Increased medical understanding has led to significant advances in the control of rosacea, allowing many of those who suffer from this chronic red-faced disorder to live free of its conspicuous and embarrassing symptoms for the first time. April has been designated Rosacea Awareness Month by the National Rosacea Society (NRS) to educate the public on this potentially serious condition estimated to affect more than 16 million Americans, and to urge those with the warning signs to see a dermatologist for diagnosis and appropriate therapy.
“Although the occurrence of rosacea has been well documented over the centuries, virtually everything we now understand about the disorder in medical science has been discovered in the last 20 years,” said Dr. Julie Harper, clinical associate professor of dermatology at the University of Alabama-Birmingham. “As a result of these advances, dermatologists are now able to identify and prescribe specific therapies for the various signs and symptoms based on a thorough understanding of the underlying disease process.”
In an NRS survey of 1,675 rosacea patients, 90 percent said the disorder had lowered their self-esteem and self-confidence, and 52 percent said they had avoided face-to-face contact because of the disorder. In another survey, 51 percent of those with severe symptoms said they had even missed work because of their condition.
“Because of its effect on personal appearance, studies have demonstrated just how profoundly rosacea can damage the quality of people’s lives, as well as the positive impact of successful treatment,” Dr. Harper said. “Thanks to new approaches and important advances in medical therapy, it is increasingly possible to achieve clear or almost clear skin.”
When the signs and symptoms of rosacea are virtually eliminated, the improvement in patients’ lives is often dramatic. In an NRS survey of more than 800 rosacea patients, 83 percent of those who had achieved clear or almost clear skin said their psychological well-being had improved. Seventy-three percent said it had also improved their social lives, and 63 percent reported improvement in their occupational well-being.
In contrast, among those whose rosacea had only slightly or moderately improved, just 26 percent reported improvement in psychological well-being, 22 percent in social well-being and 21 percent in occupational well-being.
Individuals with any of the following warning signs of rosacea are urged to see a dermatologist for diagnosis and treatment: facial redness, visible blood vessels, bumps or pimples on the face, or eye irritation.
During April and throughout the year, information and materials on rosacea are available on the NRS website at rosacea.org. Visit the official Rosacea Awareness Month landing page at rosacea.org/ram and follow the online conversation using the hashtag #rosacea.