Rosacea Review - Newsletter of the National Rosacea SocietyRosacea Review - Newsletter of the National Rosacea Society

Q&A: Facial Swelling & Spreading Rosacea

Q. Can rosacea cause your face to swell?

A. Yes, certain rosacea sufferers may experience some swelling (edema) in the face that may become noticeable as early as the initial stage of the disease. The same flushing that brings on rosacea's progression can be associated with edema, a build-up of fluid in the tissues of the face. It generally occurs above the nasolabial folds -- the creases from the nose to each side of the mouth -- and can cause a "baggy cheek" appearance. It is also believed that in some patients this swelling process may contribute to the development of excess tissue around the nose, causing it to become bulbous and bumpy (see feature on rhinophyma).

Q. When you apply topical medications, can you spread rosacea from one area of your face to another?

A. No, rosacea is not a contagious disease -- one that can be transferred from one person to another through contact -- nor is it caused by a virus or bacterium that can be spread around your face on your fingertips. You do need to be sure, however, that the way you apply your medication or cleanse your face is not aggravating your condition. For instance, be sure to wash your face gently with a mild cleanser, avoiding abrasive material and using lukewarm water before applying medication. If using your hands, thoroughly clean them first to remove any gritty material. Apply medication after your face has dried. Never scrub or rub your face excessively.