Not all redness is rosacea, and not all rosacea is the same.
Rosacea starts with redness, caused by excessive blood congesting within sensitive tissues of the face. Redness can be accompanies by itching, burning, and stinging. These are signs of inflammation. It starts out being intermittent, but then stays longer each episode, until some residual redness is present all the time. There are many “triggers” to redness (see below). As the condition progresses, inflammation increases, and papules (bumps) and pustules (bumps with pus) can appear, sometimes persisting for weeks. Facial pores become larger and prominent, and with solar exposure skin becomes yellowed, leathered (elastosis) and more prone to be wrinkled. Eventually the problem spreads from the face to also include neck, chest, and scalp regions. Visible spider veins (telangiectasia) can appear. Some go on to further stages including excessive inflammatory lesions, swollen nose, scars, and deformities.
Flushing, Blushing & Redness
Rosacea sufferers have more facial blood vessels than the average person and their blood vessels are abnormally constricted due to swelling and inflammation. There are various factors that cause rosacea facial vessels to dilate or contract. But not all persons who easily blush, have flushing and redness, or who responder to triggers like cold have rosacea. Some people genetically have more blood vessels, but they don’t become inflamed and constricted. The only way to tell the difference is by observing over time whether it progresses to lumps and bumps rosacea.
Many people have sensitive skin, and will get redness, itching, stinging and swelling (inflammation) from coming into contact with an allergen (makeup, lotion, dust,, etc.). It usually subsides quickly once the offending substance is removed.