Success can be measured in so many different ways. For Rita Schauf, a 66-year-old California retiree who has suffered from rosacea for 20 years, success is going a week or two without a flare-up.
Rita is well aware of and studiously avoids her personal triggers -- including spicy foods, hot weather and hot showers -- but even her best efforts are frequently thwarted by an unexpected flare-up.
"My husband and I are theatergoers, and it might be the perfume of the person sitting next to me," Rita said. "There is always something new that I don't anticipate that can cause a breakout."
When Rita was first diagnosed, there were no medications specifically for rosacea, but over the years her dermatologist prescribed a topical therapy and occasional use of an oral medication that work well for her individual case.
Nonetheless, when faced with new and unexpected triggers, Rita must improvise as best she can. At the theater, for example, she will ask her husband to swap seats with her if she feels her face beginning to flush.
Rita said she does her best to let others know about rosacea and its symptoms, calling herself "a walking educational system for rosacea." She urges other rosacea sufferers to be patient when they encounter comments about their appearance, and use it as an opportunity to educate others about this common disorder.
Managing her rosacea in the face of constantly emerging triggers certainly qualifies as a success, but perhaps Rita's most successful legacy will be her educational efforts on behalf of all rosacea sufferers.