subtype are:

  • Bumpy texture to the skin.
  • Skin begins to thicken, especially common on the nose. When the skin thickens on the nose, it is called rhinophyma (rye-NO-fie-ma).
  • Skin may thicken on the chin, forehead, cheeks, and ears.
  • Visible broken blood vessels appear.
  • Pores look large.
  • Oily skin.
                Rhinophyma Rhinophyma: Although rare, rosacea can cause the skin to thicken and have a bumpy texture. When this happens, it is called rhinophyma.
 

Subtype 4: In the eyes

Signs and symptoms
Some people get rosacea in their eyes. The eyes may have one or more of the following:

  • Watery or bloodshot appearance.
  • Feel gritty, often feels like sand in the eyes.
  • Eyes burn or sting.
  • Eyes are very dry.
  • Eyes itch.
  • Eyes sensitive to light.
  • Blurry vision.
  • Visible broken blood vessels on an eyelid.
  • Cyst on the eyelid.
  • Person cannot see as well as before. 
                ocular rosacea Ocular rosacea: When rosacea affects the eye, it is called ocular rosacea. If rosacea affects your eye, you may need to see an ophthalmologist (doctor who specializes in treating eye diseases).


Rosacea can affect quality of life

Rosacea can affect more than the skin and eyes. Because rosacea is a chronic (long-lasting) skin disease, it can reduce a person’s quality of life. Many people report problems at work, in their marriage, and with meeting new people. Surveys and studies report that living with rosacea can cause:

  • Feelings of frustration and embarrassment: In surveys conducted by the National Rosacea Society, 41 percent said their rosacea caused them to avoid public contact or cancel social engagements.

  • Worry: People worry that their rosacea will get worse or cause scars. People worry about side effects from medicine used to treat rosacea.

  • Low self-esteem: Surveys conducted by the National Rosacea Society found that almost 70 percent of people living with rosacea said that the condition lowered their self-confidence and self-esteem.

  • Work-related problems: Surveys conducted by the National Rosacea Society find that when rosacea is severe, 70 percent of people say the disease affects their interactions at work. Nearly 30 percent say that rosacea causes them to miss work.

  • Anxiety and depression: Living with a skin condition that flares unexpectedly can cause people to believe you have a drinking problem. This can cause anxiety and depression.

Treatment seems to improve a person’s quality of life. Studies show that when people have fewer signs and symptoms of rosacea, their quality of life improves.

Learn more about rosacea:

Images used with permission of the American Academy of Dermatology National Library of Dermatologic Teaching Slides.

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