Rosacea Pictures: papules, pustules, red nose and acne

Written by on October 27, 2007 with 161 Comments

Here are some photos of some rosacea flare ups from the year 2000.

At that stage I was trying to work out whether they were caused by being too experimental with new treatments or trying to cut out the antibiotics too quickly.

Being mostly fair skinned, a rosacea red nose stands out a mile away. Many people mistake this redness as sunburn, acne, or may even call it acne rosacea, but in reality, you need to understand rosacea as separate disorder in order to treat it.

Until I was formally diagnosed with rosacea, I could never answer the question – Just why is my nose red? and Why do I get acne on my nose at my age? Perhaps you, too, would like to answer these questions.

Almost everyone who gets diagnosed with rosacea is shocked that what looks like a teenage skin problem comes to visit them middle aged or even as a senior.

As you can see, my rosacea symptoms include acne, papules, pustules, red nose, mild swelling and flushing. These kind of symptoms would last for several days, and even more papules and pustules would take over as current ones healed. I convinced myself that new acne bumps and lumps would grow overnight ; each morning more would be there.

Rosacea Red Nose

Rosacea Papules Nose

Rosacea Pustules

Rosacea Red Nose

I would say that I had these rosacea symptoms for about 15 years or so. It was very frustrating for sure.

This is some of the worst rosacea pictures of me that I have photographs of. Like most rosacea sufferers, I didn’t like my photo being taken, so I don’t have records of any more `impressive’ symptoms than these.

See also my successful rosacea treatments for more information about how I’ve become symptom free.

Update: I recently wrote an article titled How to cure a red swollen nose. I hope that this also helps you battle your red nose !

David Pascoe

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About the Author:

David Pascoe started the Rosacea Support Group in October 1998.

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161 Reader Comments

  1. julie says:

    Hi Cindy ,,,Brenda is the cheaper form of Diane…..a contrceptive pill used to treat acne.It worked with minimizing facial hair for me as well.
    Good luck.Jule

  2. Sarah says:

    Had rosacea now for 10 years. My mum suffered with a red for years. It used to be a nightmare for me going in any room that had central heating. I would feel the heat rising. I never got the spots but just my face would be red nearly all the time. The pain of the burning face too was awful. Then I saw a poster from the red cross in a chemist advertising camouflage make up by Dermacolor. This was available on prescription. I wore it for years. It did the job of covering my face but it was very heavy and mask like and in summer it wasn’t very comfortable. The last few months I’ve discovered putting mineral make up on instead. Much lighter and doesn’t feel so heavy. I also started taking a zinc tablet each day and putting zinc and castor oil cream on my face morning and night. I am pleased to say that my face looks ‘normal’ now. Haven’t had a hot flush since I started using the zinc. Its such a relief to be able to go to work and not have to worry about the heat etc. Its also nice to not have to wear make up all the time, I used to look like a beetroot!

    Good luck everyone

  3. MsLux says:

    Hi there,
    I’m new and a little confused about how to navigate the site. I’d like to post in the forum section but can’t seem to find an option that lets me. Alternatively I could simply ask my question here.

    I have rosacea, only on my nose, and very noticeable. I have excellent skin but my nose is pink to blue deep purple depending on the situation. I don’t flush, blush, have pimples or papules. I simply have an ever swollen, oily, nose that is riddled with enlarged pores, black heads and a maze of broken veins. The veins at the sides of my nose being large and noticeable. I am not affected by heat but cold is a major trigger. My nose itself is always constantly cold to the touch. I do not have cold hands or feet. This problem is persistent and I often find myself in a warm room with a cold nose.
    I’m literally at my wits end. Red cheeks I could cope with but a purple nose? It’s ruining my life.
    I’ve had antibiotics which I can’t take more of as I suspect they had a hand in triggering the auto immune disorder I was recently diagnose with.
    I had two IPL’s which initially improved things but it came back worse. I also had veinwave which was a dead loss. The same veins that I’ve had for years reappear so eventually. it’s not a case of new ones appearing. I’ve become severely reclusive and wont have my photo taken, have put on a huge amount of weight, have lost all my confidence and am literally in despair.
    I fear it’s actually low level rhinophyma and as I couldn’t risk acutane with my Graves disease I’m not sure what to do. The nose is oily, swollen and the slightest thing that touched it causes the redness to worse. At normal colour ion waking it’s pink to rosy. At worst purple. Please help.

  4. cyndi says:

    Graves disease is a thyroid problem isn’t it? My swollen nose is not at all. I have
    red rosacea blood filled lumps. i don’t think yours is the same. Sounds like a
    lack or circulation there because it is cold. Mine swells in heat and loves the cold.
    My nose inflamed with red LED lights (I got a small bulb of red LED light emitting
    diodes) on ebay that I put in a portable light socket with a switch. That was only
    a few dollars and I think came from China. I also have a large panel one from
    ebay that was for growing plants. Both made my nose worse. If my nose problem
    is the opposite of yours, meaning I have too much circulation, maybe the red
    LED lights would help yours. Please get back to me and check out LED lights on
    ebay to get one. It will either get worse or better. Stay away from all supplements
    for now. i say a guy working at a Teavana store with a purple nose and wondering
    if all those exotic teas were making it worse. I bought Jasmine flower green tea one
    time there and my nose flared horribly. I threw the tea away. I found the same
    with grapeseed extract and licorice. Your nose will get better if you experiment
    constantly. What is your diet like? Keep removing and then adding things. What
    do you mean oily- sometimes it is just shiney from inflammation and looks oily.
    I tried alot of fish oil pills that dried my skin out. It is 100 percent tiny sardine
    oil capsules with no soy or vitamin E. Vitamin E is a flusher. They dried my skin
    out. It is not accutane but seemed to do the same thing. I bought the Rite Aid
    brand for 4.99 and took about 10 a day for a few days. Some say this is the
    same as doing accutane. Never had any problem. Definitely makes your skin
    less oily. You also can get Retin-A topical to see if that straightens out your
    nose. That will slow the progression of capillary growth which isn’t my problem
    but may be yours. i got mine from an online RX no prescription but your doctor
    should give you that if you be firm with them I finally got a prescription for it
    which I have as well. My email is cyndipa@comcast.net if you want my doctors
    name who precribed it for me.

  5. Cyndi says:

    Correction on my above post: My nose is not at all red. It is swollen on the tip
    with 2 red rosacea patches. The swollen tip is not red though. It is swollen in
    the morning and with heat. I can’t say it is cold. I believe it is swollen from
    an old rhinoplasy job I had years ago and the swelling is causing rosacea.
    It is wierd. I am looking into too much iron in my system which can cause swelling.
    So far I have eliminated dairy completely as well as cereals and processed carbs.
    I do know niacin in these make it worse as well.

  6. Rose says:

    MsLux,

    I have suffered with rosacea since my teenage years and my mother has as well. My rose has always has a deep reddish color (almost purple) to it, and I’d get these little acne-like bumps on my cheeks near my nose and on my chin. My skin is oily, which seems to make the problem even worse. I’ve been to the dermatologist who recommended EVERYTHING for me with no luck and then he told me to try OPC-3 Beauty blend (don’t ask me what the OPC stands for) but it is an anti-inflammatory and has helped with the swelling. My spider veins on the sides of my nose also seem to be lighter. Has anyone else tried this before? I buy it online at http://www.shop.com/cutting and it’s abut $70 I think. Seems to be worth the investment though and mine’s lasted over a month now. The thing I’ve found is that I have to take three doses a day instead of the one dose it recommends, but my doctor said that was fine because of the natural ingredients in it. Anyway, seems to work for me, and it may for you too.

  7. david says:

    I have had acne/rosacea since I was a teenager. I am now 40 and still suffering from the affliction. My rosacea got that bad a year ago that I had a constant red burning itchy face 24/7. Heat, cold, light any thing I ate made it worse. Even the light emitted from a standard light globe aggravated my condition. I barely went out for 6 months. One of dermatologists I saw said he had never seen a rapid onset rosacea like this before. And he has been practising for over 20 years. The cherry Red nose was the worst symptom. Any thing I ate my nose would go from light red to cherry red. It was an amazing thing to witness. I had to have creams and or moisturisers on my face 24/7. I had no choice, I had to put something on it. It was a nightmare. One dermatologist got me on to bactrim, one of the few medications I had not tried. Combined with major lifestyle and dietry changes things have settled down a bit. I could write a book on how rosacea has changed my life. All you can do is educate yourself about the condition. Experiment with the available therapies and hopefully you may alleviate some of your symptoms. I am just glad I have not had any children. At least none of this crap is going to be passed on from me. Cheers.

    • David, I have pustular which leaves wounds all over my face, specially under my eyes, the skin dries and comes off, I look like Freddie Kruger when it flares – after years and years of spending silly money on treatments and taking all sorts of pills (you name a cream or medicine, I took it) and my last flair before this last was seven years ago and lasted eight months scarring my face. I read a forum of natural cures, and even feeling skeptical, I read about Apple Cider Vinegar, and give it a go – works like a charm, apply topically a few days (attention, at first it will BURN and STING) but keep it going and in a couple of days you’ll see it receding like a miracle, ingest a spoon with water as well, before shower to prevent redness. Tea tree oil proved as good, I’m using both and even having a major flare, I’ve been able to look normal and under control (I have the most aggressive Rosacea I’ve ever seen) – please, try.

  8. Jannine says:

    Hi there I am new to this group and I have to say wow the amount of people putting up with this frustrating, annoying….. and so on, disorder. Out of the blue almost overnight 10 months ago mine started and has been driving me crazy. I have cut out yeast as best I can and cut out sugar where possible because these things apparently feed the rosacea. It just seems one day you’ll think ok it seems to be kind of under control and then bang the next day and when you can’t pin point it, it’s so annoying. Honestly I really don’t know how much more water I can drink and I’m also trying alkaline foods too. Hope to get more positive feed back. Have a great day.
    Jannine

  9. Cyndi says:

    I found drinking water does not help. Cutting sugars and vinegar out does. Last
    night I had a salad loaded with vinegar. I am down to one red papule on my nose
    and it is bright red this morning! I finally am seeing another doc who will do the
    big no-no and put some kenalog (a type of cortisone) shot in it. I know they say
    cortisone is not good but I had this done on one about 2 years ago. That spot
    never got red again. I did incur a slight dent in my skin from it that was noticable
    but it went away after about 5 months. They have to dilute the material somewhat
    to keep it from shrinking the skin too much. A good doc will know about this and
    this side effect from cortisone injections. It is temporary so worth it. I heard about
    a new kind of laser called Aerolase Lightpod good for rosacea. Minimal heat to it
    so it is much better than the IPL. Unfortunately, I am not finding any doctors here
    in PA that have it.. I even called the manufacturer and they are trying to find some
    one here that has it but so far no one. I have been enjoying mango and pineapple
    smoothies made on my own all summer without further aggravation. Still popping
    time-release doxy to keep it at bay. Good luck everyone!

  10. Rocio says:

    Hello,
    I have tried everything possible, rosacea LTD IV combined with the jojoba oil, it did helped a lot, but now I have been drinking Organic Apple Cider Vinegar, 2 Tbs mixed with 8 oz of water first thing in the morning, and after dinner. I see my face so much better!!! I can’t believe I didn’t come across this after all these years. I strongly recommend it.
    Rocio

    • Rocio says:

      Hello again, after a year I am commenting again, I am still taking Apple Cider Vinegar, I feel that it keeps me clean in the inside, I recently became an idependent consutant with Arbonne International, and I have been using the Calm line which is for delicate skin in addition with our new product Genious! my face is looking better than ever! I am very sensitive to wind and fried food, so I still get my face red, but the papules are gone!! I was so depressed because of this condition, and now finally I am getting my confidence back 🙂
      Rocio

  11. Tony says:

    I also have rosacea and i was keeping it under control to a certain degree but it has just flared up in the last few days and i have no idea what has caused it i have been off and on oxytetracycline tablets for years but help to control it but never seem to get rid of it It will take about a week now for the swealing to go down and my nose is painful to touch at the minute .Any advice out there would be appreciated .

  12. Cyndi says:

    Tony-just wondering why you are not on timed released doxycycline rather than
    a tetracycline? It just recently became available in generic form and quite cheap.
    My doctor prescribed it at 150 mg and it quickly will settle a swollen nose down.
    I usually only need a half of one now. The trick is on and off again of the doxycycline
    so your rosacea doesn’t get “used to it”. My lastest doctor told me to only take it
    for a few days and then stop. I also have stayed away from sugars, dairy and
    too many carbohydrates which was my diet up until recently. This is all in the Rosacea
    Diet 101 book. I was a vegetarian and had to stop. The carbohydrates (potatoes,
    corn chips, breads, and cereals) were making me a walking furnace. Again, dairy is
    a carbohydrate. Yogurt is bad for rosacea. I eat nuts and meats and seafood. It is difficult because meat is expensive. Fast food meats have additives such as soy so they make it worse. It is either the soy or sugars they add to the
    bun but I find fast food burgers are bad for rosacea. There are so many things to stay away from such as citrus fruits, citric acid in all pop drinks including 7-Up and
    Gingerale as well as Tonic (Vodka tonics seem a benign drink but are full of citric acid), spices that dialate the capillaries such as garlic and ginger as well as cayenne
    pepper. Say goodbye to Mexican, Chinese and Asian foods. Go light on the corn
    and potato chips (high carbs) and you will be a new man. it is a sterile diet but
    worth it. i eat alot of the Cambell’s Chunky soups or Healthy Choice for lunch.
    There is a new one called Chicken Gumbo that was too spicey and I did flare from that one though. An occasional Peach wine cooler seems to be okay. I go through
    a 16 oz jar of saltless peanuts in a few days now. It is a quick hunger fix to carry with you so you don’t go for the sweets and bagels with cream cheese. That was my former diet but no more.

  13. MsLux says:

    Hi Tony,
    For nasal swelling Nasalcrom spray is a mast cell inhibitor and good to reduce swelling, bromelain/ querectin supplement is a potent anti inflammatory, isotretinoin is often very successful at low doses to permanently reduce the swelling and Avené skincare do a green tinted spf 25 moisturizer for rosacea and a special night treatment cream containing retinaldyhyde which reduces vein formation, increases skin thickness and treats redness. It’s a vitamin A derivative specifically developed for hyper sensitive skin.
    Pulse dye laser followed by IPL at a later stage treats redness and veins well.
    Good luck.

  14. Tony says:

    Hi Cyndi and MsLux thanks for your advice it give me hope i live in uk so i am not sure if i can get the treatments you have advised but will try through the internet i will let you know now things progress Thanks again

  15. Jessica says:

    Can somebody please help me?I have adult acne.when I try to squeeze my face nothing comes out of my face.sometimes my face is red too.

    • Ruth Givens says:

      Rosacea when squeezed either produces nothing or a fluid discharge. Rosacea papules are considered to be sterile because they are not caused by bacteria but an unknown etiology which causes swelling and leaking intercellular fluid. Antibiotics can be useful in calming rosacea and preventing secondary bacterial infection .

  16. christina says:

    I have had this roscia acme for 3weeks .I just started the metrogel a week ago. Washing my face with cetiphl now I see no improvement I see more breakouts I’m very depresse cvsd 45 yrs old I work in retail cvs. When will this go away!

  17. Rosieme says:

    My face was breaking out in horrible pustules and red bumps all the time for the past couple of years since the Rosacea began. I tried avoiding spicy foods and all kinds of topicals. Nothing helped.
    My sister gave me a tiny bottle of Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleanser, that she had gotten in the hospital. I started washing my face in that and within a couple of days it began clearing up. I’ve been purchasing and washing my face in nothing else for months and haven’t had a serious breakout.
    If I get too hot from physical activity I will have a few small ‘bumps’ but nothing like the way it was before. It has had no effect on the broken veins and capilaries, nor has it helped the dry sandpaper feel which I suppose is another wonderful gift from rosacea?
    I just purchased some CeraVe cream today as it got great reviews at amazon, hoping that will help with the dryness and redness.
    TriDerma Facial Redness Repair really did reduce the redness for me. Living in a small town no one stocks it here so I’d have to order online. I saw the CeraVe and decided to give it a try.

  18. margaret says:

    hi there hope someone can help my nose seems to be getting eat away at both sides is anyone eles got this problem

  19. Paul Crawford says:

    Hi, I found that the 5:2 diet controlled by rosacea like nothing else has. My condition is all to do with diet. I would advise anyone with rosacea to give the 5:2 diet a try. The other health benefits of it are great too. Unfortunately it does require some commitment and will power.. but not that much.

  20. David Pascoe says:

    Comment via email.

    “What is the 5:2 diet? I found my diet helps the most.

    I am also finding that a gentle exfoliation of the thickened skin on my nose with a bit of Retin-a I am able to get the patches to go away. A little bit 2 times a day. I tried this before but my nose was too inflamed. Now that my diet has it under control the Retin- a is helping heal the last of a few patchey spots.

    Oddly I had this in my cabinet for a few years but never used it. Doctors wil prescribe it if you ask, Most insurances will pay if doctor calls insurance company since it generally is not approved for anything other than acne. My doctor called and I got it cheap but never really gave it a try until lately. So thankful I am makeup free finally and almost rosacea free.

    Found pasta to be another culprit so please watch for that as well.”

    • Paul says:

      5:2 diet… if you need to get rid of rosacea you’ll look it up. It is more simple than a normal diet; not a set of unbearable do’s and don’ts

  21. Mags mckay says:

    Thank you

  22. Robin Poli says:

    I have been suffering from acne around my nose for years, and it comes on and off. My skin is very sensitive, and whenever I try beauty products in a store I come away with something bad. I started using the Citrus Clear products – and I was so impressed. I use Citrus Clear Wash twice everyday, and it is helping clear out the acne. I love that its all natural too. . .Yes it is drying, but there are moisturizes that cure that

  23. Caryn says:

    I have found Votre Vu Tragic Magic cream as the best treatment. It has lime in it which calms the redness. All organic and hand batched in France.

  24. Kevin Ward says:

    I have been using Sudocream (Zinc based ) cost a few pounds…. wear overnight for a few days done the trick for me….. note you can get this product from super markets and most UK chemists and is used by top models as a spot prevention cream

  25. Flora2 says:

    I apply the Citrus Clear Spot Treatment it to new red acne spots and leave it on. I can see the redness fades right away and the next day it becomes very light. Last year I had a serious break-out and used tons of skin care products and my face was still full of dark spots, for a whole year. They disappeared within two months after using the Citrus Clear products.

  26. Spencer says:

    I am a 21-year-old athlete, and I have been suffering from a red nose for the past 8 months. I’m not 100% sure if I have rosacea, but after reading all the comments, I am quite certain I do. I am seeing a dermatologist next week. I have always had oily skin, and moderate acne, my entire life. When my nose flared up for the first time, I thought it was a severe breakout, due to the fact I had 15 whiteheads on my nose. I thought it was strange but thought nothing of it, when the pimples went away, and the redness died down. Unfortunately, the flare-ups continued, and I was extremely confused. I still thought I was breaking out, so I started washing my face twice a day, and that seemed to help. However, two red marks in the middle of my nose, wouldn’t go away. Someone mentioned in the comments that this is called a rosacea patch? The redness died down over the holidays and going into January, and I again forgot my ordeal. As long as I can remember, my nose always turns purple when I’m cold. Going to college in NJ, you can imagine how my nose looked this past spring. I’ve broken my nose a new times, and I thought the damage it experienced, mixed with low circulation, was the cause of this. Whenever my body heats up, my purple nose almost instantly goes away. Is a purple nose a side affect of rosacea? My nose had a few bad flair ups this past spring, but the stress of school, and other things, put the redness out of my mind. Starting in early May, after school ended, my nose really started bothering me. I had a lot of time on my hands, and I spent a lot of that time taking pictures of my nose, and looking in the mirror. My face was clear everywhere else, but my nose was spotted red marks. Those two red marks that I mentioned I had, kind of faded in the spring, but they were bright red in the beginning of summer. At this time I started using heavy doses of sunscreen, whenever I went outside, and also bought myself some acne cream, which I applied along with washing my face twice a day. The redness died down, and then would come back again. I play soccer so I’m constantly outside in the sun, so I really can’t avoid my body temperature rising. I’m currently running 8 miles a day, but I haven’t noticed my nose getting really red because of it, which is strange.

    My current symptoms are, itchiness (just on my nose), very oily, enlarged pores, persistent redness, whiteheads, and blackheads. I also have noticed my left eye has been acting a little strange. It twitches occasionally, is itchy, sometimes red, and often times feels like I have debris in it. I may have Ocular rosacea for all I know. My question to all of you is, from your experience, does it should like I have rosacea? And if I do, how do you think I should go about treating it? How do you cope with it on a day-to-day basis? I hope my post wasn’t to long, and I look forward to reading your responses.

    • My husband had a nose problem that sounds like yours all his life..He is 70. Doctors would give him cortisone creams that did not help much. When he squeezed his nose, cream cheese like squiggles would come out of his large pores. He would get inflamed pimples on his nose all the time. This year he saw a new dermatologist and he said he had enlarged sebaceous glands on his nose. The doctor proceeded to somehow dig some of them out. My husband does no know how this was done as he could not see what the Doc was doing, but it was uncomfortable. My husband had to wear bandages on his nose for over a week and was very embarrassed. The Doc told him to come back for another treatment in a month or so. He did not go back as we went on vacation. The bottom line is: It did work! Hope this helps.

  27. chris says:

    Has anyone within this support group tried the camuclear product?

    https://www.camuclear.com/rosaceatreatment2.html?gclid=CIfWrtf06cYCFYKPHwod8r8F5g

    thanks,
    Chris

  28. brandim says:

    Mostly, my acne is on my nose, chin,and cheeks. I’ve been really embarrassed about it because it looks really bad, especially under makeup. I’ve tried to conceal it with different products, but really in the end nothing worked. I am no stranger to Noxema, Clean and Clear, Neutrogena, and St. Ives. While lots of them have helped in clearing up excess oil and a few of the blemishes, nothing really got rid of the redness. The only products that got rid of the redness was the Citrus Clear Sensitive Wash and the Citrus Clear Moisturizer. It cleared up the excess oil so well and the best part of all it got rid of the redness! I now am acne free using just Citrus Clear products and and have no redness whatsoever. I would really recommend this product to anybody who suffers from acne.

  29. donni says:

    My husbands poor nose was so red as well. The Somaluxe Redness Cream so improved it looks nearly normal, Twice a day I have treated his nose to a thin layer of the cream. It is now 1 month, and boy what a difference, the boils have all but disappeared, the red angry skin is looking healthier better colour . From the first day it started to calm the skin, only small pimples appear but are soon gone the Price is high, But needs must.

  30. Diane Smith says:

    I was diagnosed with Rosacea about 15 years ago but I think it was a misdiagnosis. I’m olive-to-sallow skinned with no redness at all. I have tiny, very itchy pustules over my cheeks mainly but they appear anywhere on my face. I’ve been trying to find exactly what I have and some sort of controlling medication. I’m fed up with this condition.

  31. john barris says:

    I have struggled with red skin for years. I have adult acne and as a result have many old scars and red skin. I struggle to leave the house without make up on as my skin looked so sore and inflamed.

    I have tried many rosacea treatments and most have left me with very dry itchy skin as my acne sill pops out around my neck and jawline.

    This however the Somaluxe Redness Repair has really helped. My red skin is starting to fade. It’s also helping with current acne spots. There not dry and itchy anymore my breakouts seem less severe as the redness has reduced. I love the product.

  32. Olga says:

    what works for my rosacea is sulfur. Washing even day with sulfur soap has kept all the spots away. The best thing ever.

  33. paul crawford says:

    I am a scientist.. well I would have been were it not for the arrogance of doctors…err. people rather. Anyway you can find the 5;2 diet all over the net. Acne from food reaction… ok… mess around with drugs/washes/creams or starve yersel twice a week

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