You, or Red?

What do you see when you look in the mirror? Is it you, or your facial redness?

Of course the reflection is you, but if you suffer from facial redness from rosacea then it’s not uncommon to focus purely on the RED. At times it can feel like RED has a personality all of its own, and a pretty forceful one at that:

It’s the first thing I see in the morning

I’m fed up with looking red.

Sound familiar? If it does then you have come to the right place. This website has been designed to help people like you gain control over their rosacea and facial redness, explaining and exploring effective ways to act on RED.  

There’s lots of great content to click on, including videos of other people’s experiences, guidance on what to ask your healthcare professional and honest advice on treatments. Basically, all you need to know so you can start seeing less of red and more of YOU.

Find out how facial redness is more common than you might think:

So you think you are the only one out there suffering from facial redness caused by rosacea? Think again. A quick scan of the internet will show that it is a symptom affecting (and worrying) more people that you might expect. 


The “typical” patient may be a fair-skinned forty three year old women, with a family history of the disease. But in reality facial redness affects all sorts of people.

But where are these fellow sufferers? Why aren’t you bumping into more of them on the street or at your local restaurant? Well there are lots of possible explanations for this. One is that is that 39% of sufferers avoid contact or cancel social engagements because of their skin.

Another possibility is that many patients have managed to find successful strategies (like those described on this website!) for coping with their conditions.

And if you are worried that facial redness is affecting your state of mind:

A friend and I went to see some new apartments. When we met the estate agent, his skin was red and spotty, just like mine. My friend said people wouldn’t want to rent an apartment from a person who looked like that. Who looked like me.

On the surface, facial redness doesn’t sound like a very serious condition. After all, it is not a proper disease is it? Well actually, it is a symptom of rosacea and one that can have a negative effect on a person’s life.

Maybe it’s getting to the point where my performance at work is suffering.

When I was younger I didn’t want to go out and see anyone. Often I stayed at home.

If these experiences sound familiar to you, the good news is that help is at hand. Talking to your doctor about how badly facial redness is affecting your daily life is the best way to ensure you get the treatment you need.

So why me?

01_intro _99x 112Most of the time we love to feel special, but not so much when it comes to facial redness. It may not sound like much of a relief, but there is a proper scientific explanation as to why YOU may be currently suffering from this condition. 

Facial redness may be caused by a condition called rosacea, which in turn is caused by specific physical occurrences that are happening in the skin of your face. Certain “triggers” can cause a flare-up or worsen the condition, and understanding what these are is the first step in solving the problem.

The good news is that when we know why something is happening, we are better equipped (with the expert help of our healthcare professionals), to figure out what to do about it.

So it’s worth taking some time to find out what you are dealing with. If you want to become more informed about the facts of facial redness, take a look at the following links:

Let’s start by talking about what facial redness IS NOT. Ask any teenager to think about their parents kissing or catch sight of a tourist after a day on the beach and you will undoubtedly notice some very red faces. But let’s get one thing clear: these are not examples of ‘facial redness associated with rosacea.’

Facial redness associated with rosacea is actually a medical complaint. Rosacea is a chronic inflammatory skin condition that often begins as redness. 

Facial redness is a symptom of a bona fide medical disease - something that you and your doctor have to take seriously. 

Erythematotelangiectatic Rosacea

The symptoms of rosacea can include:

  • Bumps and pimples
  • Flushing and persistent redness
  • Visible blood vessels
  • Stinging and burning




It is important to note that many causes of normal, everyday redness (from sun, cosmetics, exercise and so on) can also aggravate the symptoms of rosacea. Controlling these ‘triggers’ is an important part of treatment, to be followed alongside expert medical advice from a dermatologist or other healthcare professional.

Well apart from being a difficult word to spell, rosacea (Ro-ZAY-sha) is defined as a chronic and inflammatory condition of facial skin.

There are four distinct types of rosacea, but typical signs and symptoms may include:

A tendency to blush or flush easily

Bumps or pimples on the face

Dry, tight, or itchy facial skin

A burning or stinging sensation in the face

Redness or thickening skin on the cheeks, nose, chin, or forehead

Small visible blood vessels on the face

Watery, bloodshot, or irritated eyes or swollen eyelids

Click on the icons below to find out more about the four types of rosacea:

Type 1

Facial Redness

Facial Redness:

the most common of the four, affecting over ¾ of people with rosacea.

Type 2

Bumps or pimples

Bumps (papules) or pimples (pustules):

these come and go and include red patches.

Type 3

Skin thickening

Skin thickening:

excess tissue often results in enlargement of the nose and irregular surface nodules (bump-like lesions). May occur in combination or after Types 1 and 2.

Type 4

Watery or bloodshot eyes

Watery or bloodshot eyes,

tearing and burning, swollen eyelids, recurrent styes.

You know what it feels like when you have a particularly bad attack of rosacea. That hot burning itch that starts in your stomach and rises to your face? The red bumps that suddenly seem to appear from nowhere? 

It is pretty obvious what is happening outside your body. But what about inside?

For most people, feeling a red flush in their face after exercise or perhaps a brief moment of embarrassment is an entirely normal sensation. The flush is caused as blood rushes to the face, carried there by the blood vessels we all have under the surface of our skin.

However, for people with facial redness associated with rosacea, this rush of blood is increased. The blood vessels under the surface of the skin are not working quite as they should, and as a result too much blood rises to the top. We know what this leads to – more flushing, more redness, and more annoyance.

The good news is that there are medical treatments. Of course, treatments need to be discussed with a dermatologist or healthcare professional. Click here to find out how to talk to your doctor about possible solutions for you.

While the facial redness of rosacea isn’t something that happens for no good reason, there are certain ‘triggers’ that can aggravate the condition and make life more difficult for sufferers. Understanding these is a key step in controlling your disease and leading a normal life. However avoiding these triggers can often be difficult, requiring large sacrifices:

I'm a real chocoholic. Now I have to give it up.

I avoid meat and spicier food as much as I can. I’m almost a vegetarian these days.

I grew up in South Australia so we had the best wines. I used to like particularly old wines. Not any more.

Am I Not Making It WorseClick here to find out how to talk to your doctor about effective approaches to turn down the RED and turn up the YOU. 

So what can I do about it?

OK, time to get down to business. If you have been dealing with facial redness from rosacea for some time now, you will already be aware of the many tried and tested ways to manage your condition by understanding and avoiding its ‘triggers.’ For example, you may take care to avoid certain foods and drinks, cut down on cosmetics or just try to stay out of the sun.

So what are the most common triggers? Read more about a particular trigger, including some handy tips on how to manage it:

Quick Tip

Sun exposure

Often the most common facial trigger.

Quick Tip

Temperature & Weather

Cozying up to the fire or enjoying a hot soak might sound comforting, but overly warm environments can increase blood flow and facial flushing.

Quick Tip


Certain foods can trigger facial redness flare-ups, most notably:

  • Spicy foods
  • Large hot meals
  • Dairy products like yogurt and chocolate
  • Particular citrus fruits
  • Foods high in histamine including some cheeses, aubergine, spinach, vinegar and soy sauce

Quick Tip


It is a myth that facial redness is caused by alcohol abuse, but booze and hot beverages can trigger the condition.

Quick Tip

Skin care products

Try avoiding products containing alcohol and fragrances. Also, heavy foundations that require a lot of scrubbing to remove.

Quick Tip


While working up a good sweat is vital to healthy living, intense exercise can lead to overheating – triggering flare-ups.

Quick Tip

Emotional influences

Just having to deal with the visible signs of facial redness can bring on more flushing. 

Quick Tip

Medical conditions

The menopause, chronic coughs and high blood pressure can all trigger facial redness.

Microbes Quick Tip


People with rosacea may have a higher prevalence of Demodex mites than normal, which can aggravate the skin and worsen symptoms. 

So triggers are a crucial piece of the facial redness puzzle. Gaining a decent understanding of them is one of the first steps in moving beyond RED and getting back to YOU. 

Now if you have been doing some online research of your own, it is likely that you have come across a number of other suggestions regarding how to tackle your disease. But watch out! Not everything you read and hear has a scientific basis and can be considered credible.

Furthermore, controlling triggers is not the only way to deal with facial redness. There are effective treatments available from your dermatologist or healthcare professional.

Medical options

If attempting to manage your triggers has left you frustrated unsatisfied, you are not alone. For many sufferers of rosacea this approach to treatment is at most a ‘stop gap’, and many times proves insufficient. 

But don’t give up! There are a couple of other options you might consider:


There are various medical treatment options also available to help manage your rosacea. Talk to your doctor or dermatologist to find out whether any of them are the right treatment option for you. Medications used for the treatment of rosacea include:

 How it worksSide Effects
Topical (applied to the skin) medications    
Ivermectin cream Reduces the bumps and pimples of rosacea. The most common side effect is a burning feeling of the skin.
Brimonidine topical gel Constricts the blood vessels in the skin, which then reduces the redness of rosacea. Common side effects include redness, itching, flushing and skin burning sensation.
Metronidazole topical gel, cream, and lotion Reduces the inflammatory lesions of rosacea by reducing inflammation and/or by killing bacteria. Some common side effects related to metronidazole were skin redness, burning/stinging, hypersensitivity, skin irritation, dry skin, itching, rosacea worsening.
Azelaic acid gel Reduces the redness and swelling of rosacea. Common side effects include burning/stinging or itching sensations, reddening, skin dryness and scaling.
Oral (taken by mouth) medications    
Doxycycline monohydrate Anti-inflammatory properties reduce the bumps and pimples caused by rosacea. Common side effects include diarrhea, headache, nausea, and abdominal pain.

Laser/Light Therapy

The use of lasers or intense pulsed light therapy can sometimes reduce visible blood vessels and severe background redness. Be aware that these sessions can be costly, and several are typically required (with ongoing touch-ups) for satisfactory results. 

Have others benefited from any real change?

So you’re ready to take control of your facial redness?

Ready to stop putting off that doctor’s appointment until tomorrow, or the day after that? We know there are a million things to do that can get in the way of you seeking help for your condition. But when it comes to acting on RED, you have to find the time. Make a little fuss. Get the treatment you deserve.

Good luck!

What next?

So, you’ve got facial redness caused by rosacea. So do lots of other people . It’s not deserved and it’s not fun – in fact on bad days it seems to be the only thing you can see when you look in the mirror. You’ve already tried and tested a whole host of treatment options, some of which worked and some of which didn't.

If you still don’t yet feel in control of your facial redness, the next step is to visit your healthcare professional. Your doctor needs to know just how hard it can be living with this problem day by day. Have a think about the real ways that it is impacting the enjoyment and fulfilment you get out of life. How does it affect your work? Your family? Your relationships?

Talking to your doctor isn’t always the easiest thing to do, so if you are worried about how to start the conversation or what to say once it has started, then explore the two sections below. After all, there is a good chance that he or she has a solution that could help.

It is not always easy talking with your doctor, is it? The heightened emotions you were feeling about your facial redness can suddenly feel a little silly when you are seated calmly in the waiting room.

But trust us, it really can be worthwhile having the conversation. Think about the strong feelings you have had towards facial redness recently. Have there been any difficult social situations? Or incidents at work? Now have a think about how much easier and calmer you would feel if those feelings went away.

It is important to know that the more information you can provide a doctor, the better. Make sure you explain not just the emotional aspects, but also all of the physical symptoms you have been experiencing. That’s because in order to arrive at the correct diagnosis, your doctor needs to put all the pieces of the facial redness puzzle together.

So you have finally found the time and the energy to make that first doctor’s appointment. Congratulations! You are one step closer to finding a solution that will help your facial redness. But what should you say?

Well firstly it is important to know that the more information you can provide a doctor, the better. Make sure you explain not just the emotional aspects, but also all of the physical symptoms you have been experiencing. That’s because in order to arrive at the correct diagnosis, your doctor needs to put all the pieces of the facial redness puzzle together.

Take a look at the following questionnaire which has been designed to help you feel prepared for your next visit to the doctor. Doing a little preparation can ensure that the conversation with your doctor is a fruitful one, and that you leave with the treatment you need. 

Click here to complete the ACT ON RED PROFILER QUESTIONNAIRE