A recent survey of 2,052 rosacea sufferers conducted by the National Rosacea Society provides evidence that this chronic skin condition runs in families, and that people of some nationalities are more likely than others to develop the disorder.
Nearly 40 percent of the respondents indicated they had a family member who also suffered from rosacea. For 27 percent, that family member was a parent. Eighteen percent had a brother or sister suffering from rosacea, while 13 percent had a grandparent with the disease and 16 percent had an aunt or uncle who was affected.
For 11 percent of respondents, rosacea has already been diagnosed in a son or daughter -- even though the condition usually first strikes people in their 30s, 40s and 50s or older. Yet despite their predisposition to rosacea, more than 90 percent of respondents said medical therapy had reduced their symptoms.
More than 60 percent of survey respondents indicated they had fair skin. Thirty-five percent said their complexion was medium, and less than 2 percent reported dark complexions.
Beyond skin tone and family history, the survey found that national ancestry may also be an indicator of risk for rosacea.
Often called the "Curse of the Celts," rosacea was found especially prevalent among individuals of Irish descent. Thirty-three percent of the respondents had at least one parent of Irish ancestry, while only 15.6 percent of the U.S. population is of Irish heritage, according to U.S. Census figures.
Not far behind are the English. Twenty-six percent of respondents said they had a parent of English descent, whereas only 13 percent of the U.S. population is of English ancestry.
An exceptionally high rate of rosacea was reported in individuals of Scandinavian descent. Nearly 15 percent of respondents said their mothers were of Scandinavian ancestry and 12 percent said their fathers were of this heritage, while only 5 percent of the U.S. population is of Scandinavian background.
Other ethnic categories with elevated rates of rosacea in the survey included Scottish, Welsh, Polish, Lithuanian and Balkan nationalities. In contrast, people of German, French, Italian, Greek and Russian heritage were represented in the survey at rates similar to their percentages of the total U.S. population.
Slightly more than 2 percent of the survey respondents said they were Hispanic, which accounts for 8 percent of the national population, and few respondents were of African or Asian ancestry.