Rosacea (roz-ay-sha) is a very common red, acne-like benign skin condition that affects many people worldwide. As of 2010, rosacea is estimated to affect at least 16 million people in the U.S. alone and approximately 45 million worldwide. Most people with rosacea are Caucasian and have fair skin. The main symptoms of rosacea include red or pink patches, visible tiny broken blood vessels, small red bumps, red cysts, and pink or irritated eyes. Most people with the disease may not even know they have rosacea or that it is a diagnosable and treatable condition. Many people who have rosacea may just assume they blush or flush easily or are just very sun sensitive.
Rosacea is considered a chronic (long-term), non-curable skin condition with periodic ups and downs. As opposed to traditional or teenage acne, most adult patients do not "outgrow" rosacea. Rosacea characteristically involves the central region of the face, causing persistent redness or transient flushing over the areas of the face and nose that normally blush -- mainly the forehead, the chin, and the lower half of the nose. It is most commonly seen in people with light skin and particularly in those of English, Irish, and Scottish backgrounds. Some famous people with rosacea include the former U.S. President Bill Clinton and W.C. Fields.
Rosacea is not considered contagious or infectious. There is no evidence that rosacea can be spread by contact with the skin, sharing towels, or through inhalation.
The redness in rosacea, often aggravated by flushing, may cause small blood vessels in the face to enlarge (dilate) and become more visible through the skin, appearing like tiny red lines (called telangiectasias). Continual or repeated episodes of flushing and blushing may promote inflammation, causing small red bumps that often resemble teenage acne. In fact, rosacea can frequently be mistaken for common acne. Rosacea is also referred to as acne rosacea.
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