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Rosacea-Sufferers Often Misunderstood

Posted: May 10, 2010

If you have clients that suffer from rosacea, this news piece may offer insight into the challenges they face and may help you provide the best service possible for this type of client.

From job interviews to first dates, creating a positive and lasting first impression often goes a long way. For women with symptoms of the common skin condition rosacea, just how much does the appearance of their skin affect how people perceive them? A unique digital perception survey, developed in partnership with the National Rosacea Society (NRS) and Galderma Laboratories, contrasted images of women with signs of mild to moderate papular/pustular rosacea (an inflammatory skin condition characterized by redness, bumps and blemishes) and images of women with clear skin. The survey was taken by 1,009 members of the general population and 502 women with rosacea, equaling 1,511 survey respondents in total. In the survey, adults were asked to give their opinions of women based solely on photographs of their faces: half of the photographs featured the women with clear skin and half of the photographs were digitally enhanced to simulate rosacea symptoms on their faces. The survey found that based on first impressions of the images, when it comes to attributes such as confidence, attitude and intelligence, women with rosacea symptoms were consistently ranked differently than their clear-skinned counterparts.

The results, which are part of the national educational campaign Rosacea SKINsights sponsored by Galderma Laboratories, also reveal the lengths that women with rosacea would go to if they could get rid of their rosacea forever, and highlight the low awareness and complicated diagnosis path for this common condition. On average, women with rosacea waited at least seven months before receiving a correct diagnosis, and only half of respondents had ever heard of the condition upon the time of diagnosis. This reveals the high level of misunderstanding and confusion that surrounds rosacea, a chronic disorder primarily of the facial skin, often characterized by flare-ups and remissions.

Health and personality traits

According to survey results, women with rosacea are more likely than women without the skin condition to be perceived by others among the general population as looking unhealthy (11% vs. 2%) and tired (43% vs. 32%). Survey respondents also formed personality judgments about women with pustular/papular rosacea, describing them as more likely to be insecure (33% vs. 13%) and shy (34% vs. 18%) than their counterparts. In contrast, women with clear skin were more commonly perceived as having positive social characteristics such as confidence (49% vs. 27%) and happiness (54% vs. 36%).

The appearance of rosacea also influenced survey respondents' perceptions of important personal characteristics that could negatively impact how rosacea sufferers are viewed in the workplace. Compared to women with clear skin, women with rosacea symptoms were considered to be less intelligent (36% vs. 43%) and not as successful (18% vs. 32%). Women with rosacea symptoms were also perceived to be more stressed (40% vs. 23%) and more likely to have entry-level positions (22% vs. 11%).

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