Reviewed by William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR, on November 7, 2011
Take the Rosacea Quiz First! Before reading this FAQ, challenge yourself and
Test your Knowledge!
Q:Rosacea usually first appears where?
A:Nose. The nose is usually the first area of the face where rosacea is seen. When rosacea on the nose is left untreated, it can sometimes progress into a condition called rhinophyma (ryno-FY-ma). Rhinophyma (the W.C. Fields nose), generally seen in men, literally means "growth of the nose" and is characterized by bulbous enlargement of the nose and cheeks. In cases of rhinophyma where thickness of the nose develops, surgical repair may be necessary.
Q:Which skin ailment closely resembles rosacea?
A:Adult acne. Rosacea closely resembles and is sometimes called "adult acne." A chronic, inflammatory skin disease, rosacea itself is different from acne, although the two conditions can exist together. Like acne, rosacea is a skin disease that is characterized by redness and pimples on the cheeks, nose, forehead, and chin. While rosacea outbreaks can look like acne, typical blackheads and whiteheads seen with acne are not seen with rosacea.
Q:Can rosacea affect the eyes?
A:Yes. Sometimes, but not always, rosacea affects the eyes. This complication is called ocular rosacea, in which sufferers feel that their eyes are burning, dry, gritty, and sensitive to light. Conjunctivitis is also seen with ocular rosacea. Untreated ocular rosacea can cause another problem called rosacea keratitis, where the cornea of the eye becomes damaged, which can result in permanent damage and impaired vision.
Q:What is the cure for rosacea?
A:Rosacea cannot be cured. To date, rosacea is not considered curable. There are treatments, such as photodynamic therapy and isotretinoin that can control rosacea, giving patients months or years of long-term results. Other rosacea treatments include oral antibiotics, topical creams, cleansers, and glycolic peels.
Q:What is a well-known cause of rosacea flares?
A:Sun. Sun exposure is a known cause of flares of rosacea. Rosacea is generally seen in fair-skinned people of English, Irish, or Scottish heredity, those who blush easily, and those with a positive family history of rosacea. To prevent flares sunscreen and sun avoidance is highly recommended.
Q:How do rosacea symptom behave as a person ages?
A:Symptoms worsen with age. Although rosacea generally worsens with age, progression of the disease is not necessarily predictable. Many rosacea sufferers are unaware that treatments for rosacea can slow or prevent the progression of rosacea. However, as mentioned earlier, untreated rosacea can progress into serious complications, including rhinophyma and rosacea keratitis.
Q:What color are telangiectasias?
A:Red. Telangiectasias are tiny red lines or spots seen on the skin with a variety of conditions, but especially rosacea on the face. Telangiectasias are small, spider-like blood vessels that enlarge and rise to the surface of the skin. Telangiectasias are treatable.
Q:Can rosacea be prevented?
A:No. The cause of rosacea is unknown. Because of this, there is no way to prevent it. It is possible, however, to prevent rosacea flare-ups. In many people, rosacea is triggered by stress, spicy foods, cosmetics, exercise, sun, wind, heat, and cold. Rosacea sufferers can find out what their triggers are by making a list of activities or foods that preceded a flare and avoiding these activities and foods in the future.
Q:Is rosacea contagious?
A:No. Rosacea is neither contagious nor infectious.
Q:How is rosacea diagnosed?
A:Rosacea is diagnosed based on appearance. There is no specific test to diagnose rosacea. Diagnosis of rosacea is typically based on rosacea's appearance. Doctors or dermatologists generally look for the typical red, blushed appearance of the face to make a diagnosis.
Q:What can mock symptoms of rosacea?
A:Demodex folliculitis, Lupus butterfly rash and Eczema. Though rosacea is rather straightforward in appearance, there are other skin diseases and conditions that mimic the appearance and symptoms of rosacea. These skin diseases and conditions include acne vulgaris, Demodex folliculitis (tiny mites), staph infection, systemic lupus erythematosus, seborrheic dermatitis; allergic, perioral, or contact dermatitis; eczema, allergic conjunctivitis, dermatitis, impetigo, and herpes simplex.
Q:What former president has rosacea?
A:Bill Clinton. Rosacea is responsible for the rosiness of former U.S. President Bill Clinton's nose and cheeks.
Q:Rosacea usually begins in childhood. True or False?
A:False. Rosacea is rarely seen in childhood. Rosacea is usually seen in women between 30 and 50 years of age. Other risk factors for rosacea include having fair skin, being of English, Irish, or Scottish descent (as mentioned earlier), and menopause.
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