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Rosacea for the Esthetician: A Comprehensive Guide, Part I

Cynthia Bailey, MD July 2013 issue of Skin Inc. magazine
Rosacea

Image courtesy of Cynthia Bailey, MD.

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Rosacea is common, and it’s also complicated to manage. Many more than 16 million Americans have rosacea—and most don’t know it, according to the National Rosacea Society. Identifying classic rosacea is easy, but identifying the more subtle forms is not; yet these will be some of your trickiest and most sensitive skin clients. Give them the wrong treatment or advice, and you can exacerbate their rosacea, potentially causing hyperpigmentation, scarring and a very unhappy client. Give them the right advice, and you have a loyal client and big fan who will help build your business.

As a skin care professional, you need to be familiar with all the types of rosacea. This article will help you better understand rosacea and will teach you how to identify some of the more subtle signs. Guidelines for choosing the right treatments will be provided, as well as tips to help you identify when your client needs to see a dermatologist for prescription treatments.

What is rosacea?

Rosacea is a rash of adulthood. Any adult is at risk, but rosacea is most commonly seen in light-skinned women between the ages of 30–50. It is characterized by persistent redness of the rounded areas of the face, including the cheeks, nose, chin and mid-forehead. It often spares the skin around the eyes. (See Facial Distribution of Rosacea.)

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Facial Distribution of Rosacea

Facial distribution of rosacea

Types of Rosacea

Important Points About All Types of Rosacea

Sebaceous hyperplasia papules
  • Sebaceous hyperplasia papules—small waxy yellow bumps with a central pore—are seen in all types of rosacea and often misidentified as milia.
  • Rosacea occurs in all skin colors, but mostly in fair-skinned people.
  • Rosacea can involve nonfacial skin, such as the neck and chest.
  • Many people with rosacea, especially the erythematotelangiectatic type of rosacea, also have facial seborrheic dermatitis/dandruff.
  • The types of rosacea often overlap, and it’s possible to have more than one type.

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