Although rosacea patients often have to cope with other skin disorders in addition to their rosacea, treatment for other conditions may tend to reduce rosacea flare-ups, according to a new survey by the National Rosacea Society.
Fifty-five percent of the 1,141 survey respondents reported that they had ever experienced another skin disorder. Among those who reported another disorder, 32 percent cited atopic dermatitis (also called eczema), known for its itchy, dry and scaly patches that often appear on the scalp, forehead or face. Thirty-one percent were affected by seborrheic dermatitis (a condition characterized by a red, scaly rash, most commonly in the central face). Twenty-nine percent said they had experienced acne, and twenty-eight percent had been diagnosed with skin cancer.
Sixteen percent had been diagnosed with psoriasis (red scaly patches), followed by actinic keratosis (rough spots from sun damage), noted by 14 percent. Less common conditions included folliculitis (inflammation of the hair follicles), 5 percent, and perioral dermatitis (a rash around the mouth), 3 percent.
"Since studies have not been conducted, the results of this survey should not necessarily be taken to imply a cause-and-effect relationship between other skin conditions and rosacea," said Dr. Jonathan Wilkin, former director of dermatological and dental drug products at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. "In many cases, it may be that the underlying skin type plays a role. The pale skin that tends to be typical in rosacea patients may also be especially affected by sun exposure and prone to skin cancer, for example."
He noted that, while the incidence of skin cancer and seborrheic dermatitis is relatively high among rosacea patients answering the survey, the number who had ever experienced acne – if adolescence is included – may be similar to that of the general population.
Forty-two percent of those who suffer from another skin condition reported that their rosacea flares up when the other skin disorder is present, although the good news is that treatment for the other condition does not aggravate rosacea’s signs and symptoms in most cases. Only 23 percent of the survey respondents reported an increase in rosacea flare-ups as a result of treatment for a different skin disorder.
Seventy-seven percent of those answering the survey reported that their other skin condition is under control, while 67 percent said the same about their rosacea.