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  • Q&A with Australian Health Practitioners

    How is rosacea diagnosed?

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    Dr Richard Beatty

    GP (General Practitioner)

    Brisbane GP With Special interest in Complex Medical, Men's health, antenatal, paediatrics. Skin Cancer Clinic Designated Aviation Medical Examiner Specific interests in Vasectomy, Dermatology & … View Profile

    How is Rosacea Diagnosed?

    The condition occurs usually over the age of 30. There are different types of rosacea but they all cause redness of the face.

    (1) Spots on the forehead, cheeks, nose and around the eyes. These spots are red and look inflamed like acne spots (red spots or red spots with pus in called pustules). The difference is that blackheads and whiteheads (comedones) are not found in rosacea which can occur together or on their own.

    (2) Redness of the skin. The redness can be diffuse or you may see specific tiny red blood vessels in the skin (capillaries). The diffuse redness looks like flushing. Indeed, people who get intermittently flushed facial skin easily at a younger age (ie. going flushed) are more likely to develop rosacea.

    (3) The nose can be involved on its own. Sometimes, the changes on the nose involve a deep inflammation and thickening of the skin called a rhinophyma which is commoner in men. The skin is often swollen.

    Some people find that the skin is worse with specific triggers (eg. spicy food, red wine) and sunlight definitely makes it worse (it can be tempting to try to get a tan to make the redness less visible but this only makes the rosacea worse).

    Another clue to a diagnosis of rosacea are dry eyes or dryness of the eyelid (people with more severe rosacea can affect other parts of the eye as well such as the conjunctiva, and rarely cornea).

    Occasionally, tests such as blood tests, or a skin biopsy is required to exclude other skin conditions.

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