Rosacea

  • Medical Author:
    Gary W. Cole, MD, FAAD

    Dr. Cole is board certified in dermatology. He obtained his BA degree in bacteriology, his MA degree in microbiology, and his MD at the University of California, Los Angeles. He trained in dermatology at the University of Oregon, where he completed his residency.

  • Medical Editor: William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR
    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.

Quick GuideRosacea, Acne, Shingles: Common Adult Skin Diseases

Rosacea, Acne, Shingles: Common Adult Skin Diseases

What is rosacea? Is rosacea contagious? What does rosacea look like?

Rosacea (ro-zay-sha) is a common, acne-like benign inflammatory skin disease of adults, with a worldwide distribution. Rosacea is estimated to affect at least 16 million people in the United States alone and approximately 45 million worldwide. Most people with rosacea are Caucasian and have fair skin. The main symptoms and signs of rosacea include red or pink facial skin, small dilated blood vessels, small red bumps sometimes containing pus, cysts, and pink or irritated eyes. Many people who have rosacea may just assume they have very sensitive skin that blushes or flushes easily.

Rosacea is considered an incurable auto-inflammatory skin condition which waxes and wanes. As opposed to traditional or teenage acne, most adult patients do not "outgrow" rosacea. Rosacea characteristically involves the central region of the face, mainly the forehead, cheeks, chin, and the lower half of the nose. It is most commonly seen in people with light skin and particularly in those of English, Irish, and Scottish backgrounds. Some famous people with rosacea include the former U.S. President Bill Clinton and W.C. Fields. Rosacea is not directly caused by alcohol intake, but it can be aggravated by it. Rosacea is not considered contagious or infectious.

The redness in rosacea, often aggravated by flushing, may cause small blood vessels in the face to enlarge (dilate) permanently and become more visible through the skin, appearing like tiny red lines (called telangiectasias). Continual or repeated episodes of flushing and blushing may promote inflammation, causing small red bumps, or papules, that often resemble teenage acne. Rosacea is also referred to as acne rosacea. One of the most unpleasant aspects of rosacea is the overgrowth of dermal tissues producing a "phymatous" change in the skin. This appears as a thickening and permanent swelling of the facial tissues. A bulbous nose called rhinophyma is an example of this change.

Reviewed on 6/9/2017
References
REFERENCES:

Abokwidir, Manal, and Steven R. Feldman. "Rosacea Management." Skin Appendage Discord 2 (2016): 26-34.

Asai, Yuka, et al. "Canadian Clinical Practice Guidelines for Rosacea." Journal of Cutaneous Medicine and Surgery 2016: 1-14.

Margalit, Anatte, et al. "The Role of Altered Cutaneous Immune Responses in the Induction and Persistence of Rosacea." Journal of Dermatological Science 82 (2016): 3-8.

Steinhoff, Martin, Martin Schmelz, and Jürgen Schauber. "Facial Erythema of Rosacea – Aetiology, Different Pathophysiologies and Treatment Options." Acta Derm Venereol 96 (2016): 579-586.

Two, Aimee M., and James Q. Del Rosso. "Kallikrein 5-Medicated Inflammation in Rosacea." The Journal of Clinical Aesthetic Dermatology 7.1 Jan. 2014: 20-25.

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