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
What are rosacea symptoms and signs?
Typical signs and symptoms of rosacea include facial flushing, blushing, redness, burning, red bumps, and small cysts. The symptoms tend to come and go. The skin may be clear for weeks, months, or years and then erupt again. Rosacea tends to evolve in stages and typically causes inflammation of the skin of the face, particularly the forehead, cheeks, nose, and chin.
When rosacea first develops, it may appear, then disappear, and then reappear. However, the skin may fail to return to its normal color and the enlarged blood vessels and pimples arrive in time. Rosacea may rarely reverse itself.
Rosacea generally lasts for years, and, if untreated, it tends to gradually worsen.
How is rosacea diagnosed?
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 under-diagnosed 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. 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
- acne vulgaris,
- Demodex folliculitis,
- staph infection,
- systemic lupus erythematosus,
- medication reaction (for example, niacin),
- seborrheic dermatitis,
- allergic or contact dermatitis,
- seasonal allergies,
- allergic conjunctivitis,
- perioral dermatitis,
- carcinoid syndrome,
- herpes simplex.
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