woman having rosacea before seeing Dr Jinah Yoo

What is Papulopustular Rosacea?


Skin conditions can often cause discomfort and affect our self-esteem, and one such condition is papulopustular rosacea. Characterised by redness, papules, and pustules on the face, this chronic inflammatory disorder can be challenging to manage without proper understanding. In this blog post, we will delve into the details of papulopustular rosacea, exploring its causes, symptoms, and available treatment options.

Understanding Papulopustular Rosacea

Papulopustular rosacea, also known as subtype 2 rosacea, is a common skin condition that primarily affects the face. It is characterised by redness, persistent acne-like bumps (papules), and pus-filled bumps (pustules). It typically occurs in adults between the ages of 30 and 50, and it is more common in fair-skinned individuals with a family history of rosacea.

Causes and Triggers of rosacea

The exact cause of papulopustular rosacea remains unknown, but several factors are believed to contribute to its development. These include:

  1. Abnormalities in blood vessels: Dilated blood vessels near the skin's surface can lead to facial redness and flushing, contributing to the development of papulopustular rosacea.
  2. Demodex mites - these tiny mites, which naturally inhabit the skin, are found in higher numbers in individuals with rosacea. They may trigger an immune response, leading to inflammation and the characteristic symptoms of papulopustular rosacea.
  3. Inflammation - chronic inflammation within the skin can play a role in the development and progression of the condition.

Additionally, certain triggers can worsen symptoms or lead to flare-ups in individuals with papulopustular rosacea. These triggers may include exposure to sunlight, hot or cold weather, spicy foods, alcohol, stress, certain medications, and intense physical activity.

Symptoms of Papulopustular Rosacea

The symptoms of papulopustular rosacea can vary from person to person. Common signs and symptoms include:

  1. Persistent facial redness - the central area of the face, including the cheeks, nose, forehead, and chin, may appear persistently red or flushed.
  2. Papules and pustules - small red bumps (papules) and pus-filled bumps (pustules) resembling acne may be present, often concentrated in the central facial area.
  3. Burning or stinging sensation - the affected skin may feel hot, tender, or sensitive, accompanied by a burning or stinging sensation.
  4. Flushing - frequent episodes of flushing, characterized by sudden and temporary facial redness, may occur.
  5. Telangiectasia - visible blood vessels (telangiectasia) may appear on the face, particularly on the cheeks and nose.

Managing Papulopustular Rosacea  

While papulopustular rosacea cannot be cured, we recommend several treatment options to help manage it.

  1. Skincare routine – gentle skincare practices are crucial for individuals with rosacea. Use mild, fragrance-free cleansers and moisturizers that are non-comedogenic (do not clog pores). Avoid harsh exfoliants and rough scrubbing, as these can worsen symptoms.
  2. Sun protection - protecting the skin from sun exposure is essential. Wear broad-spectrum sunscreen with a high SPF daily, use wide-brimmed hats, and seek shade during peak sun hours.
  3. Trigger identification and avoidance - keep a diary to identify specific triggers that worsen your symptoms. Once identified, try to avoid or minimise exposure to these triggers.
  4. Medications - topical and oral medications prescribed by a dermatologist can help manage papulopustular rosacea. These may include topical antibiotics, azelaic acid, and oral antibiotics or isotretinoin in severe cases.
  5. Laser and light therapy - in some cases, we may opt for a variety of our laser and therapies such as our Dual Toning programme, to target blood vessels, reduce redness, and improve overall skin appearance.

Papulopustular rosacea can significantly impact an individual's quality of life, but with the right understanding and management strategies, it is possible to control the symptoms and reduce flare-ups. If you suspect you have papulopustular rosacea, consult a dermatologist for an accurate diagnosis and personalised treatment plan. With proper care, you can maintain healthier skin and regain your confidence.