Understanding Rosacea -- Diagnosis and Treatment

Medically Reviewed by Stephanie S. Gardner, MD on January 17, 2022

How Do I Know If I Have Rosacea?

Rosacea is diagnosed by examining the skin on your face. The presence of enlarged blood vessels will distinguish it from other skin disorders. Early diagnosis and treatment is important to control rosacea and prevent its progression.

What Are the Treatments for Rosacea?

There is no cure for rosacea. The primary goal of treatment is to control the redness, inflammation, and skin eruptions. The biggest key to controlling rosacea is to avoid triggers -- factors that cause the skin to flush.

Common triggers include sun exposure, very hot or very cold weather, alcohol, very hot foods, spicy foods, intense exercise, and stress. In addition, menopause and some drugs may cause flushing. To help identify your triggers, keep a diary of when symptoms appear, what you were doing, the environmental conditions, and what you think may have brought on your symptoms. Discuss this with your doctor.

Proper skin care can also help. Use very mild skin cleansers and high-quality, oil-free cosmetics and moisturizers to help prevent irritation. Also, use a sunscreen with broad spectrum coverage (SPF 30 or higher for UVB protection and zinc oxide, titanium dioxide, or avobenzone for UVA protection) to help prevent symptoms triggered by sunlight.

If these measures aren't enough, long-term treatment with oral antibiotics such as erythromycin (ERYC), metronidazole (Flagyl), tetracycline, doxycycline (Doryx, Oracea, Vibramycin), and minocycline (Dynacin, Solodyn) has been shown to control skin eruptions and curb the progression of rosacea. In most cases, results take a few months to appear, so patience and diligence are required. Because there is no cure for rosacea, treatment with prescription medication is often required for months to years to control symptoms.

In addition, dermatologists commonly prescribe topical creams, lotions, ointments, gels, foams, or pads, such as:

In more advanced cases, laser surgery may be used to eliminate visible blood vessels or excess skin tissue caused by rhinophyma.

Show Sources

International Rosacea Foundation.
American Academy of Family Physicians.

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