Rosacea is a common, chronic, disorder of facial skin that causes redness in the face, often with small, red, puss-filled papules, characterized by flares and remissions. It begins after age 30, as redness on the cheeks, nose, chin or forehead, which waxes and wanes. In some cases, rosacea may also occur on the neck, chest, scalp, or ears.
Over time, the redness becomes more persistent, and ruddier. Visible blood vessels may appear. Left untreated, bumps and pimples often develop. In some severe cases, the nose may grow swollen and bumpy from excess tissue. This condition is called rhinophyma. In many patients, the eyes are also affected, feeling irritated and appearing watery or bloodshot.
Rosacea can affect anyone, but individuals who are fair-skinned, and tend to flush and blush easily are at greatest risk. It affects women more than men, often starting in middle age. The most severe signs and symptoms are found in men, possibly because they delay treatment until the disease is advanced.
There is no cure for rosacea and the cause is unknown, but medical therapy can control or reverse the signs and symptoms. Individuals who suspect they may have rosacea are urged to see a dermatologist or other knowledgeable physician for diagnosis and appropriate treatment.
Signs and symptoms of rosacea may include:
Facial redness. Rosacea usually causes a persistent redness in the central portion of the face. Small blood vessels on the nose and cheeks often swell and become visible
Swollen red bumps. Many people with rosacea develop bumps on their face that resemble acne. They sometimes contain pus. The skin may feel tender and hot.
Eye problems. About half of the people who have rosacea also experience eye dryness, irritation, and swollen, reddened eyelids. In some people, eye symptoms precede the skin symptoms.
Enlarged nose. Rarely, rosacea can thicken the skin on the nose, causing the nose to appear bulbous (rhinophyma). That occurs more often in men than in women.
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