About Rosacea - What Does That Mean? Medical Terms Explained

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About Rosacea

Why we put together this list of common terms used when describing rosacea

As fellow rosacea sufferers we all  have  experienced the  “what does that mean” moment when physicians or others have used “medical terminology  describing, diagnosing or writing about rosacea that has us thinking “what are they talking about?”.  Our goal is to help you more easily understand ‘what it means”  by providing you a list of the most commonly used medical terms translated into common language.

Glossary of common rosacea medical terms

  • Angiogenesis: Medical term meaning new blood vessel growth.
  • Blepharitis: Inflammation of the eyelids.
  • Chalazion: A cyst on the eyelid due to plugging of the meibomian glands, fat-secreting glands of the eyes.
  • Comedone: A plugged hair follicle. May be open (blackhead) or nearly closed (whitehead).
  • Edema: Swelling from abnormally large amounts of fluids in the tissues.
  • Erythema: Abnormal redness of the skin.
  • Flushing: Transient redness of the face and neck.
  • Granuloma: A tumor-like mass or nodule of tissue.
  • Nodule: A small node that is solid and can be detected by touch.
  • Papule: A small, dome-shaped, solid, usually inflamed elevation of the skin.
  • Telangiectasia: Blood vessels visible through the skin.
  • Triggers: Something  that activates a rosacea flair upCommon  rosacea triggers: certain foods, physical activity, stress, environmental conditions
  • Paranasal: Alongside the nose.
  • Plaque: Elevated red patch on the skin.
  • Pustule: A small elevation of the skin filled with a white substance.
  • Recalcitrant: Not responsive to treatment.
  • Rhinophyma: Enlargement of the nose with excess tissue, a common form of phymatous rosacea, subtype 3 rosacea.
  • Subtype: A common pattern or grouping of signs and symptoms.

Rosacea skin condition diagnosis terms

  • Erythematotelangiectatic rosacea: Subtype 1 rosacea, characterized by flushing and persistent redness. Visible blood vessels may also appear.
  • Granulomatous rosacea: Variant of rosacea, characterized by hard yellow, brown or red papules or nodules.
  • Papulopustular rosacea: Subtype 2 rosacea, characterized by facial redness with bumps or pimples.
  • Phymatous rosacea: Subtype 3 rosacea, characterized by thickening or growth of excess tissue, often around the nose.
  • Pityriasis rosacea: is not rosacea, pityriasis rosea   on pronouncing it sounds like rosacea but is actually a totally different skin condition. (a itchy rash, scaly or also called herald patch typically starts on back/torso/arms/legs)

    Your Doctor may describe your skin by subtype:

  • Subtype 1 rosacea: Erythematotelangiectatic rosacea, characterized by flushing and persistent redness. Visible blood vessels may also appear.
  • Subtype 2 rosacea: Papulopustular rosacea, characterized by facial redness with bumps or pimples.
  • Subtype 3 rosacea: Phymatous rosacea, characterized by thickening or growth of excess tissue, often around the nose.
  • Subtype 4 rosacea:Ocular rosacea, characterized by watery or bloodshot appearance, irritation, burning or stinging of the eyes.


Your Doctor may describe your skin by phenotype:

    • Papules and pustules primarily in the central facial area. These are different from comedones which typically are credited to an acne process rather than rosacea. Patients may also experience nodules
    • Flushing that is frequent and usually prolonged. Redness (erythema) from flushing may be less visually apparent in patients with darker skin tones, but these patients may report subjectively experiencing this symptom
    • Telangiectasia which are widened venules that redlines or patterns on the skin, often in clusters.
    • Ocular manifestations, especially lid margin telangiectasia, scleritis, sclerokeratitis, spade-shaped infiltrates in the cornea, or redness on the conjunctiva between the eyelids.

      Secondary phenotypes

    • Burning or stinging – skin sensations
    • Facial edema – this is swelling usually after a prolonged flushing episode
    • Dryness of central facial skin
    • Ocular manifestations – redness, burning, stinging, photosensitive, conjunctivitis and what appears to be “dandruff” type accumulation by lash line. (cylindrical collarette accumulation)

Research Terms:

  • Controlled study: An experiment or clinical trial that includes an untested comparison group, referred to as a “control group.”
  • Placebo: An oral or topical formulation without this active ingredient, used for comparison with the active medication in controlled clinical studies.
  • Cutaneous: Pertaining to the skin.
  • Double-blind: A research procedure in which neither the patient nor the investigator knows who is receiving the experimental substance or procedure and who is receiving a placebo. Done to avoid bias in the study.

Don’t see a “what does that mean” rosacea term on our list?

If  you have come across a term used to describe your rosacea that was not included on our list here please,  feel free to write in our comments section below and we will be glad to add it to the list.



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