Last updated: April 26, 2023

Summarytoggle arrow icon

Rosacea is a chronic inflammatory skin disease that may be triggered by a number of factors (e.g., alcohol, stress). The etiology is unclear; however, the disease is more common in female, middle-aged, and light-skinned individuals. The disease presents with central facial erythema, telangiectasias, and papules/pustules. In severe cases, the nose develops a large, bulbous shape (rhinophyma). In contrast to acne, comedones are not present. Treatment options include the avoidance of triggers, topical agents (e.g., metronidazole, brimonidine) for mild disease and oral agents (e.g., metronidazole) for more severe disease.

Epidemiologytoggle arrow icon

  • Sex: > [1]
  • Age range: 30–60 years [1][2]

Epidemiological data refers to the US, unless otherwise specified.

Etiologytoggle arrow icon

The cause of rosacea is not entirely understood. It involves chronic inflammation of skin and is especially associated with triggers that increase body temperature.


Clinical featurestoggle arrow icon

In contrast to acne, comedones are NOT present in patients with rosacea.


Differential diagnosestoggle arrow icon

The differential diagnoses listed here are not exhaustive.

Treatmenttoggle arrow icon


Complicationstoggle arrow icon

  • Granulomatous lesions
    • Small brown papules, especially around the mouth and eyes
    • Granulomatous lesions may occur on their own, without other symptoms of rosacea
    • Histology: tuberculoid granulomas

All patients with rosacea and concurrent eye problems should have their eyes examined by an ophthalmologist.

We list the most important complications. The selection is not exhaustive.

Referencestoggle arrow icon

  1. Alinia H, Tuchayi SM, Patel NU, et al. Rosacea triggers. Dermatol Clin. 2018; 36 (2): p.123-126.doi: 10.1016/j.det.2017.11.007 . | Open in Read by QxMD
  2. Rainer BM, Kang S, Chien AL. Rosacea: Epidemiology, pathogenesis, and treatment. Dermato-Endocrinology. 2017; 9 (1): p.e1361574.doi: 10.1080/19381980.2017.1361574 . | Open in Read by QxMD
  3. Goldgar C, Keahey DJ, Houchins J. Treatment options for acne rosacea. Am Fam Physician. 2009; 80 (5): p.461-468.
  4. Mikkelsen CS, Holmgren HR, Kjellman P, et al. Rosacea: a clinical review. Dermatol Reports. 2016; 8 (1).doi: 10.4081/dr.2016.6387 . | Open in Read by QxMD
  5. Oge LK, Muncie HL, Phillips-Savoy AR. Rosacea: Diagnosis and treatment. Am Fam Physician. 2015; 92 (3): p.187-196.
  6. Weinkle AP, Doktor V, Emer J. Update on the management of rosacea. Clin Cosmet Investig Dermatol. 2015; 8: p.159–177.doi: 10.2147/CCID.S58940 . | Open in Read by QxMD
  7. Abokwidir M, Feldman SR. Rosacea Management. Skin Appendage Disord. 2016; 2 (1-2): p.26-34.doi: 10.1159/000446215 . | Open in Read by QxMD
  8. Gether L, Overgaard LK, Egeberg A, Thyssen JP. Incidence and prevalence of rosacea: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Br J Dermatol. 2018.doi: 10.1111/bjd.16481 . | Open in Read by QxMD

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 Evidence-based content, created and peer-reviewed by physicians. Read the disclaimer