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Does rosacea spread beyond the facial region?


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  • Root Admin

Generally speaking, rosacea is confined to the facial area in what has been described as the Butterfly or T-Zone. Some cases have been reported to spread to the neck, ears and scalp but are uncommon. Why does rosacea not spread to other parts of the skin?  Some have theorized that since the facial skin is more sensitive and thinner, is more prone to sun damage due to exposure, the fact that blushing or flushing is associated with this condition, and having more active sebaceous glands (particularly the meibomian glands about the margins of the eyelids) makes this area more prone to rosacea. 

Rosacea Spread to Other Skin Areas?

"In most cases, rosacea only affects the face." What Is Rosacea? NIAMS

"The redness usually affects the cheeks, nose and chin, but may spread to other areas, such as the forehead, neck and chest." NHS

"...some persons experience symptoms on their necks, backs, scalp, arms, and legs." encyclopedia

WebMD reports, "In some cases, rosacea appears on the chest, back, or neck. It can affect the eyes, causing them to feel irritated and to appear bloodshot or watery." Your Skin and Rosacea, WebMD Patient is another source who reports that "However, other areas, such as your neck, chest and ears can sometimes become involved," but cites no authority or clinical paper showing that rosacea spreads to the chest. However, it is possible that these two sources are correct and it may spread to the chest, but again such cases are uncommon. 

Rosacea is rarely, if ever spread to the chest, back, arms or legs. WebMD fails to cite any actual cases of rosacea spreading to the chest or back, and begins the article that rosacea "mainly affects skin on the face."

"However, rosacea is believed to be unable to spread to the other body parts." Can rosacea spread to other parts of body? Wound Care Society

"If it is possible to get rosacea on your arms, it would be incredibly unusual. Keratosis pilaris might be the more likely culprit, since keratosis pilaris usually affects the arms. (Keratosis pilaris is a very common skin condition in which keratin protein forms hard plugs within hair follicles). Keratosis pilaris can get red, dry and irritated (usually from scratching it), it is commonly misdiagnosed as rosacea on the face....Another possibility is eczema that can crop up anywhere, and one of the common areas is top of the arms. Eczema also goes misdiagnosed quite commonly as rosacea." Does rosacea only affect the face? ZocDoc 

The NRS reports, "Although it is not a common feature of rosacea, symptoms have been reported to appear beyond the face. In a National Rosacea Society survey, rosacea patients reported experiencing symptoms on the neck, chest, scalp, ears and back." Can you get rosacea on other parts of your body? NRS FAQs However, these are anecdotal reports collected by the NRS, not clinical papers. Wikipedia parrots the NRS on this. 

This question still needs more research. Please post in this thread what you know about this.


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  • Root Admin

This article says acne can appear on the truncal area of the body. Whether rosacea could also involve the truncal area hasn't been investigated or confirmed, however the NHS article above says rosacea can appear on the chest, so that at least confirms the chest area. Is it a big stretch to say rosacea also appears on the truncal area?  Any comments? 

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