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Dermatology Online Journal

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Rosacea in skin of color: not a rare diagnosis


Background: The prevalence of rosacea in skin of color is not well characterized and may be underestimated. Physicians may not recognize and diagnose rosacea correctly in skin of color.Purpose: To assess the prevalence of rosacea in skin of color and determine if patients of color with rosacea symptoms are receiving a diagnosis of rosaceaMethods: We analyzed the National Ambulatory Medical Care Survey (NAMCS) for 1993-2010 for racial and ethnic distribution of patients with rosacea. Common reasons for visit in rosacea patients were tabulated and frequency of rosacea diagnosis was compared in patients of each race with the relevant reasons for visit.Results: Of all patients diagnosed with rosacea, 2.0% were black, 2.3% were Asian or Pacific Islander, and 3.9% were Hispanic or Latino of any race. Leading reasons for visit associated with rosacea included “other diseases of the skin”, skin rash, and discoloration or abnormal pigmentation. Rosacea was the primary diagnosis for 8.3% of whites and 2.2% of blacks complaining of “other diseases of the skin”, for 2.0% of whites and 0.6% of blacks complaining of skin rash, and for 3.0% of whites and 0.0% of blacks complaining of discoloration or abnormal pigmentation. The percentage of rosacea patients who were black or Asian/Pacific Islander did not change significantly over time.Limitations: No specific reason-for-visit code indicating rosacea exists in the NAMCS. Prevalence may be underestimated if some patients do not visit a physician for treatment.Conclusions: Patients of color rarely receive a diagnosis of rosacea, even when they have symptoms suggesting it. Rosacea has not become more commonly diagnosed in skin of color in recent years.

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