Rosacea: Types, Symptoms, and Treatment

What is rosacea? Rosacea is also known as acne rosacea and is a chronic skin disease that impacts millions of Americans each year. Unfortunately, researchers do not know what causes rosacea, and there is no cure. However, there are treatment options to help with the symptoms. This condition most likely affects middle-aged or older women who have pale skin. At times it can be mistaken for acne or other skin conditions. Speak to your doctor if you believe you have rosacea in order to receive a medical diagnosis and professional expertise.

Within this article we will look at the four different subtypes of rosacea and the symptoms associated with the condition. We will then examine what treatment options are available to help relieve your symptoms. Please note that although this article has undergone extensive research, do not replace it for your doctor’s knowledge. I am not a doctor, but have worked diligently to provide correct and up-to-date information.

Four Types of Rosacea

There are four different subtypes of rosacea. Visit Medicine Net for more details and pictures concerning each type, but be aware that images can be graphic for some viewers or audience members.

You can have more than one subtype at the same time, and each has its own set of symptoms.

  1. Erythematotelangiectatic rosacea (ETR): This subtype can be connected with facial redness, flushing, and visible blood vessels.
  2. Papulopustular rosacea (also known as acne rosacea): Often associated with acne-like breakouts (hence, the term “acne”), this subtype is more likely to affect middle-aged or older women.
  3. Rhinophyma: This condition is more rare and occurs when the skin thickens on the nose. Unlike the second subtype mentioned, this subtype more likely affects men and is usually occurs at the same time as another subtype of rosacea.
  4. Ocular rosacea: This subtype tends to show signs around the eye area.


As previously mentioned, you may experience different symptoms depending on the subtype. However, the condition can be distinguished by its overall red, small, and pus-filled bumps on the skin, which tend to occur on the nose, cheeks, and forehead. It is possible to experience symptoms for a while (between weeks to months at a time) and then they can go away and return again. This is what is known as flare-ups.

Let’s look at each subtype and its associated symptoms:

Rosacea ETR

  • Redness/flushing (center of the face)
  • Visible broken blood vessels
  • Sensitive, dry, or burning skin
  • Swollen skin
  • Red bumps

Acne Rosacea

  • Oily, red, or sensitive skin
  • Raised patches of skin
  • Acne-like breakouts
  • Visible broken blood vessels

Rhinophyma (or Thickening Skin Rosacea)

  • Thick skin on nose, chin, forehead, cheeks, and/or ears
  • Large pores
  • Bumpy skin
  • Visible broken blood vessels

Ocular Rosacea

  • Dry or itchy eyes
  • Burning or stinging feeling in the eyes
  • Bloodshot eyes
  • Watery eyes
  • Sensitivity to light or diminished vision
  • Cysts on eyes
  • Visible broken blood vessels (on the eyelids)

Although the symptoms are a bit similar among each subtype, there are distinctions to note. Your doctor can more accurately identify which type of rosacea you may be experiencing in order to receive a more accurate diagnosis.


Because there is no cure, it can be difficult to find a right treatment option for you. However, there are steps you can take to help control your symptoms.

Skin care: Taking care of your skin is important. Use gentle cleansers as well as oil-free and water-based skin care products. There are several stores or online options for facial creams and moisturizers. Avoid using anything that has the following ingredients: alcohol, menthol, exfoliating agents, and witch hazel. Products that contain these ingredients can cause more irritation to the skin and can worsen your symptoms.

Antibiotics: Antibiotic creams and oral antibiotics can be suggested by your doctor. Especially for ocular rosacea, you can use eye medicines or antibiotics.

Keep a journal: Make a note of what you eat and what products you use. If you enjoy journaling or have a notebook, write down and keep a record of what makes your symptoms worse, such as a certain food you have eaten or skin care products you have used. You can also use your computer or mobile device to note what you have been using and ingesting.

Avoid certain foods: Avoid consuming alcohol and eating spicy foods.

Sunlight: Do not stay out in direct sunlight. If you are out in the sun, make sure to wear sunscreen.

Microdermabrasion: Microdermabrasion can help with reducing the thickening of the skin.

Light treatment: In some severe cases of rosacea, lasers and light treatment can help.

Know that you are not alone in this. In fact, there are famous people who have the condition, including Bill Clinton, Diana, Princess of Wales, and W.C. Fields. Talk to your doctor if you are concerned or want to learn more about possible treatment options.