What is rosacea?
Rosacea is a common and chronic disorder exclusively of facial skin. It is more common in patients aged 35-60 that have fair skin. Rosacea is probably best described as an inflammatory skin condition, although in addition to the immune system, nerves endings, blood vessels, genetics and UV radiation all play a role. There are many types of rosacea, just as there are many types of apples, oranges and flowers! Sometimes it takes a skilled eye to make a diagnosis of rosacea, especially if the symptoms and signs do not fit perfectly textbook descriptions.
The diagnosis of rosacea is often made by the history (i.e. what patients tell us about their experience with their skin) and clinical appearance of the skin alone. A biopsy is required to make a diagnosis of rosacea only in a few uncommon and rare subtypes. Rosacea should not be confused with acne and the term ‘acne-rosacea’ is outdated and should not be used. We are still learning a lot about rosacea. Ongoing research allows us to better understand the condition which will allow the development of more effective management options. Most mild cases of rosacea are managed by patients themselves or with the help of their general practitioner. The implementation of effective treatments of more severe or stubborn cases of rosacea is in the realm and specialty of dermatologists.