What is rocasea? Everything you need to know...

Even though the skin condition affects around 1 in 10 people in the UK, lots of people with rosacea aren't aware of the best ways to deal with it. 

Although there is no cure for the chronic condition, once you learn the right strategies for managing it, you’ll be prepared for flare-ups. Before we get into the nitty-gritty of regaining control of rosacea, it’s best to know exactly what is going on with your skin. 

What is rosacea?

The British Association of Dermatologists defines rosacea as: “A common skin condition, usually occurring on the face, which predominantly affects fair-skinned but may affect all skin types in people aged 40 to 60 years old.” 

From the weather to your immune system and genes, the condition can be caused by loads of things and experts aren’t fully aware of the cause. It’s also useful to know that, even though rosacea does affect more women than men (girls are three times more likely to live with the condition) men often experience worse symptoms.

What does rosacea look like?

Lots of people with rosacea often tend to blush more easily. After this, their cheeks and nose (the central regions of the face) tend to remain a deeper shade of red than the rest of their complexion. Small blood vessels, bumps and spots can also show up in affected areas. 

On top of redness, rosacea can cause the skin to become more sensitive, hot or uncomfortable. In some cases, patients with the condition experience eye problems which, in severe cases, cause blurred vision. 

Research also shows that different sexes get rosacea in different parts of their faces. It’s thought that women are more likely to experience symptoms on the cheeks and chin whereas men are more likely to get it on the nose. 

What causes the skin condition? 

As we have already said, the exact cause of rosacea is not fully understood. However, it is known that triggers for the condition cause the blood vessels in the skin of the face to enlarge (dilate), causing redness. Interestingly, although the condition does run in families, there is no proven genetic link. 

People have different triggers, including: 

  • Alcohol and smoking 
  • Exercise 
  • Skincare / makeup 
  • Stress 
  • Hot drinks 
  • Changes in temperature 
  • Spicy food

How is rosacea managed?

Like any chronic condition caused by triggers, finding out what is causing the flare-up and cutting it out is your best tip for self-management. 

Antibiotics are prescribed for people with moderate rosacea because of their anti-inflammatory effects. Doctors might also give you medicated creams that you can apply to your rosacea. The British Skin Foundation says: “It takes at least 8 weeks for the effect of this treatment to become evident and some applications work specifically to reduce the redness associated with rosacea.” 

There are loads of other things that you can do to help your symptoms. Whether it's wearing SPF, treating affected areas with kindness, steering clear of perfumes or making sure you're moisturised, try out some strategies to find the ones that suit you. 

In this video, Dr Sharon Wong tells you everything you need to know about rosacea: 

Here are two great videos about treatments and impacts of the condition: 

Want more? Here, Julie shares her story with rosacea:

If you need extra support for your rosacea, our myrosacea support programme is great for actionable, weekly advice. You should also check out our talkrosacea hub where we have loads of articles and expert insights too! 

Information contained in this Articles page has been written by talkhealth based on available medical evidence. The content however should never be considered a substitute for medical advice. You should always seek medical advice before changing your treatment routine. talkhealth does not endorse any specific products, brands or treatments.

Information written by the talkhealth team

Last revised: 12 September 2023
Next review: 12 September 2026