BARRINGTON, Illinois (July 11, 2018) — How many people in the world have rosacea? Researchers have attempted for the first time to determine the global prevalence of this widespread facial skin disorder, and the answer is estimated to be 415 million.
Dr. Jacob Thyssen and colleagues at the University of Copenhagen, Denmark, conducted a systematic review of population-based studies that included information on the incidence and prevalence of rosacea.1 Data was collected from 32 studies around the world, comprising 26.5 million patients. The proportion with rosacea in the individual studies ranged from 0.09 percent to 22.41 percent, and when the studies were pooled together, the proportion was 5.46 percent, which translates to 414,960,000 rosacea sufferers worldwide.
However, depending on how the researchers obtained the data, the proportion of rosacea sufferers varied significantly. The prevalence of rosacea was highest when self-reported, with a rate of 9.71 percent (737,960,000), while the rate of dermatologist-diagnosed rosacea was 5.53 percent (420,280,000).
“Many factors may contribute to the difference in estimates,” Dr. Thyssen said. “While many more people may self-diagnose rosacea than are actually suffering from the condition, correct diagnosis by a physician may depend on the physician’s experience as well as the patient’s appearance at the time of the exam.”
Dr. Thyssen and colleagues said further research will be needed to more precisely determine the number of rosacea sufferers worldwide. Although no epidemiological studies have been published in the United States, the National Rosacea Society has estimated the number of Americans with rosacea to be more than 16 million, based on a 5 percent prevalence rate determined by analysis of worldwide studies and the ethnic composition of the population nationwide.
“Despite being a relatively common skin condition, only around 18 percent of Americans with rosacea are believed to be currently under medical treatment for their condition,” said Dr. John Wolf, chairman of dermatology at Baylor College of Medicine.2 “Many of those with milder rosacea may not even realize they have a disease that can be treated, instead using over-the-counter skin care products or covering their redness with makeup. However, there are now more medical therapies available for rosacea’s signs and symptoms than ever before, even for mild cases.”
Rosacea is a chronic disorder of the facial skin that is often characterized by flare-ups and remissions. It typically begins at any time after age 30 as a flushing or redness on the cheeks, nose, chin or forehead that may come and go. Over time, the redness tends to become ruddier and more persistent, and small blood vessels may appear. Without treatment, bumps and pimples often develop, and in severe cases the nose may become swollen from excess tissue. In around half of patients, the eyes are also affected, feeling irritated and appearing watery or bloodshot.
Anyone who suspects they may have rosacea should see a dermatologist for diagnosis and appropriate therapy.
About the National Rosacea Society
The National Rosacea Society is the world’s largest organization dedicated to improving the lives of the estimated 16 million Americans who suffer from this widespread but poorly understood disorder. Its mission is to raise awareness of rosacea, provide public health information on the disorder and support medical research that may lead to improvements in its management, prevention and potential cure.
Comprehensive information and materials on rosacea are available on the NRS website at www.rosacea.org. The NRS may also be followed on Facebook, Twitter or Pinterest for up-to-date information and tips on rosacea. Further information may be obtained by writing the National Rosacea Society, 196 James Street, Barrington, Illinois 60010; via email at email@example.com; or by calling its toll-free number at 1-888-NO-BLUSH.
1. Gether L, Overgaard LK, Egeberg A, Thyssen JP. Incidence and prevalence of rosacea: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Br J Dermatol 2018 Feb 25. doi: 10.1111/bjd.16481. [Epub ahead of print]
2. Wehausen B, Hill DE, Feldman SR. Most people with psoriasis or rosacea are not being treated: a large population study. Dermatol Online J 2016 Jul 15;22(7). https://escholarship.org/uc/item/4nc3p4q2