BARRINGTON, Ill. – A new generation of therapies has resulted in dramatic advances in the management of rosacea, allowing many of the estimated 16 million Americans who suffer from this chronic disorder to live free of its often life-disruptive signs and symptoms. The National Rosacea Society (NRS) has designated April as Rosacea Awareness Month to educate the public on the current understanding of this complex condition, urging those who believe they may have rosacea to see a dermatologist for diagnosis and appropriate therapy.
“Advances in medical therapy and in our understanding of rosacea have made it more possible than ever for many patients to achieve clear skin,” said Dr. Julie Harper, clinical associate professor of dermatology at the University of Alabama-Birmingham. “But even as our arsenal of therapeutic options has expanded, one obstacle remains: We can only help rosacea sufferers who come to us for treatment.”
Those interested in spreading awareness during the month of April are encouraged to visit the official Rosacea Awareness Month landing page at rosacea.org/ram for ways in which they can participate.
Rosacea is a chronic disorder of the facial skin that is often characterized by flare-ups and remissions. According to the recently updated standard classification of rosacea by phenotypes, the presence of persistent facial erythema (redness) or, less commonly, phymatous changes where the facial skin thickens is considered diagnostic of the disorder. Additional major signs, which often appear with the diagnostic features, include papules (bumps) and pustules (pimples), flushing, telangiectasia (visible blood vessels) and certain ocular manifestations. The presence of two or more major features independent of the diagnostic signs is also considered diagnostic of rosacea, and secondary signs and symptoms include burning or stinging, swelling and dry appearance.
“The manifestation of rosacea’s signs and symptoms can vary greatly from patient to patient, and treatments must therefore be tailored to match each individual case,” Dr. Harper said. “The selection of optimal therapy can not only achieve better results, but may also keep the disease from progressing further.”
Recent studies on the burden of illness in rosacea have found that the condition can profoundly impact quality of life. In an NRS survey of 1,675 rosacea patients, 90% reported lowered self-confidence and self-esteem, and 52 percent said they had avoided face-to-face contact because of the disorder. In another survey, 51% of those with severe symptoms said they had even missed work due to the effects of the condition.
The good news is that successful treatments that result in reduced redness and clearer skin often positively impact patients’ lives. Approximately 76% of 1,044 rosacea patients who responded to an NRS survey reported at least some improvement in their skin after receiving treatment. Among those patients, 40% said that treatment had improved their psychological well-being, 35% said their social well-being had improved and 31% saw improvement in their occupational well-being.
When the signs and symptoms of rosacea are virtually eliminated, however, the improvement in patients’ lives was often dramatic. Eighty-one percent of those who had achieved clear or almost clear skin said their psychological well-being had improved. Seventy-one percent said it had also improved their social lives, and 62% reported improvement in their occupational well-being.
“We are at the beginning of a new decade, and it’s clear we have made significant strides in improving the quality of life for our rosacea patients,” Dr. Harper said. “With greater awareness and the availability of advanced therapies to address rosacea’s most troubling signs and symptoms, we are optimistic that increasingly more patients will see dramatic improvements in the years ahead.”
During April and throughout the year, individuals may visit the National Rosacea Society’s website at rosacea.org for information and patient materials, including “Recognizing Redness,” an informational booklet that includes a redness register to allow patients to gauge relative redness before and after flare-ups or treatment; Rosacea Review, a newsletter for rosacea patients; a “Rosacea Diary” to help patients identify and avoid lifestyle and environmental factors that may trigger flare-ups in their individual cases; and other booklets to help patients understand, manage and cope with their condition. Bulk quantities of educational materials are available to health professionals for their patients through the NRS website at rosacea.org.
Comments are closed.