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The face is the area of the body most exposed to sunlight and therefore at highest risk for ultraviolet (UV) light-induced dermatoses (photodermatoses), photoaging, and skin cancers. The face also has the highest density of sebaceous glands, predisposing this area to conditions such as acne, rosacea, and seborrheic dermatitis. Inflammation around the hair follicles may lead to skin diseases such as folliculitis and pseudofolliculitis barbae. In addition, skin diseases involving mucous membranes will typically affect the eyes, nose, and mouth. Since the face is so critical to nonverbal communication and social interactions, skin diseases involving this area can cause a significant degree of emotional distress.


Skin diseases involving the face can be broadly categorized into pilosebaceous conditions, inflammatory dermatoses, infectious diseases, connective tissue diseases, UV-induced photodermatoses, and pigment disorders (see Table 31-1). Widespread actinic keratoses on the face are also included because they are sometimes misdiagnosed as a "rash."

Table 31-1.Differential diagnosis for diseases of the face.

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