While the effects of rosacea on facial appearance are widely known, the majority of patients also experience physical discomfort, according to a recent survey by the National Rosacea Society.
In the survey of 605 rosacea patients, 93 percent said they experienced at least some physical discomfort due to their rosacea. Among those who experienced discomfort, the most common complaints were burning (72 percent), itching (61 percent), stinging (52 percent) and swelling (41 percent).
Forty percent reported tenderness, while 36 percent said they experienced tightness in their skin. Thirty-one percent had experienced tingling, and 24 percent felt a prickling sensation.
Physical discomfort was experienced most often in the facial regions where rosacea is most commonly found: the cheeks (80 percent), nose (53 percent), eyes (48 percent), chin (40 percent) and forehead (36 percent). Interestingly, a number of rosacea patients reported discomfort in areas beyond the central face, including the ears (18 percent), scalp (20 percent), neck (16 percent) and behind the ears (11 percent).
Seventy-two percent of those surveyed said the discomfort occurred at the same time as the physical signs of rosacea, and an additional 21 percent said there was some correlation. Fortunately, 84 percent reported that medical therapy helped relieve the discomfort associated with their condition.
"The physical pain experienced by many rosacea patients is often underappreciated by others," said Dr. John Wolf, chairman of dermatology at Baylor College of Medicine. "Rosacea patients need to take special care to avoid substances that irritate their skin, along with other triggers that might cause irritation and lead to a flare-up."