Rosacea is a chronic skin condition, usually affecting the face, characterized by flushing and fixed redness, then inflammation that leads to swelling of skin, prominent pores on the skin surface and delicate pustules. It most commonly affects the central face.
Skin on the face normally flushes in any hot circumstance, returning to normal appearance after the stimulus has passed. In rosacea the flushing is more exaggerated and lasts longer. In chronic cases this exaggerated response leads to a fixed red appearance of affected areas. Studies have shown that individuals prone to this flushing have higher levels of certain chemicals that cause inflammation, with swelling locally, and even pustule formation.
Standard treatment of rosacea is with low dose tetracycline antibiotics (eg doxycycline), and topical metronidazole. This usually suppresses the inflammatory component but not always the flushing component, especially if it has been longstanding. Laser treatment and/or IPL can help to reduce the severity of redness and flushing.