Survey Shows Facial Redness Takes Emotional Toll

Posted on: By: nrs-admin

The emotional impact of rosacea is often substantial regardless of subtype or severity, according to results of a new National Rosacea Society patient survey.

Among survey respondents who suffer from the facial redness of subtype 1 (erythematotelangiectatic) rosacea alone, the most common sign of rosacea, 82 percent said the condition had a negative impact on their general outlook on life, and that figure rose to 90 percent for those who considered their symptoms moderate to severe. For those who reported having the bumps and pimples of subtype 2 (papulopustular) rosacea alone, 90 percent reported their condition had a negative impact on their outlook and for those with moderate to severe symptoms it was 91 percent.

"Even the most common signs of rosacea can lead to negative emotions such as embarrassment and anxiety," said Dr. Richard Fried, a dermatologist and psychologist in Yardley, Pa. "Fortunately today, medical therapy is available for the first time to treat the redness as well as the inflammation associated with rosacea, which should go a long way toward easing the emotional impact of the disorder for a far greater number of people."

While few survey respondents had the skin thickening of subtype 3 (rhinophyma) or the eye irritation of subtype 4 (ocular) rosacea alone, 88 percent of those with subtype 3 and 86 percent of those who had subtype 4 in addition to other subtypes reported that rosacea had a negative impact on their outlook on life.

Of the 1,675 patients surveyed, 90 percent said that rosacea's effect on their personal appearance had lowered their self-esteem and self-confidence, and 88 percent said they had suffered embarrassment.  They also reported a wide range of other negative feelings, including frustration, cited by 76 percent; anxiety and helplessness, each noted by 54 percent; depression, 43 percent; anger, 34 percent; and isolation, 32 percent. Fifty-two percent of the respondents said they had avoided face-to-face contact because of the disorder.

Overall, rosacea's emotional impact on patients appears to increase as symptoms progress.  While 68 percent of those who classified their rosacea as mild reported a negative impact on their general outlook on life, the adverse impact rose to 87 percent for those with moderate symptoms and 95 percent of those with severe symptoms.

“It’s understandable that the more prominent signs of rosacea would lead to greater emotional distress,” Dr. Fried said.  “Patients should be frank with their doctor about any negative feelings they are experiencing so that he or she can tailor the most appropriate course of therapy for their personal needs.”

The good news is that 68 percent of the survey respondents said effective medical therapy had improved their emotional well-being, and this is now expected to further improve with the availability of treatment for facial redness. 

To participate in the NRS's current survey, "Rosacea and Health Insurance," click here.