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Rosacea is a long-term skin condition that mainly affects the face. It's more common in women and people with lighter skin, but symptoms can be worse in men. Treatment can help with symptoms.

Check if you have rosacea

The first signs of rosacea include:

  • redness (blushing) across your nose, cheeks, forehead, chin, neck and chest that comes and goes, usually lasting for a few minutes each time – your face may also feel warm, hot or painful
  • a burning or stinging feeling when using water or skincare products

The redness may be harder to see on brown or black skin.

Picture of red patches caused by rosacea on the cheeks of a man with white skin.
As rosacea gets worse, the skin on your cheeks, nose and forehead may be red all the time.
Picture of broken blood vessels caused by rosacea on the cheek of a woman with white skin.
Rosacea may cause tiny broken blood vessels to appear on your skin that do not go away.
Picture of pink and red bumps with some bumps filled with a yellowish liquid on the cheek of a woman with white skin.
You may get small pink or red bumps on your face, sometimes filled with a yellowish liquid, if you have rosacea.

Other symptoms can include:

  • dry skin
  • swelling, especially around the eyes
  • yellow-orange patches on the skin
  • sore eyelids or crusts around roots of eyelashes – this could be blepharitis
  • thickened skin, mainly on the nose (usually appears after many years)


It's not known what causes rosacea, but some things can make symptoms worse.

Common triggers for rosacea include:

  • alcohol
  • spicy foods
  • hot drinks
  • sunlight
  • hot or cold temperatures
  • aerobic exercise, like running
  • being stressed

If you're not sure it's rosacea

Rosacea can look a lot like other conditions, such as:

Non-urgent advice: See a GP if:

  • you have symptoms of rosacea

Urgent advice: Ask for an urgent GP appointment or call 111:

If you have rosacea and:

  • your eye is painful
  • your vision is blurred
  • you're sensitive to light
  • you have a red eye
  • your eye feels gritty

These could be signs of keratitis, which can be serious if not treated urgently.

Treatment for rosacea

Rosacea cannot be cured, but treatment from a GP can help control the symptoms. It can get worse if it's not treated.

A GP may suggest:

  • prescriptions for creams and gels you put on your skin
  • taking antibiotics for 6 to 16 weeks

A GP may refer you to a skin specialist (dermatologist) if treatments are not working.

Things you can do to help rosacea

Rosacea is not caused by poor hygiene and it's not contagious. But there are things you can try to help with symptoms.

If you know a trigger like alcohol or spicy food makes symptoms worse, try to avoid it as much as possible.


  • wear a high SPF sunscreen of at least SPF 30 every day

  • try to avoid heat, sunlight or humid conditions if possible

  • try to cover your face in cold weather

  • use gentle skincare products for sensitive skin

  • clean your eyelids at least once a day if you have blepharitis

  • take steps to manage stress


  • do not drink alcohol

  • do not have hot drinks

  • do not eat spicy food

  • do not do too much aerobic exercise, like running


Find out more

The charity Changing Faces can offer advice and support if you're feeling anxious or depressed.

You can:

Video: Rosacea

This video describes symptoms, causes and treatment options for rosacea.

Media last reviewed: 1 July 2021
Media review due: 1 July 2024

Page last reviewed: 17 March 2023
Next review due: 17 March 2026