The earliest recognizable stage of rosacea is called pre-rosacea. Its classic symptoms are patchy flushing or facial redness and inflammation, particularly on the cheeks, nose, forehead, and around the mouth. It typically appears between the ages of 30 and 50 and affects more women than men. Because the symptoms emerge slowly, rosacea may initially be mistaken for sunburn, leading to a delay in treatment.
Although it may first appear as early as the teen years, rosacea most frequently begins when sufferers enter their 30s, 40s or 50s as a flushing or transient redness on the cheeks or nose, and in some cases the chin or forehead. In this earliest stage, some sufferers may report stinging or burning sensations, including the feeling of dry or tight skin.
The signs and symptoms at this stage include frequent episodes of flushing and redness of the face and neck that come and go. Many things can trigger a flushing episode, including exposure to the sun, emotional stress, alcohol, spicy foods, exercise, cold wind, hot foods and beverages, and hot baths. What causes flushing in one person may not cause a problem in another.