How Your Rosacea Is Diagnosed

Before you can manage your rosacea, you need to be sure you actually have rosacea.

To confirm that your symptoms are rosacea and not something else, you'll need to obtain a diagnosis from a dermatology healthcare professional. Below is a review of the steps involved in getting your diagnosis.

STEP 1: Find the right dermatology healthcare professional.
STEP 2: Take notes.
STEP 3: Prepare for your appointment.
STEP 4: Your first appointment: What to expect.
STEP 5: Follow up after your first appointment.
STEP 1: Find the right dermatology healthcare professional.

The person best qualified to provide a diagnosis is a dermatology healthcare professional trained in skin diseases (including rosacea).

Talk to your primary dermatology healthcare professional about finding a dermatologist or specialist. Depending on your insurer, you may or may not need a referral from your primary dermatology healthcare professional. Check with your HMO to confirm the policy before you make any appointments. Ensure that you have followed proper procedure and that you're covered to see the specialist you've chosen (or the one recommended by your primary dermatology healthcare professional).

The American Academy of Dermatology offers a useful tool that allows you to locate a dermatology healthcare professional in your area. Find a dermatology healthcare professional.

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STEP 2: Take notes.

Before your appointment, take some time to sit down and take some notes to bring with you to your appointment. These will help you answer the questions your dermatology healthcare professional may ask.

  • List all the symptoms related to your skin condition.
  • If you can, note how long you've been experiencing these symptoms. (If you aren't sure, try to recall events that occurred at the time your symptoms started. This might help jog your memory.)
  • If you have noticed your symptoms have changed over time (gotten better or worse), make note of that as well.
  • Write down anything you may have noticed that seems to provoke your symptoms. These could be "triggers," factors in your environment that cause rosacea to flare up.
  • Finally, record any questions you may have, whether they are about your condition, different treatment options or non-medical approaches to management.
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STEP 3: Prepare for your appointment.

Make sure you have your notes with you. Bring along a pad and paper to take notes during the appointment. Your dermatology healthcare professional may give you a lot of advice and information. Taking notes is a good way to ensure you don't miss anything.

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STEP 4: Your first appointment: What to expect.

There is no diagnostic test for rosacea. Dermatology healthcare professionals reach a diagnosis by asking questions, giving a physical examination, and taking a medical history.

During your first appointment, you can expect to answer a lot of questions your dermatology healthcare professional will ask about your health, your medical history, your symptoms and other topics. You may have questions of your own. Ask away, but try to follow your dermatology healthcare professional's lead. Some dermatology healthcare professionals don't mind the give-and-take of questions throughout the appointment, while others may prefer you ask your questions once the examination and history are finished.

The signs and symptoms of rosacea may appear similar to those of other conditions - for example, to an untrained professional, rosacea can look a lot like acne. However, acne is a completely different condition requiring different treatment. While there is no specific diagnostic test for rosacea, sometimes other tests are performed to rule out other diseases (such as eczema, psoriasis, etc.) that produce symptoms similar to rosacea.

At the end of the appointment, your dermatology healthcare professional may provide a diagnosis or tell you that additional tests are required before a diagnosis can be made. If further steps are required, your dermatology healthcare professional will tell you what those next steps will be.

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STEP 5: Follow up after your appointment.

If you are diagnosed with rosacea, your dermatology healthcare professional may write you a prescription for a medical treatment, and provide some advice on lifestyle measures you can take. You will likely return for a series of follow-up appointments to ensure that your treatment is working. Your treatment may require adjustment (a different dose, for example) or may need to be changed if it is not working.

Since rosacea is a chronic (ongoing) condition, you may continue to see your dermatology healthcare professional for many years. Although there is no cure for rosacea, medical therapy and lifestyle measures can usually keep symptoms under control for many forms of rosacea.

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Finacea® (azelaic acid) Gel, 15% is indicated for topical treatment of inflammatory papules and pustules of mild to moderate rosacea.

Although some reduction of erythema which was present in patients with papules and pustules of rosacea occurred in clinical studies, efficacy for treatment of erythema in rosacea in the absence of papules and pustules has not been evaluated.

There have been isolated reports of hypopigmentation after use of azelaic acid. Since azelaic acid has not been well studied in patients with dark complexion, these patients should be monitored for early signs of hypopigmentation. Finacea® and its vehicle caused irritant reactions at the application site in human dermal safety studies. Skin irritation (e.g. pruritus, burning or stinging) may occur during use with Finacea®, usually during the first few weeks of treatment. If sensitivity or severe irritation develops and/or persists during use with Finacea®, discontinue use and institute appropriate therapy.

In clinical trials with Finacea®, the most common local adverse events (AE's) were: burning/stinging/tingling (29%), pruritus (11%), scaling/dry skin/xerosis (8%) and erythema/irritation (4%). Contact dermatitis, edema and acne were observed at frequencies of 1% or less. Rarely reported AE's included: worsening of asthma, vitiligo depigmentation, small depigmented spots, hypertrichosis, reddening (signs of keratosis pilaris) and exacerbation of recurrent herpes labialis. Post-marketing safety information: Skin (facial burning and irritation); Eyes (iridocyclitis on accidental exposure with Finacea® to the eye). To report SUSPECTED ADVERSE REACTIONS, contact Bayer HealthCare at 1-866-463-3634 or FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088 or

Finacea® is for topical use only. It is not for ophthalmic, oral or intravaginal use. In case of accidental eye exposure, wash eyes with large amounts of water and consult a physician if eye irritation persists. Wash hands following application of Finacea®.

See Full Prescribing Information for Finacea® at

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