Types of Rosacea

As mentioned in my earlier blog post, there are millions who suffer from rosacea without even knowing it. The fact that there are four different sub-types of rosacea that can afflict sufferers helps to explain why there may be confusion regarding a “diagnosis” of certain skin problems and symptoms by those not familiar with them.

The first sub-type of rosacea is called erythematotelangiectatic rosacea…not nearly as hard to recognize as it is to pronounce! This sub-type is the most common and is what much of the population, in general, would think of when somebody mentions rosacea. It is routinely seen across the forehead, cheeks, and nose. Other symptoms of this sub-type are:

  • Telangiectasias (abnormal dilation of capillaries just below skin surface)
  • Flushing
  • Redness
  • Burning
  • Stinging
  • Swelling

Sub-type 2 of rosacea is called papulopustular rosacea, which pretty well describes the symptoms of this sub-type…papules (bumps), pustules (pimples), and red patches. It has been called the “classic” sub-type. Papulopustular rosacea very much resembles acne (without the blackheads) and is sometimes called acne rosacea. Again, those dealing with Sub-type 2 rosacea may experience stinging or burning.

When talking about phymatous rosacea, sub-type 3, the most recognizable symptom is the development of excess tissue in areas of the face, including the chin, ears, forehead, cheeks, and…most significantly…the nose (think W.C. Fields). In addition, thickening of the skin in these areas, as well as nodules, may also occur.

Ocular rosacea, the final sub-type, can be evidenced by the following:

  • Bloodshot and watery eyes
  • Dryness and itching
  • Burning
  • Blurred vision
  • Swollen eyes
  • Light sensitivity
  • Feeling of having object in the eye
  • telangiectasia (see definition above) of the conjunctiva (mucous membrane lining of the inner eyelid and part of eyeball) and lid margin.

Obviously, with any of the symptoms exhibited by these four sub-types, a physician should be consulted. There are numerous treatment options for rosacea (see last week’s blog post), and leaving it untreated could lead to worsening of the condition.

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