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Rosacea in People of Asian, African and Hispanic Heritage

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While rosacea is most commonly diagnosed in fair-skinned individuals, it is often missed in individuals with darker skin.  This is true for all skin types including individuals of African-American, Asian and Hispanic Heritage.  This oversight occurs because the symptom of facial redness is less apparent in darker skin.1 In particular, for people of African descent the persistent redness commonly seen in fair-skinned rosacea sufferers will often have a more violet tone.

These patients most commonly present with burning, stinging, increased oiliness, inflammation and bumps or pimples on their face.  In these patients a careful personal and family history along with an assessment of fluctuating symptoms in response to common rosacea triggers is essential.1

Rosacea has been documented in Asian populations.  Researchers in Korea found that rosacea was “not uncommon” and was diagnosed in about 1% of patients that visited the clinic of Drs. B. J. Kim, J. M. Park, J. N. Park and W. S. Koh at Inje University College of Medicine, in Seoul, South Korea.  There, the incidence of flushing and redness was high, while bumps, pimples and rhinophyma (enlarged nose) were less common when compared to a similar study from England.3 

While the damage to self-esteem is the same for all sufferers, the need for an early diagnosis and effective treatment is especially important in darker skin because of the risk of hyperpigmentation (darkening of skin color).2 As with patients of all skin types, rosacea may progress to rhinophyma, a condition where the nose becomes enlarged and bumpy with excess tissue.2

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  1. "Rosacea Affects Skin of Color." Rosacea Review. The National Rosacea Society, Winter 2002. Web. 25 May 2015.
  2. "Rosacea Found in African Americans." Rosacea Review. The National Rosacea Society, Winter 1997. Web. 25 May 2015.
  3. "Rosacea Found 'Not Uncommon' in South Korea." Rosacea Review. The National Rosacea Society, Spring 1996. Web. 25 May 2015.