Roseacea (may look like SLE) 4/5 (5)

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Roseacea may look like Lupus. Illustration by Karl Udo on Wikimedia Commons, via Free Art License 1.3


Skin disease with symptoms that can be confused with outbreak of rheumatic connective tissue disorders, especially systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) or dermatomyositis (muscle and skin inflammation)

Disease Cause

Genetic and environmental. Among the unique twins, it is approx. 50% chance that both will get rosacea if one has the condition. Among environmental factors, deterioration is observed in sunbathing and some foods such as coffee, tea, red wine, citrus fruits and spices. However, it is highly individual what one responds to. Rosacea causes a non-bacterial inflammation of the skin (reference: Aldrich N, 2015).

Symptoms and differential diagnoses (similar conditions)

Typically, bothersome, varying strong redness is present in larger or smaller parts of the face (see illustration). The symptoms vary with the type of rosacea. The first symptoms are often perceived as annoying "redness".

  • Erythematous - teleangiectati-type (vascular rosacea)
    • Erythema, finely divided redness
    • Can mimic butterfly exanthem by systemic lupus, but is more varied
    • «Flushing" by emotional stress, alcohol, cold and heat
  • Papulo-pustular type
    • More persistent (1-4 days) redness similar to acne (acne)
    • Can remind of of skin changes as in Behcet's disease, but mostly in the face
  • Phymatous rosacea
  • Occular (eye) rosacea
    • Symptoms of eyes
      • Itching
      • Red eyes
      • Feeling of dryness
    • Symptoms may look like eye problems in Sjögren's disease


Correct handling is crucial because many react with deterioration on various skin creams, including cortisone agents for eczema. The treatment is to alleviate inflammation, either by direct treatment on the skin or by medication. The treatment should be controlled by a dermatologist.


Skin at SLE (

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