Rosacea is a very common disorder characterized by symptoms of facial flushing and a collection of other clinical signs such as facial redness, broken capillaries, coarseness of the skin, and an inflammatory eruption that may be similar to acne.
The hallmark of rosacea is persistent redness in the central portion of the face that lasts for at least three months. This redness may be associated with flushing, broken capillaries (medically called telangiectasias), and an acne-like skin eruption. However, unlike acne, the skin eruption in rosacea does not have any blackheads.
Patients often find that the first symptom of rosacea is a tendency to flush or blush easily. The condition generally starts in the center of the face and then extends to involve the cheeks, forehead, chin, and nose. Then over a long period of time, potentially years, the condition progresses to a persistent redness with visible blood vessels and possibly also pimples and bumps. With time, the redness tends to become ruddier and more persistent. In the more severe cases the nose may grow swollen and bumpy, a condition known medically as rhinophyma. (It is believed that W.C. Fields had rosacea which caused a rhinophyma on his nose.)
Rosacea is very common. It is estimated that over 14 million Americans have rosacea. It is most common in individuals with light complexions, blonde hair, and blue eyes. It can affect people of any age, including children, but is most common between the ages of 30 and 50 years old.