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Rosacea Awareness Series Part 2: Subtypes and Diagnosis

This month, Price Skin Care Clinic joins the National Rosacea Society’s annual awareness campaign, highlighting the chronic facial disorder known as ‘rosacea’ (prononed ‘rose-AY-sha).

More than 16 million Americans suffer from this skin condition, which can result in feelings of frustration and embarrassment, low self-esteem, work-related problems, anxiety and even depression.

“Fortunately, treatment provided by a trained physician can reduce the signs and symptoms of rosacea and enhance quality of life for those who suffer from it,” says Richard Price, M.D, of Price Skin Care Clinic of Ridgeland, MS.

In Part 2 of this three-part series, we cover the signs and symptoms of the four subtypes of rosacea as well as diagnostic procedures.

Rosacea Subtypes and Diagnosis
It’s important to know that not all rosacea presents the same. In fact, there are four different subtypes of this skin condition. That’s why it’s important to be examined by a trained doctor who can identify the correct subtype and prescribe the appropriate treatment.

The four subtypes are:

#1. Erythematotelangiectatic rosacea
Signs and symptoms:
• Flushing and redness in the center of the face
• Visible broken blood vessels (spider veins)
• Swollen skin
• Skin may be very sensitive
• Skin may sting and burn
• Dry skin, roughness or scaling
• A tendency to flush or blush more easily than other people

#2. Papulopustular rosacea
Most common in middle-aged women signs and symptoms include:
• Acne-like breakouts, usually where the skin is very red
• Acne-like breakouts tend to come and go
• Oily skin
• Skin may be very sensitive
• Skin may burn and sting
• Visible broken blood vessels (spider veins)
• Raised patches of skin called plaques

#3: Phymatous rosacea
Although this subtype is rare, the person who presents with these symptoms often has the symptoms of another subtype first.

Signs and symptoms include:
• Bumpy texture to the skin
• Skin begins to thicken, especially common on the nose. When the skin thickens on the nose, it is called rhinophyma (rye-NO-fie-ma)
• Skin may thicken on the chin, forehead, cheeks, and ears
• Visible broken blood vessels appear
• Pores look large
• Oily skin

#4. Ocular rosacea
When rosacea affect the eye, it is called ‘ocular rosacea’ and may call for the need to see an ophthalmologist in addition to a skin doctor.

Signs and symptoms include:
• Watery or bloodshot appearance
• Feel gritty, often feels like sand in the eyes
• Eyes burn or sting
• Eyes are very dry
• Eyes itch
• Eyes sensitive to light
• Blurry vision
• Visible broken blood vessels on an eyelid
• Cyst on the eyelid
• Person cannot see as well as before

The Diagnostic Procedure
Rosacea does not require expensive or lengthy diagnostic tests. If your skin doctor suspects that you have rosacea, he or she will examine your skin and eyes and ask you questions.

It’s important for your doctor to eliminate any other possible medical condition before diagnosing rosacea. If necessary, medical tests may be conducted to help rule out conditions such as lupus or an allergic skin reaction.

If your doctor determines that you do, indeed have rosacea, he or she can discuss treatment options with you. And while treatment won’t cure the condition, it can help:
• Reduce (or eliminate) signs of rosacea on your skin
• Ease your discomfort
• Prevent rosacea from worsening

In Summary
If you believe that you might be suffering from rosacea it’s important to see a skin doctor for diagnosis. Determining whether or not you have the condition, and if so, which of the four subtypes you have, will determine your treatment plan and help you learn to manage your rosacea.

In Part 3 of this series, we’ll cover treatment for rosacea and how to prevent flare-ups.

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