Rosacea is a long-term skin condition that typically affects the face. It mainly presents in females aged 30-50 years, but the symptoms can be more severe in males

Rosacea is the most common skin condition in Ireland, with a higher incidence than other European countries, affecting 3% of the population and is often known as the “curse of the Celts”.

It results in redness, pimples, swelling, and small and superficial dilated blood vessels. Often, the nose, cheeks, forehead, and chin are most involved. A red, enlarged nose may occur in severe disease, a condition known as rhinophyma.


The exact cause is unknown, but a combination of hereditary and environmental factors is responsible. Some of the factors include:

  • Gender, women are more prone to the condition
  • Fair skin
  • Age, people above 30 years are at risk
  • Family history
  • Spicy foods
  • Alcohol
  • Sunlight
  • Stress
  • Strenuous exercises
  • Certain medications, such as blood pressure medications


Symptoms may flare up and then subside for a few weeks depending on the individual.  Symptoms often begin with episodes of flushing, where the skin turns red for a short period, but other symptoms can develop as the condition progresses such as:

  • Inflammation and Oedema
  • Dry sensation of the skin
  • Burning sensation of the skin
  • Flushing/centrofacial erythema
  • Blepharitis/conjunctivitis/MGD
  • Swollen red bumps-papula and pustula
  • Enlarged nose


  • Subtype one, known as erythematotelangiectatic rosacea (ETR), is associated with facial redness, flushing, and visible blood vessels.
  • Subtype two, papulopustular (or acne) rosacea, is associated with acne-like breakouts, and often affects middle-aged women.
  • Subtype three, known as rhinophyma, is a rare form associated with thickening of the skin on your nose. It usually affects men and is often accompanied by another subtype of rosacea.
  • Subtype four is known as ocular rosacea, and its symptoms are centered on the eye area.

Treatment and prevention

If you have rosacea, your healthcare professional can advise you on treatment options. While treatment cannot cure rosacea, it can help.

  • Know your triggers
  • Wear sun protection
  • Consistent moisturising
  • Follow a skincare routine
  • Mild to moderate papula pustular rosacea-treated topically
  • Moderate to severe papula pustular rosacea- treated orally
  • Extreme cases of rhinophyma and telangiectasia- laser therapy
  • Ocular Rosacea- lubricants, heat compresses, antibiotics