Synonyms: Adult acne

Medical Specialties: Dermatology, Family practice, Internal medicine

Clinical Definition

Rosacea is a common skin disorder that most often affects facial skin. Some experts believe that rosacea may be related to a vascular disorder because of its association with flushing, redness and visible blood vessels. Sometimes called adult acne, rosacea causes redness that appears on the chin, nose, cheeks and forehead. As the disease progresses, small blood vessels become more visible and pustules may form. The nose, if affected, can look swollen and bulbous, an unfortunate condition called rhinophyma.  

In Our Own Words

Rosacea, commonly called adult acne, is different from typical adolescent breakouts and may be related to vascular disorders. Redness first appears on the face, becoming more intense over time. Small blood vessels become more visible and acne-like breakouts occur. In advanced cases, the skin can actually thicken and become bumpy.  


The cause of rosacea is unknown -- and debated. Rosacea could be part of a blood vessel disorder or an immune reaction, or caused by tiny skin mites, fungus or connective tissue problems. Treatments consist of medications and lifestyle tweaks that may help control symptoms and prevent flare-ups.

Relevant Conditions
Common Types
  • Ocular rosacea (affects the eyes)
  • Rhinophyma (swelling of the nose)
Side Effects
  • Redness on the face
  • Red bumps or pimples
  • Visible blood vessels
  • Burning or stinging of the face
  • Eye irritation
Share this article
  • Cleveland Clinic. "Rosacea" Diseases & Conditions. Feb. 2011. Accessed Aug. 2013.
  • National Rosacea Society. “Side effects of Rosacea.” Review for patients 2013. Accessed Sept. 2013.
  • American Academy of Dermatology. "Rosacea" Diseases and Treatments 2013. Accessed Aug. 2013
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