RosaceaNet Article
Controlling Rosacea Can Boost Self-Esteem

For some, rosacea’s emotional toll can be worse than the physical discomfort. Insensitive questions, misconceptions that heavy drinking or poor hygiene caused the condition, feelings of embarrassment and the desire to look “normal” can diminish self-confidence and lead people with rosacea to decline social invitations, postpone or cancel business meetings, and miss work.

Scientific research validates this. A study that looked at the quality of life in patients with rosacea found that some patients said their rosacea causes them to “do things by myself.” The majority said rosacea makes them feel self-conscious and more than half said rosacea makes them feel embarrassed.

The study also found that when rosacea subsided, the patient’s quality of life improved. This was not the only study to find this result. In a study of 16 patients with erythematotelangiectatic rosacea (subtype 1), researchers found that after two treatments with a pulsed dye laser, redness diminished as did flushing, burning, itching, dryness, swelling, and skin sensitivity. With these decreases came a significant improvement in quality of life.

Another study that involved 583 patients with mild to moderate rosacea found that effective treatment significantly improved the patients’ quality of life. The type of treatment did not matter. As long as it was effective, patients’ quality of life improved.

While rosacea is not curable, flare-ups can often be controlled by following the three-prong approach recommended by dermatologists:

  • Skin care. Following a rosacea friendly skin care plan is essential. This includes being very gentle with rosacea-prone skin, using mild skin care products, and protecting the skin from the sun.

  • Treatment. The treatment prescribed depends on the type and severity of the rosacea. Combination therapy is often most effective. Treatment may include a barrier-repair emollient, topical medications, and/or laser therapy.

  • Trigger avoidance. What triggers rosacea in one person may not cause another person to experience a flare-up. Learning personal triggers and finding ways to avoid them can be very effective.

Fleischer A, Suephy C. “The face and mind evaluation study: an examination of the efficacy of rosacea treatment using physician ratings and patients' self-reported quality of life.”  J Drugs Dermatol. 2005; 4:585-90.

Nicholson K, Abramova L, Chren MM, et al. “A pilot quality-of-life instrument for acne rosacea.” J Am Acad Dermatol. 2007; 57:213-21.

Society of Investigative Dermatology and the American Academy of Dermatology. “Burden of Skin Disease 2005.” Available at Last accessed January 26, 2009.

Tan SR, Tope WD. “Pulsed dye laser treatment of rosacea improves erythema, symptomatology, and quality of life.” J Am Acad Dermatol. 2004; 51:592-9.

All content solely developed by the American Academy of Dermatology

A study that asked people living with rosacea about their quality of life found that most said that rosacea made them feel self-conscious.




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Page last updated 2/20/09

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