Rosacea is a chronic skin condition that afflicts approximately 16 million North Americans between the age of 30 and 65. An acne-like condition, rosacea often has a significant psychological impact upon sufferers who report that the condition affects their self-confidence negatively.

Rosacea typically starts with redness on the cheeks, chin, forehead, or nose that can come and go. Occasionally rosacea can occur on the chest, ears, neck, and scalp. In some cases the eyes can also be affected appearing bloodshot, dry, and swollen.

Over time the redness becomes more persistent and visible blood vessels appear. If rosacea is not treated bumps and pimples develop and the skin can become tender and sensitive to touch. In severe cases of rosacea the nose can grow swollen and bumpy from excess tissue (rhinophyma).

Although the condition can affect all people, fair-skinned individuals who blush or flush more easily are more prone to developing rosacea. While women are more likely to develop the condition than men, male sufferers tend to develop more severe symptoms.

Because rosacea varies from one patient to the next, a physician should determine treatment.


Medications traditionally have been prescribed to treat rosacea. Oral antibiotics such as erythromicin, minocycline, and tetracycline are used to reduce the inflammation and the formation of bumps and pimples while antibiotic gels are used to keep the symptoms under control. Neither oral nor topical treatments will cure rosacea so continued use of topical treatments has proven necessary to control symptoms.

Laser treatment of rosacea has been shown to be an effective way of both reducing visible blood vessels and removing the thickening of the skin associated with rhinophyma. Laser energy is strongly absorbed in smaller, superficial blood vessels while the neighboring tissues remain unaffected. The laser heats the interior of the blood vessels as well as vessels walls and thus irreversibly blocks the vessel. Vessels will disappear in 2 - 4 weeks thus reducing redness and flushing.