Rosacea is a long-term skin condition that mainly affects the face. It's more common in women and people with lighter skin, but is often worse in men.


Rosacea is a chronic, episodic and progressive inflammatory vascular disorder that affects up to 10% of the adult population. Rosacea sufferers typically experience flushing and show signs of diffuse redness of the cheeks, chin, nose and forehead which is temporary at first, but as the condition progresses this redness can become permanent, blemishes and pustules may also appear.

In the most serious cases of Rosacea, skin can thicken and excess tissue can form. This usually affects the nose and is known as Rhinophyma, it makes the nose look large and bulbous and can give people the mistaken impression that sufferers are alcoholics. This can affect sufferers psychologically as well as physically.

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The exact cause of Rosacea is unknown, however, experts have identified a number of factors that connect sufferers. For example, the prevalence of Rosacea is highest among fair-skinned individuals, particularly those of Celtic and northern European descent.

The onset of the disorder usually begins between the ages of 20 and 50 years. Females are affected more than males but women are more likely to experience symptoms on the cheeks and chin. When it does affect males, they are more likely to progress to the end stages of severe Rosacea when Rhinophyma may occur.

The papules and pustules that appear are similar in appearance to those in acne-prone skin, and in fact Rosacea used to be called Acne Rosacea, but the two conditions differ. In Rosacea there are no blocked pores, the skin is more likely to be dry than greasy and Rosacea spots don't leave scars.

Couperose-prone skin (also known as Couperosa) is also a Sensitised skin condition so it too includes unpleasant sensations such as stinging and burning and is typified by redness, dryness and sensitivity. The redness is a result of dilated blood vessels which, due to the skin's weakened elasticity, expand when there is a rush of blood to the skin but do not contract afterwards as would happen in normal skin.

Couperose-prone skin can come and go in its early stages but, as it progresses to more advanced stages the redness can become permanently visible on the skin.

Red skin from hypersensitivity differs from everyday blushing as it lasts considerably longer (hours, days or even months) and the redness may not improve until the skin is treated.

Like Rosacea, Couperose-prone skin can be caused by a number of factors including age, genetics and diet, and both conditions are made worse by certain triggers, which can vary from person to person. Avoiding triggers is the best way to minimise symptoms, and the most common include:

  • Environmental factors such exposure to hot and cold temperatures, wind, sun, humidity and pollution (including cigarette smoke) as well as pollen and car emissions.
  • Psychological factors such as anger or stress. Stress hormones such as adrenaline trigger inflammatory processes in skin.
  • External factors such as certain fragrances, detergents and topical medicines (including cortisone creams) as well as hot baths, strenuous exercise, alcohol and spicy foods. Clothing can also have a detrimental effect courtesy of skin-irritating dyes and chemicals impregnated into clothing, as well as synthetic and non-iron materials containing chemicals such as formaldehyde, which can trigger skin irritation and allergies.
  • Mechanical factors such as pressure or abrasion on the skin.

Avoiding known triggers is the best way to minimise the symptoms of both Couperose-prone skin and Rosacea.

Rosacea - Diffuse redness appears on the cheeks, chin, nose and forehead.

Severe Rosacea  - Can lead to rhinophyma, a thickening of the skin on the nose.

Couperose - Is a permanently pink complexion with diffused redness across the neck, nose and cheeks