How is Rosacea Diagnosed?

By  , Expert Content
Sep 21, 2011

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How is Rosacea Diagnosed

Rosacea can be difficult to diagnose as very few people have all of the symptoms of the disorder. Several cases with rosacea remain undiagnosed as many patients have transient facial redness which comes and goes very quickly. Therefore, they fail to associate their intermittent flushing as a symptom of a possible medical condition. Besides this, many other skin conditions can display symptoms similar to rosacea.

Some of the conditions which appear like rosacea include:

  • Acne vulgaris.
  • Staph infection of skin known as Impetigo.
  • Systemic lupus erythematosus.
  • Demodex folliculitis.
  • Reaction to certain medication reaction (for example, niacin).
  • Seborrhoeic dermatitis.
  • Perioral dermatitis.
  • Herpes simplex.
  • Allergic or contact dermatitis.
  • Eczema.
  • Seasonal allergies.

History and Physical Examination


Most patients do not need any specific tests for the diagnosis of rosacea. The doctor will diagnose the condition based on your history and physical examination findings.

  • The doctor will take a detailed history of your signs and symptoms and may ask questions such as, when did the symptoms start, what causes flushing or redness of your face, do you have any family member with similar problem and have you taken any treatment?
  • If you have family members with the condition, diagnosis becomes easier even though you may have only a few apparent symptoms. Dermatologists (specialist doctor for the diagnosis and management of skin diseases) usually help in the diagnosis of rosacea.


Skin Biopsy and other Skin Tests


In most people with rosacea, a doctor does not recommend any specific test. Rarely though, skin biopsy may be done to establish the diagnosis or a non-invasive test called skin scraping may be done. Skin scraping can help rule out a skin mite infestation by demodex, which causes symptoms similar to rosacea. A skin culture may be done to rule out infectious caused due to staph infections or herpes infections.

Blood Tests


Blood tests are rarely done. Your doctor may recommend blood tests to exclude some infrequent causes of facial blushing and flushing such as systemic lupus, other autoimmune conditions, and dermatomyositis.


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