What is rosacea?

Updated: Jun 03, 2021
  • Author: Agnieszka Kupiec Banasikowska, MD; Chief Editor: William D James, MD  more...
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Rosacea is a common condition characterized by symptoms of facial flushing and a spectrum of clinical signs, including erythema, telangiectasia, coarseness of skin, and an inflammatory papulopustular eruption resembling acne. [1, 2]

An expert committee assembled by the National Rosacea Society explicitly defined and classified rosacea into four different subtypes (erythematotelangiectatic type, papulopustular, phymatous, and ocular) based on specific clinical signs and symptoms. Although didactically successful, the subtype designations were widely used individually and construed as distinct disorders, ignoring the frequent simultaneous occurrence of more than one subtype and potential progression of one subtype to another. In 2016, the global rosacea consensus panel recommended a new classification: at least one diagnostic or two major phenotypes are required for the diagnosis of rosacea. [3] Currently, the therapeutics of rosacea empirically target the signs and symptoms of the disease because investigators do not understand the details of its pathophysiology. The classification systems aide clinicians in treatment by highlighting the preponderance of one or more of the clustering signs of presentation and, thus, help to specify which therapeutic approach to initiate.

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