New Survey Shows Rosacea Tends To Evolve Beyond One Subtype

BARRINGTON, Illinois (April 21, 2005) -- Although rosacea has been classified into four common patterns of signs and symptoms known as subtypes, a new survey by the National Rosacea Society suggests that most of America's estimated 14 million rosacea sufferers experience a progression in their condition beyond one subtype.

"These survey results underscore the importance of public awareness of this complex disorder and the need for early diagnosis and treatment before it gets worse," said Dr. John Wolf, chairman of dermatology at Baylor College of Medicine. Common warning signs of rosacea include facial redness, bumps and pimples, or eye irritation.

In the survey of 1,233 rosacea patients, 72 percent reported that their rosacea had evolved from one subtype to another, and 77 percent said they had experienced more than one subtype at the same time.

Eighty-three percent of respondents reported experiencing subtype 1 (erythematotelangiectatic) rosacea, characterized by facial redness and in some cases visible blood vessels. Sixty-two percent reported having subtype 2 (papulopustular) rosacea, which includes redness with bumps (papules) and pimples (pustules). Subtype 3 (phymatous) rosacea, characterized by skin thickening -- most commonly on the nose -- was reported by 15 percent, and 50 percent experienced subtype 4 (ocular) rosacea, in which the eyes are irritated.

"Although there are many exceptions, the survey documents a general tendency for rosacea to progress from subtype 1 to 2 and in some cases to subtype 3," Dr. Wolf said. "On the other hand, the eye irritation of subtype 4 may develop at any time, even before rosacea affects the skin."

Of those whose rosacea evolved from one subtype to another, 80 percent said they initially experienced subtype 1, and 56 percent said they experienced subtype 2 second. Subtype 3 was experienced third by 10 percent. Subtype 4, ocular rosacea, was experienced fourth by 6 percent, third by 26 percent, second by 27 percent and first by 7 percent.

"While rosacea may or may not evolve from one subtype to another in any given patient, each individual sign or symptom may progress from mild to moderate to severe," Dr. Wolf added. "Early diagnosis and treatment are therefore recommended."

The overwhelming majority (88 percent) of all patients surveyed reported that their condition had improved or somewhat improved with medical therapy. Of those with subtype 1 only, 49 percent said medical help had improved their condition and 37 percent said it had improved their rosacea somewhat. Of those with subtype 2 only, 56 percent said their rosacea had improved and another 29 percent said it had improved somewhat.

Fifty-four percent of those with subtype 3 alone said medical help had improved their condition and 46 percent said therapy had improved it somewhat. Of those with subtype 4 only, 22 percent said medical therapy had improved their condition and 44 percent said it had helped somewhat.

"The management of rosacea should continue to improve as we learn more about the underlying factors behind the disorder, including its frequent progression from one subtype to another," Dr. Wolf said. "Such knowledge may also lead to important advances in the development of new therapies themselves."

Rosacea is a chronic facial disorder that typically begins at any time after age 30, and is more frequently diagnosed in women than men. Individuals who suspect they may have rosacea are urged to see a dermatologist for diagnosis and appropriate therapy.

For information and educational materials on rosacea, write the National Rosacea Society, 800 S. Northwest Highway, Suite 200, Barrington, Illinois 60010, or call its toll-free number at 1-888-NO-BLUSH. Information and materials are also available on the society's Web site at, or via e-mail at


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Publication Date: 
Thursday, April 21, 2005

Press contacts:
Mary Erhard, Emma Terhaar

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The National Rosacea Society is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization whose mission is to improve the lives of people with rosacea by raising awareness, providing public health information and supporting medical research on this widespread but little-known disorder. The information the Society provides should not be considered medical advice, nor is it intended to replace

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