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Acne Rosacea – Causes, Symptoms & Treatment

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Do you often suffer from redness, bumps and pus-filled pimples resembling acne on your face? Are you aware that this skin condition may even affect your vision if left untreated? Well, if you can relate to the above situations, it is time to find out more about acne rosacea.

What Is Acne Rosacea?

It is a severe skin condition that affects middle-aged people (35-50 years). It is characterized by visible blood vessels on your face along with redness. It may also produce groups of ‘spots’, red bumps or pus-filled pimples. These bumps are usually painful or itchy. The symptoms may flare up for a week or a month and then diminish for a while. It is often confused with an allergic reaction or acne.

Also Read: Safe Effective Treatment For Acne Rosacea

Types Of Acne Rosacea

Here are four types of acne rosacea with different symptoms and severity.

  • Erythematotelangiectatic rosacea (ETR) – It is a commonly seen form of this skin concern identified by the presence of visibly broken blood vessels or as reddish and sensitive skin.
  • Papulopustular rosacea – It is common in middle-aged women and may appear in the form of breakouts that resemble acne.
  • Phymatous rosacea – It is a rare skin condition characterized by the enlargement, swelling or thickening of the skin on the nose (Rhinophyma), ears or forehead.
  • Ocular rosacea – It may affect the eyes leading to slight itchy or gritty feeling of eyes and in later stages may lead to a blurring of vision or increased sensitivity to the sun.

Acne Rosacea Causes

You may suffer from this skin condition due to a combination of hereditary (up to 25% of patients have a positive family history of it) and environmental factors. One misconception surrounding it is that it may be due to poor hygiene, which is not correct.

Many factors are responsible for increasing the blood flow to the surface of the skin and can trigger or aggravate this skin condition. These include –

  • Extreme temperatures
  • Hot or spicy foods
  • Harsh sunlight or wind
  • Alcohol
  • Exercise or heavy workout
  • Certain cosmetics
  • Drugs that dilate blood vessels, e.g. blood pressure medications or topical steroids if used for a prolonged period
  • Emotional stress or anxiety

Who Can Get Acne Rosacea?

Anyone can suffer from this skin concern, but it is more likely to occur in middle-aged adults and those who have a fairer skin tone. A damaged skin barrier due to excessive sun exposure or other factors or a family history of it can increase your chances of suffering from this skin condition.

Which Areas Of The Body Are Prone To Acne Rosacea? 

Acne rosacea usually appears on the face, but it may affect the eyes too. The central part of the face is more commonly involved i.e. forehead, nose, chin, and cheeks.

Symptoms Of Acne Rosacea

  • Frequent Facial Redness– Facial redness is one of the most common symptoms of this dermatological concern. The skin tends to become pink or red based on the severity of the condition and looks flushed. You may suffer from increased sensitivity to the sun and skin care products for example – soaps and astringents.
  • Small Bumpy Red Spots –The skin looks red with bumps all over that look like tiny pus-filled pimples.
  • Tiny Blood Vessels –The blood vessels are visible on the surface of the skin and spread like spider’s web throughout the face.
  • Facial Swelling –It may lead to mild swelling of the face, and it may look puffed up.
  • Enlarged Nose –The nose tends to swell up with transient redness that also makes pores on it look enlarged. In severe cases, it may lead to the distortion of the shape of the nose.
  • Eye Problems –This skin concern in its acute form may affect the eyes cause dryness, excessive watering, itching, blurred vision, and light sensitivity.
  • Thickening Of The Skin –This dermatological concern may affect the nose usually making the skin thick and rough in texture.

Also Read: What Is Cystic Acne – Symptoms, Causes & Treatment Options?

Acne Vulgaris vs Acne Rosacea

  • Acne vulgaris involves oily skin, black and whiteheads, deeper lesions, i.e. nodules and cysts. Acne rosacea causes persistent redness with small bumps due to increased blood flow on the face. It does not cause scarring while acne vulgaris may lead to scars.
  • Acne vulgaris is usually observed in teens or young adults whereas acne rosacea typically affects middle-aged individuals mostly having a fair complexion.
  • Acne rosacea can cause eye problems. Acne vulgaris is limited not only to certain parts of the face (T-zone area) but may also appear on the trunk, chest, and shoulders.

Acne Rosacea Treatment In India

The treatment of this dermatological concern in India involves an evaluation of the individual’s skin condition by a doctor. He may then advise a suitable procedure to control the signs and symptoms of acne rosacea. Some of the popular treatments include –


  • Topical Medications – Metronidazole is a popular topical medication prescribed by the dermatologist as the first line of treatment for this skin issue. It helps in controlling bumps and pus-filled pimples.
  • Oral Antibiotics – Oral antibiotics like tetracycline are prescribed to control redness, bumps, and acne on the skin. They can also help improve refractory ocular symptoms.
  • Isotretinoin – Dermatologists prescribe Isotretinoin for treating severe cases of this dermatological concern. It must be used for 4-6 months consistently to get visible results. It may also help in reducing some degree of rhinophyma.

Laser Treatment

Laser treatment helps in effectively treating patients having prominent blood vessels and facial redness. Your dermatologist may use a laser beam of a specific wavelength on the affected area to shrink the blood vessels and restore healthy skin. The method also helps in debulking of the Phymatous rosacea.

Acne Rosacea Before And After Results

Also Read: What Acne Medications Are Prescribed By Doctors In India?

Tips To Prevent Acne Rosacea

There is no specific way to prevent this skin issue, but you can control it by identifying the factors that trigger flare-ups or aggravate the symptoms. You should strictly avoid the triggers that may worsen the condition. Here are some simple tips you can follow to prevent suffering from this skin condition –

  • Select skin and hair products carefully
  • Use skin-friendly makeup
  • Check with your dermatologists
  • Follow sun protection

If you are suffering from acne rosacea, consult a leading dermatologist today to keep your skin healthy and glowing.

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About The Author

Dr. T N Rekha Singh

Dr. T N Rekha Singh

Dr TN Rekha Singh is an MBBS, MD in Dermatology, Venerealogy and Leprology from Andhra Pradesh with over 10 years of experience in the areas of dermatology and trichology. Working as a Senior Consultant Cosmetic Dermatologist and Trichologist with Oliva Clinics for 8 years now, she has trained over 60 Doctors in the areas of skin and hair care. One of the pioneer dermatologists with Oliva, she has been exemplary in bringing clinical marvels in addition to mentoring MD dermatologists and therapists. She was awarded for her research at the AP state conference, and has participated and presented papers at many national and international dermatology conferences. She is dedicated in bringing beauty and wellness through real science of transformation, giving real results. She enjoys reading, travelling and cooking. She lives with her husband and two kids in Hyderabad.

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