Would "Rosacea" by any other name be any less of a drag?

Ah, my little chickadees. Here is classic cinema comic W. C. Fields. This actor's memorable large bulbous nose is an example of rhinophyma. Rhinophyma can occur in men after years of untreated adult acne, known as acne rosacea. While there is still no cure for rosacea, men and women with this condition may be treated with anti-inflammatory antibiotics, both topically and by mouth.

Cameron Diaz also shows inflamed cysts, in locations consistent with rosacea. Unlike other forms of adult acne, rosacea is primarily inflammatory, not helped by Retin-A or Accutane. It tends to be less hormonal, but is aggravated by the sun and certain foods. Flushing, or a diffuse reddening of the face, is also common. Also different from other pimply conditions, rosacea flares with sun exposure. So Diaz, who has discussed her condition in interviews, might find sun protection a simple way to reduce the redness.

Actress Imelda Staunton was nominated for an Academy award for her portrayal of British abortion provider "Vera Drake." Note the generalized flushed appearance, the multitude of inflamed bumps on the nose, cheeks, and brow. Unlike men, women with untreated rosacea are much less prone to a W.C. Fields-style bulbous nose. Despite this fact, Staunton may still consider of the many topical treatments that can provide help in controlling this chronic condition.

Versatile actress Renee Zellweger usually wears a thick coating of foundation makeup. Though her acting talent is always on full display, what does her makeup hide? Unadorned, her skin reveals flushed cheeks and pimples, another apparent case of acne rosacea.

Renee Zellweger returns as the ill-fated ingenue Bridget Jones.

 Yet what's with the red face?

Could this be the edge of rosacea?

Renee Zellweger returned to the UK in the sequel to "Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason." Still torn in her love for the two men in her life, Jones' constant clumsiness continues. In one unfortunate moment, she appears at a party with a face as red as a plum pudding. Though actually due to overapplication of blush, the appearance mimics Zellweger's tendency to facial flushing. An avalanche of topical treatments have received US FDA approval for this condition. Just as Jones must decide which man is right for her, dermatologists must select from the following creams (and their respective active ingredients): Metrogel, Metrocream, & Noritate (metronidazole), Cleocin & Clindamax (clindamycin), Azelex & Finacea (azelaic acid), Nicomide (nicotinic acid), Avar, Clenia, Klaron, Ovace, Plexion, Rosula, Rozac, & Rosenil (all forms of sulfa). Whew! It's no wonder that one cream, "Rosex," was pulled off the market, because of confusion over it's similar sounding name. We fear that Jones will stabilize her love life long before we get an easy & effective treatment for rosacea.

Perioral Dermatitis. Translated? Rash around the mouth.

Naughty Johnny Depp 

Depp's pimples 

Friendly Matt LeBlanc


Whether swashbuckling in the Caribbean or just trying to attain decent ratings as "Joey," there is a certain facial rash that may be hard to avoid. Both Hollywood heart throb Johnny Depp and "Friend"-in-need Matt LeBlanc show this common, waxing and waning condition. While some doctors feel this is a form of rosacea, perioral dermatitis tends to occur only around the mouth and is not worsened by sun exposure. Though the cause is not entirely clear, stress seems to play a role. Like LeBlanc's stress of getting paid lavish sums to act in a weekly sitcom. Or or Depp's difficult choice of which high profile movie role to accept. Or that, at any moment, some well-meaning but annoying website will post images of one's rashy face online. For both actors, there is hope. A short course of an anti-inflammatory antibiotic usually clears this up nicely. Until the next fat paycheck or movie contract, when the rash could recur. Sigh. Acting's a tough job, but someone's got to do it.


© 1996-2008 Vail Reese M.D.

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