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Rosacea is a disorder of the follicles and surrounding skin that usually occurs on the forehead, nose, and chin. It involves reddening, acnelike lesions, and broken blood vessels. Rosacea improves and worsens in unpredictable cycles. The exact cause is unknown.
Although rosacea can appear at any age, it is most prevalent between 30 and 60 years old. It occurs about equally in men and women, although severe cases are more common in men. Rosacea seems to have a genetic component. Individuals whose family members have rosacea have a higher incidence of the disorder.
Emotional and physical stress, windy conditions, heat, and sun exposure can exacerbate rosacea. Dietary triggers include dairy products, certain spices, hot liquids, and alcohol.
Some people with stomach ulcers are prone to develop rosacea. The cause of a high percentage of stomach ulcers is infection with the bacterium Heliobacter pylori (H. pylori). While studies are still inconclusive, eradication of H. pylori in ulcer patients can lead to improvement in rosacea. There is increasing evidence that this bacterium causes a variety of systemic disorders. However, rosacea appears without H. pylori and vice versa.
Doctors usually diagnose rosacea by observing the appearance of the skin. Not all redness, flushing, and blushing is caused by rosacea. However, redness that takes a long time to clear up, or never clears up, often indicates rosacea.
Acne pustules sometimes develop with this condition; however, blackheads are not a hallmark. Bacterial infections can contribute to inflammation.