Rosacea Awareness Month Brings Focus to Common Skin Disease image

It’s Rosacea Awareness Month, and the National Rosacea Society (NRS) continues to educate the public on this potentially serious condition estimated to affect more than 16 million Americans.

“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,” says Dr. Julie Harper, MD, 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 says. “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.

Although causal relationships have not been determined, recent research has also found associations between rosacea and increased risk of a growing number of potentially serious systemic disorders. These have included cardiovascular diseases, gastrointestinal disorders, neurological conditions, autoimmune diseases and certain types of cancer.

Rosacea was recently estimated to affect 415 million worldwide. Resources and information are available on the official Rosacea Awareness Month landing page. Follow the conversation online using the hashtag #RosaceaAwareness.