Which physical findings are characteristic of rosacea?

Updated: Aug 14, 2018
  • Author: Agnieszka Kupiec Banasikowska, MD; Chief Editor: William D James, MD  more...
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Answer

The disease consists of a spectrum of symptoms and signs, with most patients failing to develop every stage of disease. Variable erythema and telangiectasia are seen over the cheeks and the forehead. Inflammatory papules and pustules may be predominantly observed over the nose, the forehead, and the cheeks. Extrafacial involvement uncommonly occurs over the neck and the upper part of the chest. Prominence of sebaceous glands may be noted, with the development of thickened and disfigured noses (rhinophyma) in extreme cases. Unlike acne, patients generally do not report greasiness of the skin; instead, they may experience drying and peeling. The absence of comedones is another helpful distinguishing feature. Ocular lymphedema may be prominent but is uncommon. The condition generally does not produce scarring.

Rhinophyma may occur as an isolated entity, without other symptoms or signs of rosacea. Rhinophyma can be disfiguring and therefore distressing for patients. Some authorities consider rhinophyma to represent a different disease process, although phymatous rosacea is considered one of the four subtypes of rosacea. [16]

Lymphedema may be marked periorbitally, and, on occasion, it is the presenting symptom.


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