Rosacea Symptoms

Medically Reviewed by Stephanie S. Gardner, MD on July 26, 2019

Most people think of rosacea as a red face. It’s true this skin condition can cause facial redness, but it can also cause many other symptoms. They range from pimples on your cheeks to thick skin on your nose. Rosacea usually appears on your face, but you can have it on your neck, scalp, ears, eyes, or chest, too.

As many as 16 million Americans have rosacea, yet many don't realize they have it. Rosacea can be treated, but step one is knowing it's there.

The First Signs

Rosacea symptoms often don’t start to appear until age 30 or later. Symptoms can come and go. As a result, many people think it’s acne or a sunburn.

The Types of Rosacea

Symptoms can be different from person to person. There are four basic types of rosacea. You can have just one type, or you can have more. Women tend to have rosacea more often than men, but men tend to have more severe symptoms.

Type 1: Facial Redness

This is the most common type of rosacea and the type most people know. Symptoms can include:

  • Stinging, burning, sensitive skin
  • Visible small blood vessels and redness of the skin
  • Dry or rough skin
  • Swollen skin
  • Blushing or flushing easily

Type 2: Breakouts

This type causes pimples on the skin that can look like acne. It’s the second most common type of rosacea. Other symptoms can include:

  • Oily skin
  • Patchy raised areas on the skin
  • Visible small blood vessels
  • Sensitive skin

Type 3: Thick Skin

This type of rosacea is rare. Most people have another type first. Left untreated, it can cause skin thickening on the nose, making it look enlarged.

It can also cause:

  • Bumpy skin
  • Large pores
  • Oily skin

Type 4: Ocular Rosacea

This type of rosacea affects the eyes. People often say it feels like having grit or sand in your eyes. If you have another type of rosacea, it’s important to watch for symptoms of ocular rosacea. If not treated, it can cause problems with vision.

Other symptoms include:

When to See Your Doctor

If you have any rosacea symptoms, see your doctor. Early treatment can ease symptoms and help stop rosacea from getting worse. .

WebMD Medical Reference



American Academy of Dermatology: "Rosacea: Signs and Symptoms."

Seemal R. Desai, MD, FAAD, clinical assistant professor in the Department of Dermatology at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center; president and medical director of Innovative Dermatology in Plano, Texas.

Elizabeth S. Martin, MD, fellow at the American Academy of Dermatology; dermatologist in private practice in Hoover, Alabama.

National Rosacea Society: "All About Rosacea," "If You Have Rosacea You’re Not Alone."

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