“It Gets Better With Age”


Since birth, this now–13-year-old boy has had redness on his face— the intensity of which has slowly increased with time. Various providers have offered a plethora of diagnoses, but no treatment attempts thus far have helped. The condition is asymptomatic but nonetheless distressing to the patient.

More history-taking reveals that, when he was about 6, crops of tiny papules developed on both triceps, his buttocks, and his upper back. These, too, have resisted treatment with OTC creams.

Neither of the boy’s two siblings have had any similar lesions, and no one in the family has any related health problems (eg, atopic diatheses).

The posterior 2/3 of both sides of the patient’s face are strikingly red. His nasolabial folds are spared, but the redness extends posteriorly to the immediate preauricular areas and vertically from the zygoma to the jawline. The erythema is highly blanchable with digital pressure and has a uniformly rough, papular feel. There is no tenderness or increased warmth on palpation.

“It Gets Better With Age”

The papules on the triceps, anterior thighs, and upper back are uniform in size (pinpoint, measuring ≤ 1 mm) and distribution, obviously originating from follicles. Unlike the face, these areas are not erythematous.

What’s the diagnosis?

Next Article: