Do you have these 9 symptoms of rosacea?

Woman with rosacea
Would you know how to recognise the symptoms of rosacea
ANSWER: The main signs of rosacea are redness across the cheeks, forehead, chin and nose alongside visible blood vessels and a burning sensation.
There are, however, other symptoms associated with the condition which you might not be as familiar with. Is rosacea itchy? Can rosacea cause pimples? Keep reading and we’ll answer all of your burning questions! 


Redness on the face, also referred to as blushing or flushing, is the most distinctive symptom of rosacea.
While other skin conditions can be associated with redness, like acne or dermatitis, rosacea’s main symptom is persistent facial flushing across the cheeks, forehead, chin and nose. 
Redness caused by rosacea can resemble a blush or sunburn that doesn’t go away, with flare-ups lasting up to months at a time.
Facial redness may not be as noticeable in those with darker skin tones. Whilst rosacea is thought to be more common in people with paler skin, it could be the case that it goes underdiagnosed in people with darker skin. That’s why it’s important to look out for other signs and symptoms as the condition progresses. 

Visible blood vessels

Along with facial redness, another visible symptom of rosacea is telangiectasia (dilated or broken blood vessels near the surface of the skin). 
Visible blood vessels look like very fine pink or red lines on the skin, which temporarily whiten when you press down on them. In rosacea, these blood vessels will appear across your cheeks, forehead, chin and nose. 
Whilst the overall cause of rosacea is unknown, it’s thought that it may be related to abnormalities in the blood vessels of the face. This would explain the redness and visible blood vessels associated with rosacea. 


Rosacea tends to start with facial redness, but as the condition progresses you may start to develop pimples. The types of spots associated with rosacea are papules (small red bumps) and pustules (bulging pimples containing pus). 
These pimples can be easily mistaken for acne. The best way to tell if your spots are caused by rosacea or acne is by looking at the overall redness on your face. If the redness is only confined to the area around each pimple, it’s most likely acne. If the redness spreads across your whole face, it’s more likely to be rosacea. 
Acne is also associated with oily skin and blackheads, whereas rosacea is associated with different symptoms like sensitive skin and eye problems. If you’re not sure whether you have rosacea or acne, a dermatologist will be able to help. 

Burning sensation

As well as visible symptoms like redness and pimples, rosacea can also cause a burning or stinging sensation on the skin, particularly when washing your face with water or skincare products. 
While rosacea treatments can alleviate the visual signs of the condition, the burning sensation may need extra attention. You’ll need to opt for gentle, fragrance-free moisturisers to help soothe the burn and make sure you’re avoiding sun exposure.
During a flare-up that leaves your skin burning, try placing a cold compress on your face to calm down the inflammation and avoid hot or humid conditions if possible. 

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Thickened skin

In more severe cases of rosacea, the affected areas of skin can become thick, bumpy and swollen. This is called phymatous rosacea.
Phymatous rosacea most commonly affects the nose, causing it to become bulbous and enlarged (rhinophyma). The chin, forehead and ears can also become thickened. 
To avoid severely thickened skin, it’s important to start treatment for your rosacea before the condition starts to progress. In particularly disfiguring cases, phymatous rosacea may need special treatments like laser surgery. 

Dry skin

According to the National Rosacea Society, it is estimated that approximately half of all rosacea sufferers also experience dry skin.
Dry skin can cause your skin to feel irritated, tight and itchy. The best way to combat dry skin is with gentle, fragrance-free moisturisers or emollients designed for sensitive skin. 
If you’re concerned about rosacea treatments drying out your skin, you should talk to your healthcare team about the different types of treatments available. Some are designed with different skin types in mind, so a change in your regular treatment plan could help problems like dryness or oily skin.

Sensitive skin

Dealing with redness, burning and pimples caused by rosacea is likely to leave you with very sensitive skin. Using skincare products that aren’t designed for sensitive skin could worsen the burning. 
When selecting products for your skincare routine, keep it simple and make sure to choose fragrance-free products that have been recommended for people with issues like rosacea.

Eye problems

In some instances, rosacea doesn’t only affect the skin. Ocular rosacea is characterised by redness, burning and itchiness in and around the eyes. It can also cause blepharitis, symptoms of which include flakes or crusts at the roots of the eyelashes and a gritty feeling in the eyes. 
Just like regular rosacea, there’s no miracle cure for ocular rosacea either. There are, however, treatments your doctor can recommend which can help you to control the symptoms. 
You can also help flare-ups at home by keeping your eyelids clean with cleansers for blepharitis, avoiding potential triggers and using artificial tears if your eyes are dry.


While rosacea itself doesn’t necessarily always cause itching, some of its other symptoms can result in itchiness. 
If your rosacea has left you with pimples or dry skin, for example, it’s likely that you may experience itchiness because of these issues. Ocular rosacea can also cause your eyes to itch. 
Woman with rosacea
If your facial redness won’t go away, or perhaps you’ve noticed other symptoms like burning and itchiness, it’s time to visit your GP. They’ll be able to identify the problem or refer you to a dermatologist if necessary. 
We’ve got plenty of skincare products ideal for rosacea-prone skin, including a whole range of prescription-strength rosacea treatments. All you’ll need to do is complete a short online consultation and one of our prescribers will determine whether there’s a suitable medication for you.

Faye Bonnell - Medical Content Writer
James O'Loan - CEO & Superintendent Pharmacist
James O'Loan , CEO & Superintendent Pharmacist on 06 October 2022
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