Even though more than 16 million Americans are now affected by rosacea, many people are still unaware of the disease — and those who suffer from the disorder may often hear the same comments. Here are some suggestions for turning these occasions into opportunities to spread awareness and understanding.
1. “So it’s just blushing, right?”
How should you respond? “No, blushing or flushing is just one symptom of rosacea. Without care, there are many more potential signs and symptoms of rosacea, including persistent redness, pimples, bumps, visible blood vessels, stinging, eye irritation, swelling and skin thickening.”
2. “Have you tried drinking less?”
How should you respond? “It’s actually a myth that rosacea itself is caused by heavy drinking. While alcohol can aggravate the disorder, the signs and symptoms can be just as severe in a teetotaler.”
3. “Can’t you just cover it up with makeup?”
How should you respond? “While makeup can help conceal some of the visible symptoms of rosacea, medical therapy is needed to control the underlying medical condition.”
4. “Have you tried making lifestyle changes related to diet, exercise or sleep?”
How should you respond? “Yes, I pay close attention to identify and avoid whatever seems to trigger my rosacea flare-ups because every case is individual. Some people are affected by red wine, for example, while others might be more affected by stress, or temperature.”
5. “Have you tried washing more often or moisturizing more?”
How should you respond? “Yes, moisturizing can be a big part of a rosacea patient’s skincare routine. However, rosacea isn’t related to hygiene, and I have to be careful about which cleansing products I use or I might risk irritating my face.”
6. “Did you know my friend, cousin, or uncle has rosacea too!”
How should you respond? “Have they sought a medical diagnosis and proper treatment yet? If not, encourage them to see a dermatologist. Only a fraction of the estimated 16 million Americans who have rosacea are receiving medical help for the disorder, and without treatment the signs and symptoms tend to grow increasingly severe.”
Photo courtesy of Giampaolo Squarcina.