Rosacea is a long-term skin condition that mainly affects the face. It's more common in women and people with lighter skin, but symptoms can be worse in men. Treatment can help with symptoms.

Check if you have rosacea

The first signs of rosacea include

The redness may be harder to see on darker skin.

Picture of broken blood vessels on a woman's cheek caused by rosacea
Tiny broken blood vessels that do not go away may appear on your skin
Picture of pink and red bumps with some bumps filled with a yellowish liquid
You may get small pink or red bumps. Sometimes these become filled with a yellowish liquid

Other symptoms can include:


It's not known what causes rosacea, but some triggers can make symptoms worse. Common triggers for rosacea include:

If you're not sure it's rosacea

Check what else it could be?

Rosacea can look a lot like other conditions, such as:

Non-urgent advice: See a GP if:

  • you think you have symptoms of rosacea

Urgent advice: Ask for an urgent GP appointment or call 111:

If you have rosacea and:

  • your eye is painful
  • your vision is blurred
  • you're sensitive to light
  • you have a red eye
  • your eye feels gritty

These could be signs of keratitis, which can be serious if not treated urgently.

Treatment for rosacea from a GP

Rosacea cannot be cured but treatment from a GP can help control the symptoms. It can get worse if it's not treated.

A GP may suggest:

The GP may refer you to a skin specialist (dermatologist) if treatments are not working.

Things you can do to help

Rosacea is not caused by poor hygiene and it's not contagious. But there are things you can try to help with symptoms.

If you know that a trigger, for example alcohol or spicy food, makes symptoms worse, try to avoid it as much as possible.


  • wear a high SPF sunscreen of at least SPF 30 every day

  • try to avoid heat, sunlight or humid conditions if possible

  • try to cover your face in cold weather

  • use gentle skincare products for sensitive skin

  • clean your eyelids at least once a day if you have blepharitis

  • take steps to manage stress


  • do not drink alcohol

  • do not have hot drinks

  • do not have too much caffeine (found in tea, coffee and chocolate)

  • do not eat cheese

  • do not eat spicy food

  • do not do too much aerobic exercise, like running


Find out more

The charity Changing Faces can offer advice and support if you're feeling anxious or depressed.

Call the helpline on 0300 012 0275.

Changing Faces: Skin Camouflage Service

Page last reviewed: 15 January 2020
Next review due: 15 January 2023