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.
Nili N. Alai, MD, FAAD
Dr. Alai is an actively practicing medical and surgical dermatologist in south Orange County, California. She has been a professor of dermatology and family medicine at the University of California, Irvine since 2000. She is U.S. board-certified in dermatology, a 10-year-certified fellow of the American Academy of Dermatology, and Fellow of the American Society of Mohs Surgery.
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.
In this Article
- Rosacea facts
- What is rosacea? Is rosacea contagious?
- Is rosacea like acne?
- What are causes and risk factors of rosacea?
- What are rosacea symptoms and signs?
- How is rosacea diagnosed?
- What happens to the nose and the eyes?
- How is rosacea cured?
- What about using acne medicine?
- What is the treatment for rosacea?
- What should be avoided? What foods are good for rosacea?
- What natural remedies can help rosacea?
- Does rosacea get worse with age?
- How should I care for the skin of my face?
- How are the telangiectasias (the red lines) treated?
- How is a rhinophyma (the W.C. Fields nose) treated?
- What effect may rosacea have on my life?
- Where can people get more information about rosacea?
- Take the Rosacea Quiz!
- Adult Skin Problems Slideshow Pictures
- View Pictures of Rosacea
- Rosacea FAQs
- Find a local Dermatologist in your town
Is rosacea like acne?
Rosacea is basically different than acne, although the two can coexist. It is also sometimes called "adult acne." Unlike common acne, rosacea is not primarily a plague of teenagers but occurs most often in adults (ages 30-50), especially in those with fair skin. Different than acne, there are usually no blackheads or whiteheads in rosacea. Furthermore, most teens eventually outgrow acne whereas patients with rosacea don't generally outgrow it. Rosacea consists mostly of small red bumps that are not "squeezable" or extractable like blackheads. Squeezing a rosacea pimple usually causes a scant amount of clear liquid to expel. Unlike traditional acne where professional extractions can help remove whiteheads and blackheads, squeezing or extracting rosacea bumps does not help improve the rosacea. People with rosacea tend to have a rosy or pink color to their skin as opposed to acne patients whose skin is usually less red.
Rosacea strikes both sexes and potentially all ages. It tends to be more frequent in women but more severe in men. It is very uncommon in children, and it is very infrequently seen in darker skin tones or black skin.
What are the causes and risk factors of rosacea?
The exact cause of rosacea is still unknown and remains a mystery. The basic process seems to involve dilation of the small blood vessels of the face. Suspected causes of rosacea include but are not limited to genetic factors, genetics plus sun exposure, a mite sometimes found in hair follicles (Demodex folliculorum), gastrointestinal disease, and medications that cause blood vessels to widen. There seems to be a hereditary component to rosacea in a large number of people. Often people have close family members with rosacea.
Rosacea tends to affect the "blush" areas of the face and is more common in people who flush easily. Additionally, a variety of triggers are known to cause rosacea to flare. Emotional factors (stress, fear, anxiety, embarrassment, etc.) may trigger blushing and aggravate rosacea. A flare-up can be caused by changes in the weather like strong winds or a change in the humidity. Sun exposure and sun-damaged skin is generally associated with rosacea. Exercise, alcohol consumption, emotional upsets, and spicy food are other well-known triggers that may aggravate rosacea. Many patients may also notice flares around the holidays, particularly Christmas and New Year's holidays.
Rosacea risk factors include fair skin, English, Irish or Scottish heredity, easy blushing, and having other family members with rosacea (called "positive family history"). Additional risk factors include female gender, menopause, and being 30-50 years of age.
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