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Only on April is Rosacea Awareness Month—Are You Helping Rosacea Clients Cope?

Posted: April 18, 2012

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Among the most famous rosacea sufferers is former President Bill Clinton, whose doctors disclosed that he has this condition in The New York Times. Others reported to have suffered from the disorder include Princess Diana, financier J.P. Morgan and the Dutch painter Rembrandt.

In new NRS surveys, 69% of rosacea patients said they experienced a flare-up related to emotional stress at least once a month, and more than 90% of the respondents said they had suffered some form of physical pain from their condition. A burning sensation was the most commonly reported discomfort, named by 75%, followed by itching, cited by 65%, and stinging, mentioned by 62%. Other types of pain associated with rosacea included swelling (44%), tightness (42%), tenderness (40%), tingling (31%), prickling (23%) and headache (20%).

Perhaps even more ravaging than its physical effects, rosacea often inflicts significant damage to people’s emotional, social and professional lives.

"It would be hard to invent a more embarrassing disease than rosacea," says Ted Grossbart, PhD, a psychologist at Harvard Medical School. "It affects the one part of the body that cannot be hidden—the face—and tends to strike people at a time in life when they may be increasingly self-conscious about changes in their appearance. Moreover, especially because this condition is not widely understood, it can leave its victims feeling isolated and even alienated from society."

In NRS surveys of more than 1,200 rosacea patients, 76% said rosacea's effect on their facial appearance had lowered their self-confidence and self-esteem. Sixty-nine percent of the survey respondents said they had experienced embarrassment as a result of the disorder, and nearly 63% reported difficulty in establishing new relationships. Forty-one percent said they had avoided or canceled face-to-face contact because of their condition, and 58% said the effect of untreated rosacea on their appearance had made them the subject of stares, misconceptions, rude comments or jokes.