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Acne Rosacea

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Last updated November 17, 2021

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What is rosacea?

Rosacea (also called acne rosacea) is a skin condition that causes red pimples and pus-filled bumps on the face, especially the cheeks and forehead. Your skin looks red or flushed or may look and feel sunburnt. It can also affect the eyes. With severe cases, the glands of the nose may grow, which increases the size of the nose.

For the vast majority of people with rosacea, emotional stress is a trigger for flare-ups. Stress triggers the inflammatory system, causing blood vessels to open up, or dilate. This makes the skin red and inflamed. Stress hormones also trigger inflammation that leads to pimples. Rosacea flare-ups can also be triggered by certain foods (red wine, spicy foods) and irritating skin products (like glycolic acid).

Rarity: Acne rosacea is very common. About 16 million Americans have rosacea. It is more common in women and fair-skinned people. It most often affects middle-aged and older adults.



  • Use gentle, non-irritating skin products.
  • Avoid acidic products (like glycolic acid).
  • Reduce alcohol, spicy foods, chocolate, and mint.
  • Use OTC or prescription sulfur-based washes.

A dermatologist may prescribe:

  • Topical antiinflammatory medication (metronidazole, ivermectin)
  • Oral antibiotics (like doxycycline)
  • Laser treatments for redness
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