Papulopustular rosacea

Papulopustular rosacea is a subtype of rosacea, a chronic skin condition that affects the face. It is characterized by redness, inflammation, and the presence of pimple-like bumps (papules) and pustules (small pus-filled lesions). The redness and inflammation often appear as a persistent flush or blush, especially on the cheeks, nose, and forehead. Other symptoms of papulopustular rosacea may include itching, burning, and stinging sensations on the skin. The exact cause of rosacea is not known, but several factors are thought to contribute to its development, including genetics, sun exposure, skin irritation, and certain triggers such as stress, alcohol, spicy foods, and hot drinks.


Papulopustular rosacea, also known as acne rosacea, is a common skin condition that affects the face. It is characterized by redness, swelling, and pimple-like bumps or pustules. The exact causes of papulopustular rosacea are not known, but several factors are believed to contribute to its development, including:

  1. Genetics: Some people may have a genetic predisposition to developing papulopustular rosacea, which means that it runs in families.
  2. Hormonal changes: Hormonal changes can trigger the symptoms of papulopustular rosacea, particularly in women during menopause or menstruation.
  3. Infection: The skin condition can be caused by the bacteria Propionibacterium acnes or Demodex mites.
  4. Environmental factors: Exposure to environmental irritants, such as sun, wind, and cold weather, can trigger symptoms of papulopustular rosacea.
  5. Stress: Chronic stress can cause a flare-up of symptoms in people with papulopustular rosacea.
  6. Alcohol consumption: Alcohol consumption can cause a flare-up of symptoms in some people with papulopustular rosacea.
  7. Medications: Certain medications, such as corticosteroids, can cause papulopustular rosacea.

It is important to note that these causes may vary from person to person and multiple factors may contribute to the development of papulopustular rosacea.


Some of the main symptoms of this condition include:

  1. Facial redness: This can be constant or come and go. It typically affects the central face, including the nose, cheeks, and forehead.
  2. Papules and pustules: Small, red, pimple-like bumps that can be painful and/or itchy. They may be filled with pus and appear similar to acne.
  3. Flushing: This is a sudden, temporary reddening of the face due to increased blood flow. It can be triggered by various factors, including stress, alcohol consumption, and hot or spicy foods.
  4. Telangiectasia: This refers to the appearance of visible blood vessels on the face. They may appear as thin, red lines or clusters of tiny, red dots.
  5. Swelling: The face may appear swollen and puffy, especially in the morning. This can also be due to fluid accumulation in the tissues.
  6. Irritated or burning eyes: This is a common symptom of rosacea that affects the eyes and can cause discomfort, redness, itching, or burning.

It is important to seek medical attention if you experience any of these symptoms, as they can worsen over time if left untreated.


The primary diagnostic method for this condition is a clinical examination by a dermatologist. The dermatologist will look for characteristic signs and symptoms, such as:

  1. Flushing and persistent redness of the face
  2. Papules and pustules
  3. Thickening of the skin, especially around the nose
  4. Telangiectasia (broken blood vessels) on the face

No specific tests are required for diagnosing papulopustular rosacea. However, a dermatologist may perform a skin biopsy to rule out other skin conditions that may present similar symptoms.

The diagnosis of papulopustular rosacea is primarily made based on a clinical examination of the skin. The dermatologist will look for the characteristic symptoms, including redness, pimples, and visible blood vessels on the face. The dermatologist may also take a complete medical history, including any family history of rosacea and any environmental or lifestyle factors that may be triggering symptoms.

Test details:

There are no specific tests to diagnose papulopustular rosacea, as the diagnosis is primarily based on the appearance of the skin. However, in some cases, a skin biopsy may be performed to rule out other skin conditions that may present similar symptoms. Additionally, a skin sensitivity test may be performed to identify any environmental triggers that may be contributing to symptoms. This test involves exposing the skin to different substances and observing any reactions.


It is typically treated with a combination of topical and oral medications, as well as lifestyle changes.

Topical treatments:

  • Metronidazole: This is an antibiotic that is applied directly to the skin to reduce redness and inflammation.
  • Azelaic acid: This is a gel or cream that helps to unclog pores and reduce inflammation.
  • Ivermectin: This is a topical cream that helps to reduce the symptoms of rosacea, including redness and bumps.

Oral treatments:

  • Antibiotics: These are used to reduce the number of bacteria on the skin and decrease inflammation. Examples include doxycycline and minocycline.
  • Isotretinoin: This is a powerful oral medication that is used to treat severe acne and rosacea. It works by reducing oil production in the skin and unclogging pores.

Lifestyle changes:

  • Avoid triggers: Certain triggers such as sun exposure, hot drinks, spicy food, and alcohol can make rosacea symptoms worse. Identifying and avoiding these triggers can help to manage the condition.
  • Use gentle skincare products: Use mild, non-irritating skincare products that are gentle on the skin. Avoid products that contain alcohol or fragrances, which can irritate the skin.
  • Wear sun protection: Wear a hat and use a broad-spectrum sunscreen to protect your skin from the sun’s harmful rays.

It is important to consult a dermatologist for personalized treatment recommendations and to monitor progress and any potential side effects.