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The National Rosacea Society (NRS) has designated April as Rosacea Awareness Month to alert the public to the early warning signs of this chronic facial disorder, which is now estimated to impact more than 16 million Americans.
Fortunately, for individuals who recognize rosacea’s warning signs and seek medical help, diagnosis and appropriate therapy can bring their signs and symptoms under control and keep its social and emotional effects at bay.
According to a new patient survey conducted by the NRS, most rosacea patients feel the negative social impact of their condition regardless of which rosacea subtype they may have. While 61% of those with only subtype 1 (erythematotelangiectatic) rosacea, characterized by facial redness, said their rosacea had inhibited their social lives, the number rose to 72% among those who reported their redness was moderate or severe.
Seventy-seven percent of patients with the bumps and pimples of subtype 2 (papulopustular) rosacea alone noted that their social life had been negatively impacted, and 85% of patients whose symptoms included subtype 3 (phymatous) rosacea, involving thickening of the skin, had been negatively affected. Among the respondents who had the eye irritation of subtype 4 (ocular) rosacea, 71% said the disorder’s effects had inhibited their social lives. The most common complaint, cited by 50% of the 801 respondents, was having to refuse food or drink they normally would enjoy for fear of triggering a rosacea flare-up.
Of those surveyed, 43% percent said they had been the subject of stares, misconceptions, rude comments or jokes, and 39% had refused or canceled social engagements because of rosacea’s effects on appearance. Other common complaints included not participating in physical activities they would enjoy, reported by 37% and avoiding new or different experiences, cited by 28%.