Rosacea and Facial Redness – Causes, Removal and Treatment – Auckland NZ

Rosacea is a chronic (long term) skin condition. Rosacea symptoms are flushing or redness on the face. Facial redness on the cheeks, nose, chin, and forehead is mostly accompanied by a slight swelling and burning feeling. Rosacea commonly affects people with fair skin and blue eyes. It typically occurs in people between the ages of 30 and 60. Men seeking rosacea treatment at Palm Clinic, Auckland NZ often suffer from rhinophyma, which is the thickening of the skin on the nose making it swollen and bulbous. Below we discuss rosacea/ redness on face causes, and rosacea/ facial redness treatment.

What Causes Rosacea and Facial Redness?

Rosacea has multiple potential causes. These may include genetic, environmental (including UV damage from the sun) and vascular and inflammatory components.

An immune response in the skin may be exaggerated in those with Rosacea. The immune response causes inflammation: dilation of the blood vessels, growth of new blood vessels, swelling in the skin and tissue remodelling causing thickened skin.

Facial creams and oils and topical steroids can exacerbate rosacea.

Rosacea and Facial Redness Removal and Treatment

Rosacea can appear as:

  • Persistent redness on cheeks
  • Diffuse redness on neck
  • Redness on nose
  • Visible blood vessels (broken capillaries) on face
  • Red spots or areas on the face with associated flushing or blushing
  • Swelling and/or scaling of the skin
  • Raised red lumps or even pustules that resemble acne
  • Will often by aggravated by spicy food, emotional stress, alcohol and exercise
  • Reactive, sensitive skin that is irritated by make-up and skin creams/oils
  • Red, irritated, tired eyes that are prone to styes (ocular rosacea)
  • Swollen and thickened skin which can affect the cheeks and nose (rhinophyma)

Laser and Intense Pulsed Light (IPL) Rosacea/ Redness On Face Treatment

One of the major advancements in the treatment of rosacea has been the use of laser treatment and a non-laser light therapy called Elos Medical IPL (combination of IPL and radiofrequency).

IPL uses a non-laser light source. IPL is a safe and effective treatment to reduce the following symptoms of rosacea:

  • Telangiectasia or dilation of blood vessels.
  • Facial erythema or persistent redness.
  • Flushing.
  • Papular and pustular lesions.
  • Sensitive skin with a tendency to skin irritation

At Palm Clinic, Auckland NZ we use Elos Galaxy IPL often in conjunction with Coolglide 1064nm NdYag vascular laser treatment. Typically over several treatments we see significant improvements in redness and veins associated with rosacea.

Treatments are spaced at least one month apart and typically require 3-5 treatments to achieve the best results. Rosacea can be a persistent skin condition and have associated flare ups. Most patients with moderate to severe rosacea will require top up laser therapy to maintain the result over the years.

Our skin therapist can help maintain the best results with medical grade rosacea skincare, a specific rosacea cream, as well as medifacials/peels to keep your skin healthy and resistant to skin irritation.

She will also advise on general measures that you can take at home to control your facial redness/rosacea.

These include:

  • Avoiding creams/oils, spicy foods, alcohol or whatever environmental factors exacerbate your rosacea
  • Water based rather than creamy or oily skin care/make-up/sunscreen
  • Avoid applying steroid creams to your rosacea. It will calm it initially, but make it worse in the longer term
  • Protect your face from sun exposure with a hat and by using water based SPF, our skin therapist can help you find skin care that doesn’t aggravate your rosacea/facial redness
  • Your Palm Clinic Doctor may prescribe an oral antibiotic, topical antibiotics (only when necessary) or azelaic acid for resistant cases, particularly if you have pustules present.

Facial Redness and Rosacea Before and After Treatment

You can see more examples of rosacea pictures here, both before, and after treatment.

Facial redness responds well to Elos Aurora. Many patients appreciate this treatment as broken veins on the face often have a connotation of being associated with excess alcohol even though this is not usually the cause.


What causes rosacea?

Causes of rosacea are not well known. Rosacea is often considered a hereditary condition. It is also said that rosacea is likely to occur in people who blush a lot. Occurrence of rosacea can be associated with environmental, chemical, food or emotional triggers. Common triggers include exposure to extreme heat and cold weather, hot beverages and spicy foods, and alcohol consumption. As a large number of hair follicle mites (Demodex folliculorum) are found in rosacea papules, they are also a possible cause of rosacea. The stomach bacterium helicobacter pylori is also reported to be associated with rosacea, though most dermatologists disagree with this theory. Rosacea may worsen with the use of facial creams, oils and topical steroids.

What are the symptoms of rosacea?
  • Redness on the face, particularly the cheeks, nose, chin and forehead.
  • Small red lines beneath the skin due to the thickening of blood vessels (telangiectasia).
  • Skin becomes thicker, particularly over the nose.
  • Hard raised lesions (papules) and pus filled acne pimples (pustules) develop on the reddened facial skin.
  • Inflammation in the eyes causing a burning or stinging feeling.
  • Irritation in the eyes, watery eyes, sensitivity to light and sometimes blurred vision.
  • In advanced cases, the nose becomes larger and swollen with thickened skin causing a rhinophyma.


There are 4 sub-types of rosacea.

  1. Erythematotelangiectatic rosacea marked by flushing and redness.
  2. Papulopustular rosacea with papules and pustules and burning and stinging sensation.
  3. Phymatous rosacea characterised by thickening skin and enlargement as in rhinophyma.
  4. Ocular rosacea marked by ocular changes like conjunctivitis, telangiectasis of the conjunctiva and inflammation of the eyelids.
How is rosacea diagnosed?

There are four acknowledged stages of rosacea.

  1. First stage is called pre-rosacea characterised by facial blushing which may begin in early childhood, though the condition of rosacea sets in after the thirties. Frequency of flushing may increase and experience of burning and stinging when using antiacne products or cosmetics may be common.
  2. In the second stage which is vascular, redness (facial erythema) and thickening of the blood vessels and their visibility on the skin as small red lines (telangiectasis) develop.
  3. In the third stage facial erythema and telangiectasis increase with the formation of papules and pustules. In this stage changes in the eye (ocular changes) like inflammation of the eyelids and watering of the eyes begin to occur.
  4. In the fourth stage, the skin and eye inflammation increase to a great extent. In very rare and severe cases ocular inflammation can lead to loss of vision whilst fibroplasia and sebaceous hyperplasia of the skin lead to rhinophyma.
What are the effects of rosacea?

It can lead to frustration due to the unattractive appearance and the discomfort experienced. It can mar the personal, social and professional life of the individual. In extreme cases the psychological effects of such a condition can be very serious and can cause the patients to become reclusive. Rosacea is primarily a facial occurrence and develops gradually. In its initial stages, patients often mistake the facial flushing, papules and pustules for adult acne, sun burn or normal signs of ageing.

What treatments are available for rosacea?

There is no cure for rosacea. But there are various rosacea treatments to control rosacea effectively. Your Palm Clinic doctor will determine a treatment plan for you depending on the extent of damage to the skin.  IPL and laser treatments are most useful for the facial redness and flushing.

The first line of treatment for the pustules associated with rosacea is often topical or oral antibiotics generally prescribed by the family doctor. Metronidazole (Rosex) is generally given as a topical antibiotic. Oral medications include tetracycline antibiotics like tetracycline, doxycycline and minocycline. The antibiotic rosacea gel or rosacea cream should be applied on the entire face instead of on the lesion spots alone.

The eyelids should be cleaned everyday with a diluted baby shampoo or a rosacea cleanser for the eyelids. Warm compresses should be applied on the eyelids a few times a day.

For treatment of rosacea in the advanced stages like rhinophyma, laser or radiofrequency surgery is the ideal method to remove the excess tissue on the nose.

What are the benefits of treatment?
  • Improves appearance.
  • Boosts self confidence and self-esteem.
  • No downtime with most rosacea treatments including IPL.
  • Long-lasting results.
  • Few or no side-effects.
Palm Clinic Aesthetic. We make it look natural.
Consulatation at Palm Clinic with Dr Sam DunnConsulatation at Palm Clinic with Dr Sam Dunn

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