Skin Care Questions: Is This Rash Actually Rosacea?

Woman with rosacea Skin Care Questions: Is This Rash Actually Rosacea?

Facial redness can be the result of a number of skin conditions, and making sense of what caused your redness can be tricky. While there’s a lot that can cause a temporary rash on your face, you might be wondering whether it’s possible that you have rosacea.


Almost everyone has had a rash at some point in their lives. A rash is the skin’s reaction to a number of external and internal factors like allergens and infections. A rash is characterized by redness, but can show up in a number of different ways. General redness, flat or raised patches, or clusters of small red bumps are all possible characteristics of a rash. Rashes usually are accompanied by irritation and itchiness, and can last hours or linger for days. The affected skin is often warmer than surrounding skin. Rashes can appear anywhere on the body, but when a rash occurs on your face you might be inclined to worry it’s something more.

Usually, a rash is nothing to worry about. For most people, allergens and irritants are the leading causes of a rash. Exposure to anything you’re allergic to, be it pet dander or poison ivy can cause a rash. Poison ivy is an allergen to practically everyone, and the rash caused by it can be very itchy. Irritants, like strong chemicals or cleaning agents can also cause contact dermatitis, a type of rash triggered by physical contact with a foreign substance. Frequent, repeated exposure to foods, jewelry, clothing, and even water can all cause a rash.


If you’ve got redness on your face, and it comes and goes without an obvious cause, you might have rosacea. Rosacea is a common skin condition that impacts skin on the face, but it’s quite different from a simple rash. The causes of rosacea are not well understood, and there are plenty of theories for what causes it. An improper immune response, a mite contained in the skin causing a reaction and even an intestinal bug are all possible explanations for the condition. It’s more common in people with fair skin, and it usually develops in adults. The earliest sign of rosacea is a tendency to blush or flush easily in the face. Eventually rosacea can have more visible symptoms, including permanent redness, broken blood vessels in the skin, dryness and build-up of skin, and even vision loss in extreme circumstances.

Rosacea, if untreated can cause a number of problems, ranging from irritation to downright social withdrawal. Many people struggle with the personal toll that rosacea takes on their self-esteem, and its physical symptoms can extend far beyond the cosmetic. Due to built-up skin, some people with rosacea find that their nose actually becomes larger. Other rosacea symptoms look a lot like acne, and the growths can be very painful and itchy.

Telling a Rash from Rosacea

With a lot of skin conditions, when you’re unsure of what’s going on it’s best to consult a dermatologist immediately. A rash, though usually not cause for concern, is no exception. If you want the peace of mind that only a diagnosis can offer, you shouldn’t stop at the internet for your symptoms check. While it’s important to arm yourself with knowledge that you can apply to your skincare, it’s always wise to recognize when you could use a little help. Rosacea can flare up, and come and go. So even if the facial redness and rash-like symptoms subside, it doesn’t mean it was just a rash. If you’ve got a clear explanation, like a new makeup or an exposure to an allergen, you can probably be safe assuming it’s a rash. Even then, however, seeking treatment and a physician’s advice can alleviate the symptoms and have your rash gone sooner.

So while there isn’t a sure-fire way to tell rosacea away from a rash, there are a lot of things you can do to rule out one or the other. If you are dealing with facial redness and irritation, don’t delay—call the experts at Northeast Dermatology Associates today.

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