While most people are not intentionally cruel, sometimes they say things without thinking. A joke about an alcoholic’s red, bulbous nose, for instance, can be particularly painful to someone who suffers from rhinophyma (thickening of skin around the nose). Here are some suggestions for dealing with such situations.
• Be proactive. When meeting someone new, look for an opportunity to bring up your rosacea if you are experiencing a flare-up and your symptoms are obvious. If you take the initiative to inform others about the disorder, it may keep them from speculating about the cause of your red face or bumps and pimples.
• Try not to react. Whether you overhear a hurtful comment or find yourself the object of a lingering stare, try not to take it personally. Many people are unaware of rosacea, and their actions and words simply reflect that lack of knowledge.
• Describe the disorder. If the opportunity arises, explain how the signs of rosacea may come and go. Reassure others that rosacea is not contagious and that you may control the condition with medication and by avoiding personal rosacea triggers.
• Set the record straight. Mistakenly, some people associate the acne-like signs of rosacea with poor hygiene, while others attribute red faces and noses to heavy drinking. Point out that both are untrue in the case of rosacea.