Unless effectively controlled, rosacea can play havoc on job interactions and employment, according to a new survey by the National Rosacea Society (NRS) on the impact in the workplace of this widespread, red-faced disorder now estimated to affect more than 16 million Americans.
In the survey of 1,134 rosacea patients, 60 percent of all respondents and 88 percent of those reporting severe symptoms said the disorder had negatively affected their interactions with others in the workplace. Among those with severe symptoms, 51 percent said they had even missed work because of their condition.
"Because the signs and symptoms appear on the most visible part of the body, rosacea is much more difficult to ignore than many other conditions," said Dr. Boni Elewski, professor of dermatology at the University of Alabama-Birmingham. "Beyond any physical discomfort, such as facial burning and stinging or eye irritation, the effect of rosacea on personal appearance can be emotionally and socially debilitating."
In the new survey, 69 percent of all respondents and 87 percent of those with severe symptoms said they had noticed others staring at their face when they were experiencing a rosacea flare-up. Forty-five percent of all respondents, including 66 percent of those with severe symptoms, reported that they had heard rude or inappropriate comments in the workplace about their facial appearance.
Nineteen percent of all respondents and 39 percent of those with severe symptoms felt they did not receive a job offer because of their appearance. In addition, 19 percent of all respondents and 41 percent of those with severe symptoms believed they were denied a promotion or new responsibilities because of the way they looked.
"While there is no cure for rosacea, the good news is that medical therapy is available to bring it under control and maintain remission of its signs and symptoms," Dr. Elewski said. "Patients may also be able reduce the frequency and severity of their flare-ups with gentle skin care and by identifying and avoiding environmental and lifestyle factors that trigger flare-ups in their individual cases."
More than 64 percent of all respondents reported that effective treatment of their rosacea had improved their interactions with others in the workplace.