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The 4 Stages of Rosacea & What To Do About Them

Close up branch with pink sakura blossoms Frequent flushing of the face is a symptom most people will notice in the earliest stage of rosacea. And rosacea is surprisingly common with many of the world’s best known people suffering from it. If you have rosacea you will certainly not be alone, you share this condition with 45 million people worldwide - Bill Clinton, the late Princess Diana, Prince Harry, Renee Zellweger, Cameron Diaz and many more.

In the USA, the number of rosacea sufferers is a high 20 million

This common but often chronic skin condition has 4 recognized stages and each stage has different signs and symptoms, all of which affect the face. Rosacea is much more likely in female adults (with a fair skin) who are aged between 30 and 60. If you have this condition, The rosacea support group can be found here for information and support.


The first stage is PRE-ROSACEA where the main symptom is frequent flushing that can affect the forehead, nose, cheeks and chin. The skin can become so sensitive that a burning sensation may occur when cosmetics or creams are applied. The face may even become swollen. Triggers are a strong factor and while these vary from person to person they can be emotional, chemical, environmental or even food related. In time the tendency to flush or blush easily will progress to a more persistent redness in the central portion of the face, particularly the nose. This redness results from the dilation of blood vessels close to your skin’s surface. By this stage, many will start to feel self conscious so you can add depression, low self-esteem and embarrassment to the problem.

Vascular Rosacea

The second stage is VASCULAR ROSACEA when small blood vessels on the nose and cheeks swell and become visible, showing through the skin as small red lines. The skin will feel warm and look puffy. The skin may become even more sensitive and the rosacea can be accompanied by oily skin and dandruff. Flushing and redness become persistent and then permanent.

Inflammatory Rosacea

The third stage is INFLAMMATORY ROSACEA where, in addition to the redness, small, red bumps or even bumps containing pus may appear and persist. Nodules in the skin may become painful. This can spread across the nose, cheeks, forehead and chin. In severe and rare cases, the oil glands or sebaceous glands in the nose, and even sometimes the cheeks, become enlarged resulting in a build up of tissue on and around the nose. This complication is more likely in men and the condition can develop very slowly over a period of years so that eventually the nose becomes red, enlarged and bulbous. Thick bumps may also develop on the lower half of the nose and nearby cheeks.

Ocular Rosacea

The final stage is OCULAR ROSACEA which can be classed as a serious condition that needs to be brought quickly under control as in severe cases, it could lead to the loss of vision. The symptoms (in conjunction with rosacea) are irritation in the eyes, light sensitivity, a decrease in visual ability and an obvious inflammation of the lids or conjunctivitis. With this development, a sufferer would need to see an ophthalmologist quickly. The main problem with ocular rosacea is the possibility of a secondary infection. A dry environment plus ocular rosacea provides a good breeding ground for bacteria including staphylococci.

But there is some good news!

Although there is no overnight cure for rosacea, it can be treated and controlled. The goals of treatment are to control the condition and improve the appearance of your skin. Treatments tend to be more effective the earlier they commence. Avoid any over-the-counter products that contain ingredients such as acids, alcohol and other irritants as the chances are that they may actually make the rosacea worse. It is safer to see your doctor or dermatologist so that they can prescribe a safe treatment or to use a natural healing product available online. In addition to starting a course of treatment, you can help at home by avoiding anything which you think might trigger a flare up.

Keep a diary of any flare ups so that you can identify what might be a cause

  • Protect your face from the sun or the cold in winter
  • Avoid touching or rubbing the skin on your face
  • If using a topical medication, apply any moisturizer once the medication has dried
  • Use products that are labelled noncomedogenic
With sensible care and treatment, you can overcome this problem to successfully diminish the appearance of rosacea as well as flare ups but it does take determination, time and effort.