Complications of Rosacea

by Eileen Bailey Health Writer

Rosacea is a chronic skin condition, characterized by redness and bumps or pimples that most often appear on the cheeks, nose, chin and forehead. It can burn and itch. Some people can also develop rosacea on the neck, chest and scalp. It most often appears after the age of 30 years old. According to the National Rosacea Society, symptoms of rosacea include:

  • Redness on face* Burning or stinging sensations* Itching on face* Skin on face appears dry and rough* Raised red patches* Skin thickening* Swelling of facial tissue* Eye irritation

Treatment for rosacea can include antibiotics and topical creams. When severe, laser treatments can help to remove visible blood vessels and reduce redness of the face. Rosacea symptoms sometimes flare as a result of lifestyle or environmental triggers. Those with rosacea can work with their doctor to determine what triggers might aggravate the symptoms and develop strategies to avoid these triggers.

Rosacea tends to worsen when not treated. The following are some of the complications that can develop without proper treatment:

Worsening symptoms

Rosacea might start as a mild redness of the cheeks and may come and go depending on your triggers. Because of this, you might not immediately seek treatment. However, rosacea symptoms tend to worsen when not treated, leading to red bumps and pimples around your face. There is a better chance of controlling and managing the condition when treatment is started early.


Rhinophyma is a buildup of tissue on the nose, which when left untreated can be disfiguring, resulting in a bulbous, red nose. These are usually red, thick bumps on the lower part of the nose. The large, red nose is often attributed to heavy drinking, however, this is not true and this belief can cause psychological distress. Rhinophyma most often occurs in men, possibly because men often delay seeking medical treatment.

Ocular rosacea

Another problem associated with advanced rosacea is ocular rosacea. Symptoms can include burning, dryness and irritation of the lining of the eyes along with light sensitivity and redness of the eyelids. Eye symptoms frequently go unnoticed until a doctor or ophthalmologist notice the problems. However, when ocular rosacea is left untreated, it can damage your cornea (rosacea keratitis), which can negatively affect your vision. Both oral antibiotics and rosacea eyedrops can help treat ocular rosacea.

Psychological effects

Rosacea affects your appearance and this can make many people self-conscious and lower their self-confidence. During a flare, you might want to avoid social situations because of embarrassment. This can lead to isolation and depression. It is important to remember that although rosacea is a chronic condition, with treatment it can be controlled and managed. Learning your triggers and taking steps to avoid them can reduce or eliminate your symptoms. If you are experiencing psychological effects of living with rosacea, talk with your doctor. a referral to a counselor or therapist might help you better deal with living with a chronic condition.

If you believe you have rosacea, you should immediately speak with your doctor. Specialists that you might also see include a dermatologist and an ophthalmologist. The earlier you seek treatment, the better chance you have of controlling and managing your condition.


All About Rosacea

Rosacea: Complications

Rosacea: Signs and Symptoms

Eileen Bailey
Meet Our Writer
Eileen Bailey

Eileen Bailey is an award-winning author of six books on health and parenting topics and freelance writer specializing in health topics including ADHD, Anxiety, Sexual Health, Skin Care, Psoriasis and Skin Cancer. Her wish is to provide readers with relevant and practical information on health conditions to help them make informed decisions regarding their health care.