• 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 tests do health-care professionals use to diagnose rosacea?

Rosacea is usually diagnosed based on the typical red or blushed facial skin appearance and symptoms of easy facial blushing and flushing. Rosacea is largely underdiagnosed, and most people with rosacea do not know they have the skin condition. Many people may not associate their intermittent flushing symptoms with a medical condition. The facial redness in rosacea may be transient and come and go very quickly.

Dermatologists are physicians who are specially trained in the diagnosis of rosacea. Generally, no specific tests are required for the diagnosis of rosacea.

In unusual cases, a skin biopsy may be required to help confirm the diagnosis of rosacea. Occasionally, a noninvasive test called a skin scraping may be performed by the dermatologist in the office to help exclude a skin mite infestation by Demodex, which can look just like rosacea (and may be a triggering factor). A skin culture can help exclude other causes of facial skin bumps like staph infections or herpes infections. Blood tests are not generally required but may be used to help exclude less common causes of facial blushing and flushing, including systemic lupus, other autoimmune conditions, and dermatomyositis.

While most cases of rosacea are fairly straightforward, there are some atypical cases that are not as easy to diagnose. Other conditions and rosacea look-alikes include

Reviewed on 5/2/2016

Del Rosso, James Q. "Advances in Understanding and Managing Rosacea: Part 1 & 2: Connecting the Dots Between Pathophysiological Mechanisms and Common Clinical Features of Rosacea With Emphasis on Vascular Changes and Facial Erythema." J Clin Aesthet Dermatol. 5.3 Mar. 2012.

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.

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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